Well, I’ve decided to begin battle with my perfectionistic tendencies immediately, by christening this blog with a very simple, un-edited post.
Let’s begin with the facts: I want to be a writer. I want to proclaim the good news of the Lord, Jesus Christ, by telling His story, as seen in the Word, as seen in my life, and as seen in the thousand little glories He reveals to me each day through creation, relationships, and all sorts of methods.
Now, I’ve wanted to be a writer for a good long time, and I’ve had my successful essays, stories, and journal entries, but not a whole lot of progress to show for the last decade or so. I guess one of the things I treasure most about these past years has been that I have invested my time in acquiring technical skill, I’ve received experiences and stories through trials and joys that are now a part of who I am and the story I have to tell, and I’ve been able to spend long hours immersing myself in good teaching and I've been “expanding the soul” by reading the more dignified writings of scholars and poets alongside the fantastical and childlike adventures of characters in all sorts of stories.
And yet – what a safe thing it is, to criticize, but never submit my own work for critique. It is like reading of adventures without ever feeling that wild stirring of joy that moves us to become more bold, more crazy, more noble, and to leave our own homes to meet the unknown and have our own adventures.
I’ve spent so much time reading good books and essays, treasuring high ideals, and learning to recognize good writing when I see it, that now that I myself am trying to write, my work appears to me like a piddling, ostentatious, little scrawling thing, and I shy away from publishing each of my successive potential-blog-post-essays, thinking, “Oh, a little edit here, a little edit there, and maybe it will be good enough” – which of course turns into major edits, major additions, and major subtractions, until I realize I’m not even using the original idea at all anymore, and have pretty much started the whole process from scratch with a new idea. Rinse and repeat.
I now have almost a dozen potential-blog-post-essays, each one a little better, a little longer, and no more finished than the last. But today is September 6. And today, on this day, I am typing this piece. This is my first draft, and I declare here and now that I SHALL indeed post it today, without letting myself edit that date to September 8, 9, December 1, etc.
I have determined to lift my heart by remembering that every runner starts with a baby’s weak steps, and that every writer starts by actually writing, not just thinking of all the great ways to write. But oh – how hard it is to begin!
I do not mean to say that learning and reading are not highly valuable. They are! But I think that maybe, by focusing on growing in truth, and reasoning out what makes life good and worthwhile, that I’ve missed out on the freedom of letting every season of life be grand and wonderful to my heart. I’ve forgotten to rejoice in little triumphs because I think they are no good until I’ve reached the big triumphs. Maybe I’ve even forgotten that trials and busy days are days to purposefully find His glory, instead of just waiting for the day to be done. How humbling it is, to really look at myself and discover that I’ve been happy enough to dream big dreams, while continually postponing the effort it requires to attain those big dreams.
Even if I spend my time on this blog posting bullet lists and stilted prose, I’m going to hit “publish” anyway.
Because that is my dream. And more than that, I’m beginning to realize more and more that writing is a significant part of who I am made to be – not because I think I’m about to write anything radically valuable, but because in my writing, I meet myself, and I meet my Creator, and I discover things to ponder and treasure, to surrender and to celebrate. In writing, I find peace. It is my quiet place. It is the attainment of one of those BIG UNKNOWN SOMETHINGS that always feels like it is around the bend, if only I can get to it. All this striving, and all along, it was right here. I can hear Him saying, “Just surrender the work, Beloved, and write. Leave it all to me. Just enjoy this gift I have given to you, and I will meet you there. I always do more than you ask or imagine. Isn’t that what you want most, anyway? That your writing be Mine? Let go.”
So this is my resolution. It is time to dream. It is time to ponder. But more than that, it is time to actually leave the safety of “home” and begin the adventure. It is time to become.
So be it! Amen!
"Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” - Zachariah 4:10