Sometimes I feel the words underneath the surface and I know. I need a keyboard, or a pen. I need to write. Most of the time I don’t even know what words will come tumbling forth, but I can feel them floating to the surface beneath my skin; a long-forgotten splinter finally working its way out.
I tap away at the keys. Scratching off the surface, like a gambler scratching a lotto ticket, desperate to know what lies beneath. Will it be gold? Will I win? Most of the time I don’t. Most of the time it’s rubbish. But then there are times when the words I excavate help me know myself a little better. Help me love the world and all its processes more fully. I feel purpose surging through my veins.
The problem is I don’t get the itch as often as I wish I did. The inspiration often feels dried up. I’m too busy. Too tired. Writing doesn’t feel easy; the splinter remains stuck stubbornly below layers of callus. I could dig it out if I really wanted to. Take a scalpel and a pair of tweezers and go through the work and the pain… I could do that. If I wanted to.
I try to motivate by remembering the feeling of accomplishment once a piece is finished. Words on paper. Hopefully helping someone, even if that someone is just me. But with the memory comes the recollection of my own emotional drivel I have to wade through just to understand my thoughts enough to articulate them intelligently.
It takes a lot of work to know yourself, to know your emotions, the why behind your actions. Dissecting yourself, extracting the splinters, is terribly hard and draining work. And there are a lot of times when I don’t feel like doing it. Like, most of the time. Because it suh-uuuuucks.
Knowing yourself means knowing your ugliness and having grace for yourself anyway. But sometimes I don’t want to see it, don’t want to share it, even if what I’m learning could be healing for both myself and others. Yes, I am full of mini-battles I must fight every day. Will I be jealous or greedy? Will I manipulate or be driven by my, at times, insatiable need for attention? Will I give in to fear and worry? Will I be a trusting person full of grace?
For years I punished myself, apologized all over the place, mopped up my messes, tucking away bits of me that were ugly. Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know… well now they knooooooow! And yet, I still couldn’t let it go. Let it gooOOOoo. Don’t hold it back anymuhhooore—
…Well that just happened.
Pretending my flaws don’t exist, refusing to write about them, or even acknowledge them doesn’t mean I get to be perfect. I will never be perfect. And hiding my deficiencies doesn’t do anyone any favors. It’s in trying to keep up pretenses that I stop writing (or communicating in general) and start hiding. And in all honesty, I’ve had some issues writing lately.
All my ideas feel half-developed. Everything I could say feels like hogswallop because the truth of the matter is… I’m still in the middle of the lessons I am learning. How do I share when I don’t know how the chapter ends? When I don’t yet know how to get from Point A to Point B with my own sanity intact?
I’m beginning to realize that it’s often the journey that’s the true message of hope. The camaraderie associated with the vulnerability of admitting, “hey, I’m not there yet either. So let’s do this together and stop pretending we aren’t still under construction.”
But instead of doing this, lately I’ve tried to hide from the unknown by procrastinating. I don’t know what to say? I don’t know what to feel? I don’t know what to do? Perfect, let’s not think about it or talk about it. Let’s avoid looking at it or trying to write, because clearly I have nothing to say that’s of value. If it’s too difficult and uncomfortable, just avoid.
I don’t have the answers… but I am mistaken if I think God can’t work through me even in my inabilities and uncertainty. In fact, He actually works better in me when I am not relying on my own knowledge, experiences, and wisdom but am instead looking to Him for His. The problem is that I actually have to sit down, settle myself (aka shut up for a few minutes) and listen. I have to BEGIN by being open, not constantly keeping busy while waiting for a lightning bolt of creativity or insight to strike.
It won’t happen. At least not often. Like most things in life, writing is a discipline. Growth and healing are actually disciplines. Knowing yourself emotionally- yep, also a discipline. Many days, I won’t feel like sitting down at the keyboard, but if I don’t take the first step to show God I’m ready to listen and rely on HIM for the answers (in both my writing and in my life)… then I will remain stagnant, going nowhere, preoccupied with keeping the status quo.
I am not supposed to have all the answers. I am not God. And I need those horribly uncomfortable, dumb-struck moments where I sit blankly waiting for God to speak, to heal. But I must take the first step; to have the boldness to begin and the patience to wait in expectancy for God’s voice, instead of merely trying to uncover my own.
Sometimes the work we want to do the least is the work we need to do the most. For ourselves. For our emotional and spiritual development. For the life and longevity of our goals. Take it one step at a time. One word at a time.
Wait for His voice. Wait for His voice by stepping out, even if stepping out looks like sitting quietly. He will meet you there.
You and I, well, we both have to start somewhere.