photo © 2009 Markus | more info (via: Wylio)I’ve never been a fan of saying “God told me so.” I’ve heard it said, and I believe it happens, but I never really had it happen to me. At least, not in a “voice-from-the-clouds-says-do-this” sort of way.
But it happens. Differently. It’s more like a subtle needling, a little quiet poke here and there that works into my soul until I can’t shake it. Sometimes, it’s like God and the whole universe keeps setting down these little rocks for me to trip on until I learn. Typically, it’s running into a truth over and over until it finally slaps me in the face and makes me listen.
This happened during our staff devotions last Thursday. We just started a study on Biblical peacemaking, but oddly enough, this lesson taught me about writing and fear.
To be honest, I don’t fully remember why Esteemed Sensei Reggie Kidd referenced Albert Camus’ The Plague in this lesson. (In fact, I’m going to confess to the Internet and the world that I was trying to catch up on my reading because I failed to do my homework the week before. Sorry, Sensei.) I think it was in a discussion of how the ultimate end of the deadly sins of pride and sloth is death, either murder or suicide in some fashion. But then he said something that snapped me back to attention…
There’s this character in the book who’s a writer. But he never finishes or shares, only talks about writing, and spends his days endlessly revising and tweaking and dreaming. All because he fears rejection.
And that, in a way, is “an extended form of suicide.”
Just an hour later, I found that my writerly blogfriend Kristin shared a link to this on Twitter: Why You Secretly Want to Fail (Or Why Sharing Your Creativity is Like the Dream Where You’re Naked) Turns out it’s about how creatives suppress themselves to please others, proposing that some of us want to fail:
“Because if we bare all in our work, and our work is rejected, then we feel rejected as a whole person. We think we are our work.”
Um… double ouch.
I am guilty of this. I hide my poetry in notebooks. I demean my work with names like scribblings and ramblings. Shoot, every time I post something on this blog, I second-guess and secretly hope nobody reads it (which is dumb, because if I didn’t want anyone to read my stuff, I wouldn’t have a stupid blog in the first place.) My most vulnerable (and often, my favorite) posts languish forever in a drafts folder, because I don’t want to annoy anyone or go too far.
And yet, the blogs and stories and poetry and songs I am most drawn to are vulnerable. Honest. True. Things I desperately want to be, but seldom manage to pull off.
Extended suicide. That rings in my head.
I used to think my reluctance to share things I write was a kind of modesty, but these two little tripping stones taught me that it may be the opposite. I always believed stringing words together — or any form of creativity — was a gift, the sort of weird compulsive thing that gets in your blood and defines you forever.
So if it’s that entwined in who you are, isn’t denying and suppressing that thing actually smothering a deep, mysterious, beautiful part of your God-breathed being?
Ugh. So conflicting.
As I finish this, I’m second-guessing hitting the “publish post” button. I’m worried you’ll think this is another whiny, self-indulgent, emo tortured writer tale, and I’m sure it possibly could be. But I also feel a need to name the fear and insecurity before I can go on. Hey, I might even share a link to this and start admitting I do this writing thing so people will actually read it. Who knows?
After reading the post, I tweeted Kristin to thank her and share the irony of her timing, concluding with “I think I’m supposed to learn something today…”
She replied, “yes, I think maybe you are supposed to learn something today. God is pretty wise, eh? :)”
Oh yes, yes he is.