I really want to write,
I whisper, as my face falls into my hands to cover the shame and overwhelming emotions that tighten around my thoughts, twisting into a headache worse than yesterday’s.
I mean, this is who I am. Or, rather, a part of who I am. Shouldn’t I be walking in it, bearing fruit in it, loving obedience in it?
But instead I feel dry. A worn-out, dried-up well of words that come and go like a unreliable stream.
So write this, He says.
And after a few minutes of distraction, listening to a friend’s voice hours and miles away, penning Spirit-words in a text message to another friend even further away, I sit down at the computer. My Bible is open beside me on the corner of the bed; turned to a passage I am committing to pray over another. That’s what He’s leading me to do, to cultivate faithfulness in, over the next, final month of this year: a month of powerful prayer, Cara said three weeks ago. And I believe those words were from Him. And to Him. And He’s been answering each one I’ve cried out or barely spoken audibly or boldly proclaimed. He’s been answering. He’s still answering.
My heart doesn’t always cry out about these words in here, this dream to write. Not to Him, anyway. To myself, I mumble half-hearted words, as I see the beautiful, freedom-lined margins of a fellow-writer friend’s newly minted website; as I see the promotion given to others on websites I’ve written for before, promotions I did not receive. Selfishness bats its eyelashes at me even now, seducing me to believe the lie that this is how I know I’m good enough, that writing is how I know who I am. But my words are only a shadow of the things to come. In Christ, the substance lays.
The substance of words that make a foundation of identity for me, which I’m to build upon, not dig up. Treasures I’m supposed to bring out, not rebury. Life, abundance, I’m supposed to find in following Him, not in working harder. These words He’s spoken over and over again this year—I’m finding in this month that they are, all at once, happening and not. Turning, transforming, changing me, and not. I’m finding them loud and I’m suffocating in their silence. I’m knee-deep in fresh water and I’m standing with blistered feet on cracked soil. I’m wading in and I’m waiting it out. The storm’s been calmed and it’s raging even now.
This back and forth & in-between causes me to retreat—from you, from myself, from everything I’ve been dreaming about. But also it asks me to keep walking, to keep going deeper, overturning the soil, waiting for the rain to fall.
And I remember, the other night, it did.
There was a lone, rapid rainstorm one day into December. I had, in fact, predicted it earlier in the day, telling my two-month-newbie roommates that there’s typically one or two rain showers that roll through during the dry, winter months. Dark clouds were threatening us as we walked, but it wasn’t until the darkness had fully settled that I heard it begin—and it’s been so long, that I almost missed it. It took me a lengthy few minutes to believe that, yes, it was actually raining. But it was—and I wrote.
My writing-journey has always found its milestones with rainstorms. The drops on my window in my college apartment, when I wrote words in a Dot. journal about my favorite things. The smell of rain still hanging in the air, clinging to the sticky pavement during the summer I worked at our Writing Center. The surprise of an off-season downpour as Laura and I made our way back from our first outing on our own our first month here that sent me running to get dry before it stopped, so that I could race over to my balcony to be still and capture words to the rhythm of its gentle sound, cooling the hot air down.
And two nights ago, listening, leaning over my balcony, trying to see if it was real, led to a washing off of my mind the weight of stress I was carrying, even if just for a moment, to s l o w d o w n and let Him speak, and then, let Him give me sleep.
And tears come as the only rain today under these hazy blue skies, with the birds twittering and the breeze blowing in through my too-small but still-beautiful balcony. I’m sitting at my desk these days instead of my chair out there because, as Dorothy put it, “You need a desk. You’re a writer.”
And though there are, of course, always going to be day where I struggle to believe that, just as I struggle to believe on a dark night that rain is even possible. But still it comes, and the reminders refresh me, when I let them.
So, for now, I turn to wait upon Him—to lean into Advent and to expect a song to arise out of the depths of my heart that longs to write just as He does, words that lift and hope and encourage. He spreads His wings over me in love, and I rest in all that He is.
And after the Advent, the sermon-listening and the song-blogpost-writing, my hands tingle, my wrists burn, emptied of what they were given to share. Knowing that this is indeed who I am—but it’s more than that. It’s who He is: the God who writes and sings and shares with us words that change us, words that ebb us on in the current of life we think we’re being swept away in…when, actually, we’re just being carried quickly through a short life that is meant to be lived, and lived for Him.
It’s not, perhaps, what I wanted to write (oh the debriefing I still need to put on these pages), but it’s what I needed to write, today. And, perhaps more importantly, it’s what I needed to share.