Tag Archives: writing

When You Realize Writing is Not Actually Your Dream

I saw the invite – a save the date, really – and immediately checked my calendar to make sure the day was still free. It was the last time I checked (when there was only the hint of an event), but I had to be certain.

Because when Emily Freeman started talking about this Barn event – an afternoon At the Barn with her family and a relatively small gathering to spend time in soul-encouraging conversation about art, dreams, goals – all I could think was YES.

I’m in.

when you realize writing is not actually your dream

But as I purchased the ticket, I couldn’t help but also stop and think about how I now find myself taking all kinds of risks (of the best kind) with community and events and opportunities – like spending an afternoon with a bunch of fellow blog readers or spending five days getting Wrecked in Guatemala with complete strangers … and then doing it again six months later. All because of this gift of blogging which began as an extension of this gift of writing.

And it’s all in the very same season that I find myself pulling back on the frequency of posts and re-evaluating the purpose of this space.

A couple of months ago, I wasn’t even sure if I should continue blogging. This community is small and I’m not always convinced my words are necessary additions to the noise of this world.

But this community is also growing, and opportunities keep crossing my path to connect with other artists and other Jesus-followers as a result.

And I just know.

It’s not time to give-up this blogging thing yet.

Someday, God may ask that of me, but as I’ve been praying over and carefully considering whether or not that time is now, although the sitting-still long enough to think and write has been hard lately, I find I’m not finished here yet.

I want this space to be a place of restful harbor, filled with peace, where God speaks.

And more than anything, I want to honor and glorify Him in and through it.

So this community is small and the growth is slow.

But it’s His. And it’s good.

I began this blog a little over three years ago with a thought in the back of my mind that someday I might like to publish a book of some sort, but I could go ahead and start blogging without knowing if that would ever happen. I could begin sharing the message that the Lord had placed on my heart. I didn’t have to wait for that.

But somewhere along the way, I began to realize that while writing is a part of me and is a craft that I both love and enjoy, writing (or perhaps more specifically, publishing) wasn’t actually my dream.

The only problem? I didn’t know what was.

But all I knew to do was to keep writing, to keep taking small steps in obedience and faithfulness, and to keep seeking the Lord’s face.

Because that’s always right.

And through the writing, I kept sensing that there was something in all of this, something that I couldn’t quite figure out, something that I still needed to learn.

So now in this season, as my dreams and goals for this life are shifted and refined, I’m beginning to see at least a part of that something.

I’ve sought hard and waited long for the sort of dream I’m now beginning to consider. The one that in intentionally broad and vague terms revolves around orphan care (and no, I don’t know exactly what that means or what it will look like), the one that is so far beyond me and my ability, the one that scares the heck out of me, and the one that feels more like a God-whisper than anything I could dare to imagine on my own.

I’m not against the idea of publishing if that’s where the Lord leads and I suspect this won’t be the last times my dreams undergo some refining, but I also know this dream that’s slowly unveiling finally feels like mine. Like something only the Lord could have orchestrated and begun to reveal. And that makes it worth wanting and working toward and continuing to figure out … because it’s really only just a glimpse of a fuller vision. A hint of what could be.

So I’ll continue to write and I’ll continue to blog in this space.

And I’ll continue to lead and encourage this community to draw near to Christ.

To seek Him more. To know Him more. To trust Him more. To rest in Him more.

Because nothing – no amount of dreaming regardless of how right the dream seems – in this life matters more.

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Thinking & Writing

thinking & writing

I’ve been thinking and writing about several topics lately that are just not fully fleshed out, wrestled out, thought out, prayed out, felt out, and written out enough to post on the blog.

Although I’m completely on board with the idea that done is [often] better than perfect (trust me, I know how ineffective it can be to hold myself to a ridiculous standard of perfection), I also know that sometimes certain topics really are worth the extra time and consideration before publishing.

But I can at least give you an idea of a few topics I’ve been spending a little more time on:

1) Calling

A topic that has interested, fascinated, and baffled me for years. This fact is made obvious by my 31 Day Series I wrote on How to Better Understand our {God Given} Callings back in October 2011. My mind has been back there a lot lately. So I’m spending more time with it again.

2) Dreams / Goals

I know Ive mentioned this before. And I’m still thinking and writing about it. It’s just not organized.

3) Singleness

I’m hesitant to write on this and I’m not even a hundred percent sure why. I’m just not sure what value I have to offer the conversation, but I am single. Have been my whole life. And although I hope marriage is a part of my someday future, I genuinely want to live my single years well. With a Christ-like mindset, a servant heart, and eyes fixed on Him.

So while I continue to process and write about these topics (plus a few more) behind the scenes, I want to hear from you. Really.

What have you been thinking about? Writing about? Reading about? Or even listening to?

It doesn’t have to be serious. I have big plans to start reading The Paris Wife by Paula McLain this weekend, so if you’ve been reading any good novels lately, let me know those, too!

Story

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

Philippians 1:6 (ESV)

story

I see story in everything.

And trust me, that’s not all bad. In fact, for the writer in me, that’s really good.

When it comes to my own life, I’m pretty good at seeing how the details work together … I’m good at fitting pieces and elements of my journey up until now into a coherent and plausible story.

I can take small snippets of memories and feelings from particular times and see a story written into the in between moments and the everyday.

I can look at transformative life events and see how God has been faithful, how He has never left my side, how He has stretched me and grown me and drawn me closer to Himself, and how He has used certain circumstances and people for His purpose.

I can look back over my life until this present moment and see how everything that’s happened and every path I’ve gone down (yes, even the wrong ones) has been intricately woven together to bring me to the place I am now.

As I analyze and observe all of these elements, my tendency is to make them fit neatly together, to see patterns, to make sense of circumstances (however scary and unknown they were at the time) that led to other circumstances that each serve as individual pieces of a bigger plot culminating in the right now of today.

And in some ways, this is all fine and good and maybe just part of being human.

But in other ways, it misses a very important truth: my story isn’t over.

There’s still a lot of unknown.

And the Author?

Well, to put it bluntly, it’s not me.

It’s HIM.

And by trying to make so much sense of the unfolding story in this moment from my limited perspective, although there may be elements of truth in what I come up with, I may also be overlooking the possibility that the place I am now was never meant to be a chapter break … that the story wasn’t supposed to make sense here at all. It may just be a small part or a next step or a preparation for something in the future that I can’t even begin to imagine.

But the Author of my story?

His stories are beautiful. He already knows the end. He knew it when He started writing. And His good work will be completed.

The middle may not always make sense to me, but each part fits into His whole story perfectly.

So I trust this Author.

Because ultimately, I want to live my story according to His pen and watch with eager anticipation as He weaves each detail together while simultaneously weaving together a far bigger story, the greatest story of all … of undeserved redemption and unconditional love … His own.

Speak Truth

speak truth

My love language is a near tie between “words of affirmation” and “quality time”, but as one who identifies as a writer and puts a lot of thought into word choice, words tend to mean a lot to me.

So recently, as several people in my community (both near and far) have taken the time and made the effort to make generous and genuine investments by speaking words of encouragement, affirmation, and Biblical truth into and over my life, to say I have been incredibly beyond blessed would be a serious understatement.

And I can’t not come away from those conversations – sometimes lengthy and sometimes quite short – changed by the encounter and seeking out opportunities to make the same investment in others.

There is such tremendous power in your words.

So the next time you sense the Lord prompting you to speak truth into the life of someone around you, by all means do it. And keep your eyes and heart open to the opportunities He so often provides.

Send an encouraging note … facebook messages work, too!

Go out for coffee and listen more than you talk.

Tell someone you’re praying for them … and tell them specifically what you’re praying.

Better yet, offer to pray on the spot.

Give a compliment that may seem too obvious … it may mean the world that you noticed.

Affirm someone’s actions that clearly align with Scripture … you may be the voice of encouragement in the very area they’re feeling discouraged.

Speak truth.

And if you’ve been one of those people in my life recently, THANK YOU! I am deeply grateful and forever changed. Keep listening to the Lord and speaking truth to those around you. Your words make a difference.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Hebrews 10:24-25

For When the Words Don’t Come

I sit and stare at a blank screen, distraction free, all white space except for the two light gray words in the bottom right hand corner encouraging me to “just write.”

I have thoughts and ideas suitable for full-length and substantial posts.

But the words just don’t come.

Moving from thoughts and ideas to coherent and well-written sentences seems impossible, burdensome, heavy.

I love the process of writing. The release that it brings. I enjoy the experience of blogging.

But I feel weighed down by the practical issues and responsibilities of life this side of the computer screen. Somehow unable to reawaken the creative energy necessary to keep going, to press on, to continue when the blank screen stares back.

I have even uttered five of the saddest words to my soul, “I want to quit blogging.”

But I don’t really want to quit. I simply feel uninspired, unmotivated and exhausted. I’m in a lull of sorts.

And while picking up and heading to the beach – allowing the expanse of the ocean, the peacefulness of the shore to restore my perspective – sounds close to the perfect solution, that is simply not a possibility at the moment.

One of my dearest friends suggests that I should read. Anything. Finally taking her up on that advice, I read something relatively easy and mindless. And it feels good. Refreshing even.

Yet I still find myself coming up short in the words department.

My mom suggests that I should focus my thoughts on gratitude. So I begin a list of the small, trivial, forgotten and everyday things for which I’m grateful. I quickly list 25 items in a matter of moments.

Knowing I have been blessed far beyond what I deserve and saddened by the reality that I fail to acknowledge it far too often, I purposefully and intentionally seek opportunities to get out of myself. To serve others. Even when all I want to do is retreat. To fold in rather than reach out.

I take action and make commitments. Some of them relatively easy, others seemingly big and life-changing.

And I give myself a break from the guilt that so often wears me down. Of not doing enough. Of doing too much. Of lacking proper balance.

My thoughts turn to Scripture, so I read John 6:22-71.

“Jesus answered them…’Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal…For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to this world…I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst…It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.'”

– John 6:26, 27, 33, 35, 63 (ESV – emphasis added)

And I am reminded that Jesus is the bread of life.

When my words just. don’t. come.

His words are life.