I started the month wanting to write freely. I had been chained by doubts, by the editor’s voice in my head, by my laziness and lack of discipline. I had been afraid of what others would say and if I was falling behind in the race to grow my influence. It was exhausting, it made me feel inadequate, and enough was enough.
The 31 Days challenge taught me more about writing and myself, and what I gained most from it wasn’t through focused effort on each post. It was through the process of writing often, of writing without the need to please that I learned to write freely. In a way, this challenge was the best kind of teacher- not giving me answers straight away but allowing the journey to bring me to these epiphanies.
I learned that talking and writing about my fears and doubts don’t help. Instead, sitting at the computer, staring at the blank screen, sitting in the discomfort of having to do the thing I’m avoiding, and actually writing is what will get me out of the funk, out of the rut. Just write.
I learned that I’m a writer so I have to write. Not the other way around. It’s how I’m wired, how I was created, and if I don’t write, I’m not well.
I don’t need ears to hear for me to write. It’s wonderful to have influence, and I love it when people connect with my words, but even if no one were to listen, even if no one were to read, I can and still need to write because it’s how I’m meant to display His glory.
I can have the discipline and endurance to write often if I choose to do so. I only wrote 17 out of the 31 days, but I hope to work out better writing rhythms if I keep moving forward.
The challenge ends today, but I’m only at the beginning of writing freely. There is surely more to come.
I’m sitting at my favorite spot in the house- the top of the stairs between the complete darkness of the second-floor hallway and the light at the bottom of the stairs, and maybe this is symbolic of where I am in my writing. I’m not completely in the dark anymore. I’m not afraid to be seen to some degree, but I’m still not ready to walk into the total exposure of the light.
I’m prone to just writing concluding thoughts. Instead of taking you on the journey of how I got to where I was, I only tell you what I learned at the end of it. It’s neat, concise, and just vulnerable enough without getting too personal.
I write with “being safe” in mind. I want to stand out but not stand out too much. I want to have a unique voice but don’t want to write stories people can’t relate to. I stay in the comfortable in-between spot of just enough but not too much. I write about things that are raw and real but don’t go deeply where it could hurt. I type and delete over and over again to create a perfectly frosted glass wall so you can kind of see me but not see all of me.
There are things I still can’t write about just yet. Things I haven’t worked through and stories I’m not ready to share with the world- things about my culture, my family, my past mistakes, my position as a pastor, my place as a woman. My mind can’t even go to some of those places because crossing into them will surely mean pain. But there are words burning inside of me, and I’m hoping I’ll eventually have the right words at the right time and be brave enough to say them out loud.
I’m remembering as I sit here that writing calls for courage. All of our giftings and our creative pursuits require us to to stand tall even when no one else gets it, when people or the voices inside our heads are telling us we’re not enough or that we’re too much. I’m not so naive to say that I’ll be brave from here on out, and it would be foolish of me to think I could change overnight or through one post. But I’m taking a step closer toward the light and hoping to find it isn’t so bad to be completely seen.
I heard a podcast once that said we should blog about things we’re a bit of an expert in, but the more I write the more I know I’m not an expert in anything. I write because I’m not an expert, because I don’t actually know what I’m talking about. I write because I need to work things out, and typing it out in black and white helps the process.
I have a million thoughts going through my head at any given moment. It’s chaos up there. But writing quiets my mind. It helps me stay still. It forces me to get outside of myself, to look at my thought patterns, my doubts and fears, and reminds me of what’s true.
Writing coaxes me to show my vulnerabilities, to be raw and honest. It convinces me to take down my defensive walls so that people can see me, but more importantly so people can see Jesus in me.
Writing is my act of worship, my act of bravery, my act of obedience.
This is why I write.
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