Monday, January 21, 2019

The Real Challenge.

Why is it so hard to actually write?

Even though I have plenty to say, plenty of thoughts running through my head, plenty of things I'm working through and working on, it's still difficult to sit and write something I know will be "published" here on the blog. I'm not sure if putting every single one of my daily-writings here is actually wise, but I weren't doing so I'm not exactly sure I would keep going.

Right now, I still need to be finishing up my final post from my Called series I did last year. I'm also working on a book proposal for all of that, but I got kind of stuck on my benefit statements. I wrote out a few, got a bunch of input from many of my writer friends, and got some good feedback from an author I sat under at a conference for a few days. It turns out they were more like "teaching" statements, where I explained what I would be sharing and teaching, but not so much about what the reader would receive. I was really encouraged by this author's input and I didn't take her advice lightly. Maybe that's why I've been avoiding working on them?

When I was in college, my high jumping ability really took off (probably because of my amazing coach and his well-planned training schedules). I finally jumped over my height (too bad I'm not taller) and then my approach began to get all wonky. My coach once asked me why I was so scared to do well, to achieve the most I could. At first I thought he was crazy to suggest that I was actually afraid of how good I could become, but that question has really stuck with me.

Why am I afraid to be my best self?

I don't want to get overly self-absorbed; I truly want to be whatever it is that God wants me to be. I also think we often use that as an excuse to be less than we could, to work less hard than we ought, and to lay aside dreams God has given us claiming they are selfish and self-serving. And I'm sure many of them are.

But what about those desires that are really from God?

What if God put these unquenchable things in me because He never wants me to be able to stop doing them? What if I cannot get a pursuit out of my head because God doesn't want me to forget about it? What if we put down those pursuits because we are actually afraid of what being excellent at something will require of us?

I sometimes wish I had stuck with track and field longer. I definitely don't think I was at the end of my potential, but I also didn't feel like I wanted it bad enough to justify the amount of time and effort it would require. For me, much of the desire to be good was rooted in wanting other people to recognize me as good. I was also convinced (and still am) that I would not regret putting that aside once I arrived in heaven. These days, I mostly just regret not staying in better shape since!

My writing is something different though. I cannot put it aside. I often wish I could and go through fairly regular cycles of attempting to put it down. I'm not saying I'm excellent at it yet, or that I will ever be well-known for being outrageously good, but for some reason my conscience won't let me stop doing it. And I'm still trying to figure out why I keep wanting to stop.

Is it because it's hard and often lonely?

Is it because of the vulnerability a writer has to endure each time they publish anything?

Is it because I fear the high demands that might be put upon me if I actually do a great job?

I think it's a combination of these things and more, and I'm working to overcome all those doubts, fears, and worries. For now, I'm doing this. Showing up, writing about something (anything), and trying to remember that no work done for the Lord is wasted. I may not see the value, but I am trying to tell myself that it is there. This has definitely been a challenge but I believe it is worth pursuing.

What challenges are you working through? Internal or external, fighting through them is in itself an endeavor that will build strength and courage. Just keep going.

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