writer, writing

“I’m a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.”–Mother Theresa

I can get so lost in how low the number of readers are or so preoccupied with my own worries and fears–you know the ones–

What would this side think of my writing, what would folks of this belief think, what if I lose readers if I write what I really feel, can I be vulnerable, how honest should I be, and one of the worst questions that plagues my mind at times: What is the point of writing when there are so many more that say it better and reach many more than I do?

And then I think this writing thing of mine will never go anywhere. I get disappointed, an unhealthy self-pity and hedonism sets in, and then anger holds my heart in its tight grip. In searching for myself and my happiness as a writer, as an artist, and co-creator with God, I forget the God that imparts the poetry and breathes life into my weary bones. I start to think it’s all about me.

And then, suddenly, like a slow dawning, an awakening, my eyes are opened, and I see myself thinking about myself too much–in one flash of a moment, my mind is completely clear, I have His mind, and I can see myself through his lens.

I have wrestled with this writing thing, oh, how I’ve wrestled. There were entire days I just stayed in my pajamas, barely ate, and wasn’t present with my kids because I was so engrossed in my writing, and I was steeped in unhealthy habits that had been rutted out during three years of ill health.

I felt so guilty for my need to create, to have something of my own, and I’ve struggled to find balance between the nurture of art and relationship. I’ve felt at times that God’s greatest calling for me was raising my girls and oh yes, it is, and who will be there for them if not I? But then, my heart screams back, why did God make me with this wild desire to create?

A young woman at a retreat a couple of months ago asked me why I started writing, started blogging. My tongue got heavy in my mouth and in slow-motion, I said to her, “I don’t really know, is the real answer” I went on to tell her who and what had inspired me, but the true thing about it all, was, I really didn’t know, and I still don’t.

I wrote a couple of pretty good posts after that, and people related well and they got way more attention than I possibly ever thought, and I was grateful.

But then the tide changed. I began to notice more and more debates and writers taking heat and backlash, and I wondered what people thought of my stance, and I stayed quiet and I hid in the safety of my fun concrete writing adventures. And then summer happened, and my kids needed me because we are transitioning from homeschooling to public school, and I got weary and just stopped writing.

I wrote this to a friend: How do we continue to write when there is so much hate volleying back and forth, so much arguing and venom spewing? How do we hold to truth and clean and clear our minds in the midst of the everyday duties of life? Because for some of us, just that is enough to struggle through. I have found myself reaching for creativity, for words, the noise suffocating. It’s out of my grasp. Let us be about the main thing. I don’t want to be dragged into a current of negative til I drown and can no longer see Christ. And it’s oh so tempting sometimes to jump into the current. 

I still get too engrossed in my writing at times and it gets to the point I can’t sleep, can’t think straight, because of all the noise, all the constant engaging online and not enough in my real life.

At that point, I step away from the computer, almost with an utter disgust that I let myself stray so far, and I am once again able to breathe, let the sun warm my face, and I can relax and sleep in peace.

There have been moments I’ve seen others having so much success, and they seem to have such a great rhythm, and they seem to understand the process, and the flow. And I’m over here flailing about, making huge waves, trying to convince myself and everyone else I’m drowning.

Those moments when others are moving on and I’m small and left behind are hard, but I’ve received grace from Father’s hand, and I now know how to love, so I open the hand, that was once a tightly closed fist, and I release gladness and generosity and joy and esteem and affection and loyalty, devotion, passion, and respect, and I lay down the idol of self.

And this is Gospel, when grace has me tickled to watch my friends live my dream.

There is this: the realization after stepping away from things and holding yourself back from your art for a while, even in the name of very good reasons–that it’s your purpose to create, in marrow and bone, down in the very core of DNA, and this purpose goes way back in the roots of my family tree. And maybe there is nothing to be done about it. I will keep being driven to create by the Divine, and when I stray, He will bring me back to His wings, and out of that covering I will learn to be my truest self and to write gospel truth, to preach what some may not want to hear.

I’ll never know if my truth preached is exactly correct. I will learn. I will grow. I recall a friend of mine saying in a certain fireside conversation that she hopes she isn’t still writing the same things in ten years, she hopes that she’s grown enough to look back on her archives, and think Really?! That’s what I felt and believed, I really wrote that?! 

So I take my wise friend’s words to heart, and I will keep forging ahead, writing exactly from where I am.

I’m a scandalously messy daughter of grace, and He is a scandalously loving God. And there’s nothing to do about it, but just be.

for when the noise drowns you out and you make an idol of your writing [again]

by Nacole Simmons time to read: 5 min