Wednesday, December 31, 2014

the one thing i will do this year

There is a risk that every writer knows well.

The words you are satisfied with today may appear grossly inadequate or incomplete tomorrow.

It's why chapters worth of words sit confined to my laptop rather than submitted to a publisher.
Just last week I was reading a book by one of my favorite theologians and he shed new light on something I wrote about earlier this year.  Until that moment I hadn't realized that my thoughts on the matter had been missing something so significant.  I was equally grateful for the revelation and mortified that I had missed it the first time around.

Writing is a process and the writer is in process so the words keep moving and changing, just as we keep moving and changing.

It doesn't mean that the first words were not true or real but the meaning they carry can grow and gain  a crisper clarity.
Writing the here and now
without knowing the there and then
carries great risk but also great opportunity.  

If we don't plant our small seed of a word today there will be nothing to grow taller and stronger tomorrow.

I write a lot about the truth and grace of God.
I don't completely understand such things but they are important to me.

Most of my writing is scribbled in margins and on the pages of cheap composition books.  Even more of it is written in the recesses of my mind - sometimes finding a permanent home in my memory and other times flying away like a robin in the winter.  Only a small portion of that writing makes it here as an offering to you.  I'm hoping that will change.

I have a hard time offering anything that feels incomplete or unorganized...especially when it relates to such important subject matter.  On the other hand, I feel compelled to write about what is most important to me, even if I can't quite tie it up with a pretty bow.
It's always been true hasn't it?
Commentaries on weighty subjects like politics and religion can receive the highest praise and also the greatest criticism.  Because they ARE important is precisely why they receive such attention.  One might not need quite as much courage to write about something more inconsequential.

Every good writer writes about what is important to her.
If she doesn't, she might be a writer, but she's probably not a very good one.
So whether it is
how to launch your own business
or how to decorate your home on a budget
or how to survive the teenage years
or how to organize 10 bazillion legos that are taking over your home {please message me if this is your speciality!!}
...if you write about what is important to you, you take a risk.

Risk is essential for a writer of words.
Risk is essential for a liver of life.

Anyone who wants to do something they find important - something they believe could be of importance to someone else - must take a risk.

I wonder what that might be for you?
What keeps you up at night?
What compels you to action?
What dances in and out of your consciousness day after day, week after week, year after year?
What do you pick up, hold in your hands, set your eyes on, knowing this is the one thing you could never let go of because you were created to carry it?

Whatever is most important to you I hope this year you will extend yourself enough grace to risk
and a sense of control
to plant small, but significant seeds
and then, with hopeful hearts,
keep watering and working the soil from which something beautiful and true will grow.
I have a lot of ideas for this new year but there is only one thing I am committing to today.

I will fearlessly write about what is important to me.

I will write beginnings when I don't yet have endings.
I will write truth even if it is painfully incomplete.
I will write stories when I don't fully understand their meaning.
I will write questions when I'm still trying to figure out the answers.
I will write for you even when the words are not quite perfect.

Because if there is anything I have learned this year it is this...
   life makes the most amazingly dramatic shift when I
      stop running to take the lead
         and slow down enough to be led
into dim places of uncertainty and promise.

Knowing what is in front of me is not nearly as important as knowing Who is in front of me.

So this year I stop pushing Him aside as I sprint past,
  and slow to an uncomfortably vulnerable pace that keeps him always in my line of vision.

If I'm going to carry important things, I want Him to show me where to take them.
Trust without clarity will always take us further than a false sense of control.

As 2014 lays her head to rest, I am grateful to you for the moments of your past year that you have allowed me to speak into.

This blog is not about me, it's about us.

This year I hope things will be a little different for us around here.
If you're game, I'd like to share a little more with you.
I'd like to timidly offer a less polished 'product'.
I'd like to release us from the pressure of committing to any organized 'blog series'.
I'd like for us to slow down and do a little less trail blazing and a little more trail wandering.
I'd like us to lag behind instead of rushing ahead.
I'd like for us to embrace slow and still instead of fast and frantic.
What do you say?

As 2015 opens wide her gates, I thank you in advance for the grace I know we will extend to one another as we continue meeting here to share our incomplete, yet important, words and wonder.

Happy New Year full of important things, my friends!