Perhaps the last place I expected to find an unexpected spiritual encounter was in my 31 Days of Unexpected Spiritual Encounters challenge.
While I’ve developed my blogging skills and personal discipline much more than I anticipated to do through this challenge, I didn’t forsee it being this taxing. Some days I can’t wait to post, but on others, it seems all I can do to “crank” out another one.
I’m proud that my content hasn’t suffered for writing every day, as I feared it might, but this experiment has pushed the bounds of my creativity. Admittedly, it’s hard to find something to write about each day, especially when you’re drowning in homework or other responsibilities.
What’s proved hardest to face is the insecurities that arise almost any time I open up WordPress. In the recent past, these demons only reared their heads the one or two times a week I would squeeze in to write.
Now, their presence is felt every day.
Why are you even bothering? No one cares what you have to say. Your writing is totally self-centered. You have nothing relevant or interesting to write.
And the one that frightens me most: Your dreams of being a professional writer one day are arrogant and completely unrealistic, and no matter how you much you dream, you’ll only ever be a silent nobody.
So when the voices get loud, why do I keep doing it? Why do I continue writing and sharing the gift I’ve been given?
Because without it, I wouldn’t be me.
Although I would say my purpose in life is significantly bigger than my vocational calling, it’s all I know and all I’ve ever wanted to do.
I was born to create, and when I don’t—when I let the words well up within me—I simply can’t function. I feel blocked or shut up, as if I’m trapped behind a glass like a zoo animal: the world can see me, but it can’t hear me.
That’s about the most frightening thing I can imagine.
Writing and especially blogging is hard. The level of commitment needed is substantial, and most of the work is less than glamorous and hidden behind the scenes. But if I silence the voice God has given me, I’m not being true to me or to Him.
Read about my writing journey in “Being the Writer I Want to Be” here.
However, there are most certainly good days. Yesterday was one. After commenting on a “31 dayer” Facebook page I’m connected with, I got a sudden increase in traffic and tons of sweet comments.
Although I’m definitely the only twenty-something male in the group, it was so encouraging to hear from other bloggers in the same awkward “Hey, ya’ll, I’m writing every day to refine my talent, so please don’t hate me, social media friends” position that I am.
The best is the couple times people I don’t know have stopped me on the street and told me that my one of my posts seriously impacted their lives. I wouldn’t trade moments like that for the world.
It’s so cool to know that even when you feel insecure about your own art that someone out there has heard you and is better for it.
So whatever it is you do—cooking, playing sports, writing music, inventing, painting, or even preaching—keep doing it. Our world needs your positive contribution!
And never forget to come alongside and celebrate others in or out of your field. Maybe that means writing a kind note or commenting on a blog (what a novel idea!) or praising someone’s commitment to excellence.
As an creative, I can tell you that anything you can do to edify a fellow artist or performer will go a long way.
I’ll leave you with the words of the eloquent Shauna Niequist, whose essay “Love Song for Fall” inspired this post.
Here’s an excerpt on writing from her book, Bittersweet:
“But every once in a while, when I write, I feel that feeling of a thousand slender threads coming together, strands of who I’ve been and who I’m becoming, the long moments at the computer and the tiny bits of courage, the middle of the night prayers and the exact way God made me, not wrong or right, just me. I feel like I’m doing what I came to do, in the biggest sense. That’s why I write, because sometimes, every once in a while, I feel entirely at home in the universe, a welcome and wonderful feeling. I could cry at that feeling, because it happens so rarely. Doing the hard work of writing makes me feel like I’m paying my rent on a cosmic level, doing the thing that I can do to make the world a little better decorated…
[S]pill out all your stories like pouring wine into thin-stemmed glasses, the liquid rich and blood-red.”
Writing is my burden and my pleasure. It’s in these words that I discover my life.
Want more 31 Days of Unexpected Supernatural Encounters? You’ll find them here.