Maybe this contest I want to enter is just a way to have someone see these ideas and where I’m headed and say “yes, that’s worth pursuing. Keep at it!” I can’t seem to convince myself of that much lately. I’ve given up sharing my stuff online since I get so little feedback or I only get it from my mom. I want other people to say it’s good and I want to be told I’m good enough, that I know what I’m doing and that I belong to a group.
Help me, God, to come to you for validation. This is a task you’ve laid on my heart to finish. Let that be enough! Please, for now. I just want to finish. I don’t want to have yet another project that I got all excited about at the get go, but couldn’t finish. I do know the rest of the stories that I want to share. It’s just the pulling them out, so so slowly. And there are always a million and one other things to do and the thought that I’ll be interrupted by someone coming here. Or having to go to work and church every other day. I want free, unfettered time. I don’t want any obligations other than this book and my family. I know my job is not hard and I’m paid well and there are enjoyable, good people that I work with. It just feels like every time I stop, it’s that much harder to get going writing again. I guess I need to quit skipping days and just make myself write every day. I need to do it whether or not it’s morning and no one else is around. Need to make that connection to follow through with forming all the half thoughts that start in my brain everyday. I need to get them on paper and get in the habit of pulling things out. I can do a better job of stringing it all together with practice. Right?
It matters, Janna. Even if it feels like it doesn’t and no one will ever read or give you any credit for doing this work. You have this story inside you and you are supposed to get it out and onto paper. That’s all that you know and it is enough. Do it! Get to work!! It’s worth it even if it sucks. the only way to get better is to keep on trying.
The way I understand, and this has nothing to do with the last three paragraphs, is that my faith in you will play itself out in my life as caring for the marginalized and the downtrodden, just like Jesus did. And what if the way he gave me to care for them is to share my stories? I’m not a nurse, I don’t know how to bind up physical wounds but I can share medicine of another kind, right? But maybe I’m also supposed to take in and love and care for others as well, using my skills as a mother. Ugh! I’m not sure of anything. It seems like I can’t do both because writing requires so much time and space and I’m always fighting to find that for myself. If I take on caring for others in more routine physical ways, will there be time for this? And what’s motivating me for each? God help me see what desires are coming from you and what is coming from my flesh and selfish desire to promote myself and become something significant, to prove myself to the world.
God, I feel torn. Help me to know what is coming from you and what is coming from me and to be obedient to you. To hear the truth and know what is true. To see even when my fears are masquerading themselves as excuses that will take me away from my true calling. Or perhaps the unique way that you can work things out for me to pursue both caregiving and writing. If they are both in fact commands that are coming from you for my life.
I’m just supposed to be with you, right? And you’ll put the right desires in my heart? Well, I’ve been there. You’ve been in my heart as long as I can remember and this desire is not a new one. Why would I want to write if that didn’t come from you? I don’t want to do it because I’m avoiding you and trying to get my needs met elsewhere. This doesn’t feel like when I’m trying to escape and looking for validation from what someone else thinks of me. There’s a pure desire in my heart to simply create. To sit down and sort through it all and form it so that it points back to you . But of course there’s pride and fear and vanity mingled in there and they so easily distract me.
I wrote those last seven paragraphs in February of 2014. I have several documents which say many of the same things; they're all saved in a file on my computer called "getting started." I've been reading them all again this afternoon and it's amazing to me that I can still feel the exact same way almost a year later. I've written thousands more words since then, but I still get scared. This confirms for me that sitting down here at my desk is a complete act of faith. My book is something I can't see yet, but I still believe in it. However, my belief feels very small today, and the only thing that can make it more visible is if I keep on typing. Would you join me in praying for more discipline, less fear and more faith? I'd appreciate it greatly. How can I pray for you?