on writing (and not writing)

posted in: Arbitrary Thoughts | 2

It’s been awhile since I’ve written with any regularity. In fact, have I ever written with any regularity? Not writing is like shooting myself in the foot, really. Writing is good for my soul. I recently read a quote from Augustine that expresses it well: “I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write.” The scary thing about not writing is that I have to wonder – am I learning anything? I’m devouring books, my mind is always racing, and yet nothing is coming out on paper – so is anything sinking down deeply in my heart?

I’ve had a serious case of pregnancy brain this time around. I am constantly distracted and unfocused – I have trouble piecing coherent thoughts together enough to have a productive conversation, much less a thoughtful blog entry. On top of that, I am generally exhausted, live in a constant battle with depression, and have two rather sweet (and rather busy) little girls vying for my attention at any given moment. Taking time to write is like an uphill battle to which I have already surrendered…at the bottom of the hill.

But the thing is, my mind unwritten is a scary, scary place. Words need to come out so that they don’t stay in and get all dark and twisty. Words need to come out so I can go back and read them and remember – REMEMBER – that God is in fact faithful. That He has blessed me beyond measure. That the gospel I believe – the gospel about which I write – it is TRUE and it is GOOD and in it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). That He who began a good work in me WILL carry it to completion (Phil. 1:6). That the despair and the guilt and the darkness raging in my heart are lies masquerading as truth; God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).

It’s not just about not writing, of course. It’s the corresponding reality of isolation. If I’m not writing, it’s quite possible I’m also not talking.

Sadly, I don’t think enough resolve is going to cut it. Yet in writing these words I pray they sink in a little more – that I could embrace the outlet God has given me to process what He is teaching me from His Word – that His Spirit would enable the thoughts to connect and the words to flow that He might change my heart – that I might write, yes, but more importantly – that I might let others into the scary, messy unknown.

I may not be able to muster up the resolve, but I can ask for help. My words need not be read in order for them to have the desired effect in my heart. But maybe if the thought comes to mind, “Hmm. Kendra hasn’t written in awhile.” You could follow it up by thinking, “She’s probably a crazy person wallowing in lies.”

Maybe you could remind me of what you know is true.
Maybe you could ask me if I’m learning anything.
Maybe you could tell me to sit down and write. To skip the nap in faith and refresh my soul at my desk instead.
Maybe you could tell me to take some pictures of my girls and be reminded of the sweet gifts that they are.
Maybe you could just show up at my house with a double-tall-two-pump-mocha and help me paint something. Just saying. A little grown-up interaction goes a long way.

I’ve got good people in my life. People who pursue to the point of stalking if necessary (in a good way). They don’t need me to give them permission to do this because they’re already awesome at it. But I think I needed to give this permission nonetheless. (And if you’re like me, sitting in a little too much silence and isolation, maybe you need to too.)

It feels awkwardly vulnerable and needy.

I hate being needy.
And yet, I am. And I think by grace I’m ready to embrace that.

In his book Weakness is the Way, J.I. Packer writes,

We need to be aware of our limitations and to let this awareness work in us humility and self-distrust, and a realization of our helplessness on our own. Thus we may learn our need to depend on Christ, our Savior and Lord, at every turn of the road, to practice that dependence as one of the constant habits of our heart, and hereby to discover what Paul discovered before us: “when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10).

So here we go. Post #1 – writing about not writing. It’s a start.

2 Responses

  1. A couple of weeks ago I was crying (i.e. complaining) about how my best friend is moving away and no one else checks in on me. And as I thought about it more, I was convicted by how easily that can be turned around on me…how often am I checking in on others? So Eric challenged me to text someone every time I started pitying myself and my isolation. It has been really good for my heart – I’m sure it’s still mostly selfish but I pray my heart would do it out of already being full and not out of feeling empty (needing someone to come hang out with me and fill me up).

    P.s. I’m glad you are writing more. I think my blog is dying…I haven’t checked.

  2. […] Writing is something I often long to do but usually my brain feels used up and I just stare at a blank screen or take a nap or clean something. But since it’s the thing God so often uses to help me process what He’s teaching me, often no writing means I’m a little bit of a crazy person. […]