It's not that my love of words wanes, or the pressure to write goes away. It is simply fear. My struggle to be authentic as I write collides with my fear of hurting someone... or my fear of being hurt.
And the fear is not unfounded.
A very brave friend recently shared that something I had written had hurt her feelings. Honestly, it didn't come as a surprise. Yes, maybe I was surprised that it was this friend and this situation, but I feel like I have been waiting for this since that day in 2004 I started writing online.
I have rejected countless post ideas over the past nine years, and have scores of drafts waiting for courage. I questioned even writing this.
I just don't want to hurt anyone.
And, selfishly, I don't want to be hurt. I hold passionate, and controversial, beliefs. I suppose we all do. I am a tender soul, and really, I think I'd feel most comfortable anonymously scribbling away in a little garden all day.
But that's not my life. And it's not supposed to be. Because my most passionate (and controversial) belief is that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. Anyone who truly means that had better get ready to be uncomfortable. And misunderstood.
I am so thankful my friend was open with me. And she unknowingly gave me a gift later in our conversation when she shared how profoundly a post by a well-known Christian blogger had impacted her. I know that this blogger has also been misunderstood, and has also had brokenness in relationship because of her conviction to write.
Yes, writing wounds... and yes, writing heals.
So here is what it comes down to: I am a broken vessel. Jesus... He's the treasure.
I am trying, oh, trying so hard, but I am going to fail. I am going to fail the people I love, I am going to fail Him. I am trying to be brave, but sometimes I get my signals mixed up. If I have hurt you, please tell me. I want to know... I want things to be right between us.
God never gives up! So we don't have to either. Every relationship can be mended in Him. And not just mended... made into something life-giving and beautiful.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21
So I'll keep writing. And I'll keep stumbling. But the messing up is worth it if God can make something beautiful come of even that.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:11
To all my writing friends - be brave. Keep speaking truth. Keep baring your soul. Because you never know which words God will use.
I am not saying write every word you think... none of us should do that. Write with love. But don't write in fear. Don't censor yourself so completely that you are paralyzed. Write!
If you hurt someone unintentionally, make it right. As soon as you possibly can. Find the beauty in restoration.
And to my friend... thank you. Thank you for your courage in speaking truth to me. And thank you for offering me the grace of believing me - that it was never my intention to hurt you. You are a beautiful soul and I am in awe of what God is doing in your life. I am so grateful that this wall has been torn down and we can grow together. I love you!
Epilogue (note? addendum?): I just couldn't publish this without having my friend read it first. She did, and she gave me permission to share it here. I am so thankful for her!
artwork by Amanda Hovey for the Declare Conference