white-knuckle writing

crocus-3-09When I was talking to my sister last night, she mentioned that she’d been checking the blog to see what was new…and found that…there was nothing new.  She pointed out the irony of the title of my last post:  waiting.   =)

I appreciate all of you who have been checking back for a new post…I am honored that you find your way here again and again.  It gives me great pleasure to write pieces that lift your spirits, make you think, encourage you…or just provide a nice diversion from a hectic day.

Since you last heard from me, I have been on a journey.  And along this journey, which has been a much needed one at that, I have been going through an “accelerated” learning and growing time. (Did I hear a “Yikes!” from someone out there who’s been through an accelerated learning and growing experience or two?)  So, while I haven’t posted here, I have been doing a lot of thinking and writing, which are pretty much synonymous for me.

It all started when I brought out a short piece that I had written some months ago; early Spring seemed the perfect time of year to bring this one into its own.  I had captured just the right photograph (the one above) that would be the perfect illustration for the piece, but I needed to develop the written work…flesh it out, so to speak.  I worked for a good portion of the day on it. But as evening rolled around, I had not yet captured the hope, the beauty…the thrill and elation that I hoped for. No problem, I thought; tomorrow would be another day.

Day Two:   I started off the morning with great expectation.   Then ensued lots of writing and rewriting, followed by more writing and rewriting, along with striking all kinds of dramatic hand-against-the-forehead poses and interspersed frequently with moans and groans and long, deep, heavy sighs.   Alas!  The fruit of my labor still fell short of the utterly beautiful message I wanted so badly to share with you.  Actually, at that point, it would have been just plain “sharing badly” with you!

Day Three:  I wrote and rewrote again.  And let me just put it this way.  Have you ever had a bunch of necklaces or a length of thread or ball of string all woodled up in a jumbled mess?  You set about the process of untangling, by finding a loose end and gently pulling it through until you come to a knot.  Hmmm. You don’t want to make things worse so you back off and try loosening the knot up a bit.  Then you find another end and begin working on that.  And another, and another.   You find that, even after working so carefully, trying all the possible loose ends and loops, you are still left holding a knotted-up mess–with a few loose ends hanging out.

Well, that’s what was happening with that little, beautiful idea!  I cannot tell you how many times I poured Isaiah 26:3 down through my mind and over my heart.  Under the influence of a mind kept in perfect peace I worked throughout the afternoon.  When my husband came home that night, I read it aloud to him.  Oh my, even though I felt like I was really “in the zone” on Day Three, my carefully crafted piece was the biggest messy old knot of words you could ever imagine! It still did not convey the hope and the beauty that is the very essence of this message.  I set it aside.

I wanted to post something; it was a source of frustration for me at times. But still, I had a sense that this was a struggling time that was meant to teach me something important.  It was like that butterfly struggling against the chrysalis: it HAS to happen so that its wings are strong enough to fly, once the butterfly has emerged–transformed.

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One issue that needed resolved:  the doubt that I am “a writer.”

With the struggle I’d been going through, with the apparent “failure” to bring forth the work I so desired–maybe that meant that I really was not a writer after all; maybe I was merely (gasp) an imposter!  Perhaps this writing thing was just some crazy idea without any founding whatsoever.  Now that was a juicy little morsel for satan to feast upon; he certainly shook things up more than once when I was alone and disappointed with myself.

He reminded me that I had actually told people that I was writing and that I wanted to be a writer.  He hissed over and over again, “Your failure will be fraught with unbearable shame. You will face utter humiliation!  Tisk, tisk, tisk.  Having to admit that you weren’t really a writer after all…but, rather, nothing more, than a  failure.  Oh, won’t that be lovely.”

He was pretty persistent with this fiery dart.  If you’ve ever read Hinds Feet on High Places, this provided the temptation to fall back into playing the part of that poor, little miserable wreck–Much Afraid. And I did find myself hiding under the bed, calling for the Great Shepherd, a few times.

So am I a writer???  Stay tuned. I will write more on that—later.

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Lessons Along the Way

If you have skimmed through earlier posts, you may have read a few pertaining to listening.  For quite some time, God has been cultivating within me what I refer to as the “heart-meaning” of listening.  One evening when I was struggling and praying and processing all this at my keyboard, He abruptly interrupted my ruminations with–Listen.

Hmmm, what did that have to do with writing?  Over the course of the next few days I came to this realization–that I need to guard against getting too focused on the writing of the piece-at-hand—gripping an idea tightly in my little white knuckles.  Instead, what I need to do is release my grasp–and listen.  For God is constantly teaching me through all kinds of things and people and daily happenings.    It’s within the rich context of a balanced life that He will draw the best writing through me.  When I get too focused on the writing itself, I bleed from life the creativity that comes through listening to God’s symphony all around me.

I also learned that sometimes it’s okay to lay a piece aside; it just may not be its time.  And that’s okay.

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I am so thrilled to be back with you!  You can’t even imagine how excited and thoroughly happy I am!

No more “waiting”…at least, not waiting for me.

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