Tuesday, April 28, 2015

To Write or Not to Write, That is the Question

"My story is important not because it is mine, God knows, but because if I tell it anything like right, the chances are you will recognize that in many ways it is also yours." ~Fredrick Buechner

I've been entertaining some pretty counter-productive thoughts lately. (I love the picture that "entertaining thoughts" conjures up for me: I see myself and these thoughts - which are words with arms and legs but no heads, incidentally - sitting on couches in the living room of my mind, sipping tea and chatting.) I'm not sure if I invited them or if they barged in without knocking, but I will acknowledge that I did encourage them to stay and visit for awhile. Boiled down, it's about this blog and the book I'm trying to write. Whether these thoughts were born out of fear or laziness or both or something else entirely, I've been wondering about the value of this, of sharing my story. Wondering if it's worth the effort, whether it's a waste of my time and yours, whether I should spend my time on something a bit more lucrative, whether anyone's even listening (and if that even matters), whether it's just egotistical rambling thinly disguised as spiritual reflection designed to get the positive response that feeds the people-pleasing monster in me, whether I am even capable of writing anything worth reading, whether my story has any significance, whether God actually called and equipped me for this task or if I'm hiding behind it to avoid the thing I'm really supposed to be doing (whatever that might be)...

I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I'm finding this book-writing business to be loads more challenging than I had anticipated...or hoped. One issue that's significantly hindering my progress is my tendency to go back and rewrite everything every time I sit down to work at it. Micro-editing, I've started calling it (no idea if that's a real thing or not, but it most aptly describes my agonizing, nit-picky process...). Going over and over and over a particular passage, wondering if I could say it better, if the words I've used are the best possible ones, if it would make more sense this way or that way, with this alliteration or that metaphor, if this should be included or that taken out or moved elsewhere... It feels to me right now that the only way this book will ever be written is if I just sit down and write the whole thing all at once, in one looooooong sitting. You can imagine what the odds are of that ever happening, right? Yeah - me, too.

Because this thing called life keeps happening. My family has these crazy expectations, like three meals a day, clean clothes, clean dishes, a reasonably tidy home, occasional coherent conversation...And I have friends who, for reasons beyond my understanding, like to see my face now and again. And I have Norwex to sell and practices to attend and trails to walk and groceries to buy and books to read and a ministry to oversee and promote and prayers to pray and relationships to cultivate...

I look at my little to-do list above and have to chuckle - I'm not really that busy at all! I know there are those of you reading now who have so much more on their plates, so many more hats to wear, such heavy burdens and responsibilities weighing on you. When I compare myself to you, I have to ask myself why exactly is it I can't seem to do what I need to do? So I won't do that (anymore) - "comparison is the thief of joy", you know (Theodore Roosevelt, I think). My calling is not your calling. My time is not your time. My priorities are not your priorities. My life is not your life. And that's as it should be. All different members of one body, right? With different functions but of equal significance.

Yet again, blogging has given me perspective. For that alone, I am grateful. If that's the only reason I write - to gain some clarity and context as I unravel my thoughts - then there is value in what I'm doing here. In fact, it's very often in writing that I most clearly hear from God. So I'll carry on. Thank you to those who choose to carry on with me. My hope is that you'll recognize in my story a bit of your own, and that we can draw from this common ground strength and encouragement to fight the good fight, to finish the race, to keep the faith.

1 comment:

  1. Joy, I know the feelings! And I believe that there are so many people who will relate to your book. Our enemy likes to make us think we haven't actually heard from God and our efforts are never enough.....that last one he is correct....we are redeemed and it's Jesus and His redemption that makes us "enough" or "just right". I honestly feel your "laziness" is actually paralyzing fear and you are giving it that negative label. I have it too. I am so afraid of failure or displeasing people sometimes that I don't get up to do anything, thinking that is the lesser of two evils....and just what that dirty dog, the Devil wants! For us to do nothing! Trust God that the words He leads you to write are what He wants others to hear...your writing is awesome and needs no editing. That's probably just a trick so you won't finish. See, if we start something great for God, that's bad enough a blow to the enemy, but if we finish it and share it, that's an even bigger blow! Keep on with your journey dear girl, don't give up! God has fantastic plans for you and your family, I know it!