I’m going to be upfront and say I don’t know how to start this post. For the past two months I have tried to write and have been unable to complete a well developed essay. And to be honest, it feels like I’m working my way back to riding a bike after years of neglect. I’m in that place of unfamiliar familiarity. I feel like I’m riding in-line roller skates for the first time after 15 years; I remember what they look like, what they feel like and how to move but only in memory, not in action. Regardless, I think I’ve got to start sharing my incomplete thoughts, just for the sake of opening myself up to this practice again. Please enjoy.
In late November I took what was supposed to be a month and a half break from writing just to refocus and give myself some space to breathe. In that time, I started writing a book, started a new job, moved to a new apartment, and started serving in my church. And honestly it felt sooo good. I knew God had me right where I was made to be. I was excited about writing, elated that I’d finally shared poetry, and was eager to continue.
Que record scratch.
I’m not totally certain when I began to feel the shift, but I think it was right before the new year. I shared a post about an off day I had a few weeks into working at my new job (which has since been deleted so dont go look for it). I said something along the lines of, “I am normally mentally grounded but today it was so hard to fight back the insecurities that creep into my thoughts.” I ended the post with a weary line expressing how exhausted I was and who I go to (God) in times like these. I uploaded a video of me singing John Legend’s “Show Me” and called it a day. In my head it sounded great. However, it wasn’t received well. Within the next 24 hours I received a very eloquently worded “Christian-ese” message about how my post shared too much and set a bad example for the girls I had looking up to me.
Now this isn’t the first time something I’ve written wasn’t “liked” by my peers. But something about this type of response struck a chord in me. This wasn’t and argument about an opinion that I held, the comments were about the validity of my relationship with God. For context, know the opinions shared above were few and far between but if you know me, you know that the surest way to hurt me is to question my faith; not because I’m perfect, but because I have been wholeheartedly changed by Jesus. I want that to be obvious.
My knee-jerk reaction was to withdraw. “Fine, I won’t share my thoughts then!” I thought. “I won’t be vulnerable, I won’t share what I’m learning, I’ll just be an instagram shell with no real content.” I deleted the post after much thought and shared my life for the sole purpose of informing my friends that I was indeed alive. I had accepted and internalized this thought:
“There is no room for your vulnerability here.”
Can you imagine! This whole blog has been built on my breaking down my walls and letting you, dear reader, into my thoughts in hopes that we could relate.
The devil works hard huh?
So for the last three months that’s what I’ve done. I stopped posting, I stopped sharing those “Ah ha!” moments and began to withdraw my voice. I don’t post my morning #ponderings. I haven’t written in public spaces. I don’t even share with the people who I meet that I write. But in this silence I found my voice. The words began to bubble out of me in the form of iphone notes, journal scribbles, original songs, even an excerpt of a future book. Those little moments of writing inspired my inevitable return to my quest for vulnerability. I wrote this thought that completely shocked me out of the belief threatening to consume my call:
“He is there even in the silence.”
Before I moved out to LA, I prayed and sought God. And his response was, “I’ll be there.” Fast forward 6 months and He’s still here. Although I felt forsaken because I “shared too much” or “wasn’t setting a good example,” God hadn’t. He was there as I began to rebuild the wall he’d spent years strategically tearing down. He was there, even in my silence.
I’ve now resolved to continue writing, not only the great moments with great resolutions but also my weak moments where I could not muster up strength to hold up my head. I don’t write to “lead people away from Christ.” I write because my weakness is the perfect ground to draw people to Him.
I don’t know if this a good ending to this piece that started with little direction except to alleviate the steam from the kettle. But I will say this, Jesus is there in the silence. He is there when my insecurities get the best of me. He’s there when I am discouraged by malintended guidance. Yes, He’s is there, even in the silence.
criticism is an easy form of ego defense. Individuals don’t criticize because they disagree with a behavior or an attitude. They criticize because they somehow feel devalued by the behavior or attitude. …in short its them not you.