Saturday, November 19, 2016
As I re-read the article in the print edition of the Journal, I experienced several things.
First, I remember how the project felt like a new kind of collaboration with Jesus. It was difficult for me to find time to write, let alone believe I had something worth saying. At least one mentor heard my idea and thought it was not relevant or scholarly enough, so I gave up on it for a few months. The burden I felt returned, so I kept thinking and praying about it. It was quite formative to lift it up to Jesus, hear his responses and to get to work on it in trust that he was with me and for me. Actually deciding to write with the Lord's help was a huge step for me, believing that I had something unique to say.
Second, my hyper-critical editor self came surging out, finding everything wrong with it that could be found. I'm not saying there isn't a time and place for editing, there is; but there is also a time to let it go as it is and trust it will accomplish something good. In the midst of such esteemed writers, I felt very, very small and incapable.
I brought this too to the Lord and felt his smile; he likes the imperfections because if the article has beauty and strength in it for others, then it is because of something other than polished perfection.
Third, related to the above, I felt a strange mixture of shame for being seen alongside the desperate longing to be noticed. This is nothing new to me, but becomes more intense when I engage in something public - writing or speaking, etc.
The Lord has been stabilizing my heart and granting me grace to let go of outcomes. I pray that others might find hope and help in my ramblings. I will post it in two parts due to length, but you can order print copies or subscribe here.
Go to Part 2 here.
Sunday, October 16, 2016
Imagine you are sitting on the bank of a river. Boats and ships—thoughts, feelings, and sensations—are sailing past. While the stream flows by your inner eye, name each of these vessels. For example, one of the boats could be called “my anxiety about tomorrow.” Or along comes the ship “objections to my husband” or the boat “I don’t do that well.” Every judgment that you pass is one of those boats. Take the time to give each one of them a name, and then let them move on down the river.
This can be a difficult exercise because you’re used to jumping aboard the boats—your thoughts—immediately. As soon as you own a boat and identify with it, it picks up energy. This is a practice in un-possessing, detaching, letting go. With every idea, with every image that comes into your head, say, “No, I’m not that; I don’t need that; that’s not me.”
Sometimes, a boat turns around and heads back upstream to demand your attention again. Habitual thoughts are hard to not be hooked by. Sometimes you feel the need to torpedo your boats. But don’t attack them. Don’t hate them or condemn them. This is also an exercise in nonviolence. The point is to recognize your thoughts, which are not you, and to say, “That’s not necessary; I don’t need that.” But do it very amiably. If you learn to handle your own soul tenderly and lovingly, you’ll be able to carry this same loving wisdom out into the world.
Adapted from Richard Rohr, Simplicity: The Freedom of Letting Go (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 2004), 94-95.
Sunday, October 02, 2016
- We cannot bear the weight of our stories; there is too much glory, mystery and sorrow for any one person to bear on their own. This is one reason why community is so important. Only an interweb of supportive relationships centered around the presence and activity of God can support our stories.
- Only Jesus can ultimately bear our stories. Only his shoulders are broad enough to bear their weight. Only between the paws of Aslan is there enough space to hold every part of our stories.
- The process of picking and choosing what parts to tell, as well as assigning value and interpretive meaning to events, people and words are all tools in the storyteller craft. The process itself is revealing. I found myself more thankful and sorrowful through the telling.