Goals. Resolutions. Words for the year. New Year’s intimidates me.
It’s not that I’m against intentionality. I think it’s good to have disciplines and goals. I think...
Since my job ended, I’ve been trying to write for at least 30-60 minutes a day. Mostly because I love writing, but also because I don’t want to let go of the good habits my recent job created. Because of the research and writing required to craft curriculum, I now know a natural rhythm of wrestling with words and thoughts and beliefs and faith each day.
Writing is now a way of life for me. I can’t imagine my days without it, and when a day goes by that I don’t put ink to paper or a journal or a screen, I feel a bit lost. I don’t feel like me.
However, there is another kind of lost related to writing that I’m prone to feel. It’s the one that says I need to be extraordinary. I need to be noticed and given recognition to be, well, anything. I need to hone my blog’s theme, gain a following, and pen a book to a real writer.
“You’ll never be good enough,” a convincing voice whispers. “You need a fool-proof plan that guarantees the world knows you exist. You need to be awesome. Now.”
Now. Such an ugly word. Now never allows for process and growth and wrestling and failure. With now, there is no space. And suddenly I’m claustrophobic, grasping for air. I want to live!
I experienced one of these claustrophobic moments recently after I stumbled on a blog that seems amazing. The writer struggles with perfectionism and creates art journal pages. Just like me.
I didn’t have time to look closely at the blog just then so I decided to come back later when I could soak in the message the author had to convey. A week later, I visited the site again.
Her blog that day celebrated the fact she received a book contract with a well-known company, one that I would love to have a book published through one day. My heart hurt and a familiar voice came back.
“She’s not just like you. She’s something. You’re nothing.”
I’m sorry to say those whispered words have been haunting me for a couple of weeks. It messes with my 30-60 minutes a day. It keeps me from my truest and bravest words.
Oh, I’m lost all right. Because I’m choosing to let one person’s success keep me from being me.
Upon a closer look at her blog, I see this author has been obedient to her craft for five years. I spend two weeks intentionally writing, and I feel someone should hand me a contract? Ridiculous.
And another thing…What happened to rejoicing with those who rejoice? What happened to finding my own journey? What happened to delight?
Fellow writer Alan Fadling reminded me of these things today. He says:
…if I let thoughts of past failures or shortcomings, successes or breakthroughs fill my mind and heart, there is little life or creativity for me in the present.
I find myself paralyzed when I let the many opportunities of the future pile up on the present moment, as though I could be as omnicompetent as the Father Himself. I can’t. None of us can. God prepares many good works ahead of time for me to walk in, but they come to me one at a time because that is my capacity.
My capacity. My life. My living.
Really, that’s what I want to do—live! Here. Now. Being present to the gifts and the words right in front of me.