Reflections

Signs of Life

I’m in a weird place right now. It’s a new place, and while I’m excited about things, I’m not altogether sure I like it here or know what to do. I feel a little like I’m running up the downward escalator, trying so hard to make things happen in my life but never really making any progress. I know what I want…and I know what God has placed in my heart…but I don’t know how to get there or how to make anything happen. I don’t know, even, if I’m supposed to be doing anything to make things move forward.

Let me back up. I have this dream – a dream that seems crazy even to me – and I cannot shake it. To shrug the dream off and pretend it’s not there would be denying who I am. It would be an incredible act of unfaithfulness to God to deny this fire that burns inside my heart. This dream of mine….it’s growing and pulsing and is very much alive.

I have known, for a very long time, that writing is kind of my “thing.” In school, I loved writing assignments and would have eagerly written 20-page papers in lieu of taking exams any day of the week. I come from a line of writers, and because they saw my interest, my parents have always steered me toward writing. My dad and grandmother told me once that it would be “an incredible waste” for me to do something with my life that did not involve the written word. Writing is something I have always, always, always wanted to do, in some form or another. I’ve always known that.

I began college with the intention of majoring in journalism, but one thing led to another and I turned off on an entirely different road – one with stops in classes like “Foreign Policy Analysis,” “Contemporary World Issues,” “Political Philosophy of the Modern Era,” and “Cultural Anthropology of Women.” I look back at the girl who declared a major in International Studies, and I want to cry. Who was the girl? And what in the world was she doing?

I wasn’t sure, even then. I was looking for something, but I didn’t know what. I was trying to make something of myself and my life, but I didn’t know who I was even then. It’s hard to begin a journey when you don’t even know where you’re starting.

And I really didn’t know who I was. So much of my life had been about being and doing what was expected of me…what other people were doing…what seemed like I should be doing…that when it came time for me to decide my own path, I had no idea how to even use a map or a compass. I don’t fault anyone else for this. Neither my friends nor my family nor my teachers did anything that I didn’t let them do. I was looking for someone to tell me what to do, and I was eager to get directional advice from someone else. Anyone else. Life marched on in an easy succession of steps, and looking back I wonder with heartfelt sincerity how many of those steps were actually thought out by me.

I know some of you who are reading this are wondering where this is coming from, or what any of us did wrong in those days to make me feel this way today. Again – I don’t blame anyone for anything. There is no bitterness or anger here. I don’t even blame myself, because this is all part of the journey God has me on. There’s no room for regret or remorse, but there is ample opportunity to learn from missteps and reorient myself based on what I know now.

Back then, as a college student and recent college graduate, I knew I wanted to write somehow, but I think I thought then that it was a hobby – an interest that I could push to the back burner until I had a minute or two to spare. I was moving toward a career in social work, and was happy with that. It made sense, and I could see myself doing it for a long, long time.

But something wasn’t right. There was something missing in my heart, and it wasn’t until I had been out of college for a few years that things began to fall into place. A friend suggested I start a blog to help keep in touch with her and my other distant friends. I reluctantly did, and that blog evolved along with my growing relationship with Christ. Before too long, I found myself writing about my extraordinary experiences of God in the most mundane moments of my days. And that….that was where I started to feel alive.

Writing from my mind is one thing, but writing from my heart is something altogether different. In school, I had taken classes on how to compose essays and how to use proper rhetoric, but when the heart gets involved it’s not like that. On top of that, writing from my soul….well, that is something that’s hard for me to explain. It’s like a heartsong bursting to get out. It’s like my heart is spilling onto a page. It’s like my fingers cannot type quickly enough to capture the flow of words and the rhythm of thoughts that pour from somewhere deep inside me. Sometimes it’s like closing my eyes, clearing my head and removing myself from the picture altogether, only to open them again to find that someone has poured a message out for others to read. It’s not like anything I had ever done before, and learning to write like this was life-changing.

I realize now that the love of writing I felt from childhood was but an embryonic dream. It was the very beginning of something God wanted to grow in me. It was the first recognizable sign of life for this vision I have for my future.

Friends, I’m on a journey, and I would love it if you would join me as I go. I’m trying to decipher where I am and where I’m going, and because writing is just what I do, I have to work it all out here. I’ll be writing for a couple of days from this awkward place I’m in now. I hope you’ll come back tomorrow as I write more about my dream and what God is stirring within me. Will you come along?

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Categories: Reflections

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1 reply »

  1. Hey Sweetheart!

    I’ve just read today’s blog, and I think you’ve “hit the nail on the head”! I don’t know if you remember, but many, many years ago when you were writing something about your kitten, I told you that you should write a book (for children) and have it illustrated. Jessica, you are multi-talented, and I pray that whatever decision you make within the next few years will be the correct one!

    I love you, darling girl! Grandmother

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