Sometimes I get tired of words. All the words. Everywhere. Including my own. Facebook. Twitter. Blogs. You know.
I went through a time earlier this year where I was obsessed with words. With all the words. I’d wake up to my alarm, and before I gave anything else a second thought, I was staring with one eye open at an endless feed of thought — statuses, opinions, angles. Daily, before I kissed the freshly-awake head of my little girl, or even uttered a desperate prayer, I had filled my head with noise.
My mind tried to sort, and file, and toss and keep, but just like any filter, when things start getting clogged, not much good of anything gets through. My heart weighed heavy. Anxiety went through the roof. Lies seeped deep and shouted when I was weak. Peace unraveled like a stray thread on a handmade sweater. I felt a continual weight of not good enough, not smart enough, witty enough, theological enough, beautiful enough, you-name-it enough. I found when I sat to write, I didn’t even know what my voice was. What did I believe? What did I want to say? Was my contribution even worth making?
(And even now as I write this, I can still feel it all crouching at the door.)
I was listening to so much, and adding my own noise, that I had lost sight of the point. The point of why I wrote, designed, created. Why did I want to be the girl who did these things? And did I even know anymore what God was whispering in my story before I shouted my noise to the masses?
I needed to turn down the noise. Turn up the silence. Take every thought captive. Tune into my heart. To the Gospel and what anchored me steady under the waves.
The rest quieted my soul and when I sat back to stammer out my meager helpings, I tried to focus on three things. Here they are. If you find that you’re hearing more noise than music, read on. (Feel free to interchange write with “design” “create” “draw” “sing” “play”, etc.)
1. Write to witness beauty. — I’ve heard several men who I respect talk about finding joy in God by doing the things that bring us joy. When we participate in the beauty of cultivating something we love, it becomes less about the “thing” and more about the wonder of enjoying the gift that the Creator gives to us. The stories I live become portals of love, and I get to experience them all over again when I tell them.
2. Write to remember beauty. — There have been seasons where I wrote as a weary traveler. Divorce. Affairs. Sin. Loneliness. I would make small altars of words, pour out my heart, and light them on fire in hopes my Father would see, hear my prayers, and remember us. At the time, it felt quiet. Now, I look back and while I remember how bleak it all was, all I can see is redemption. Grace. Sustenance. I wrote so that me now, years later, would see God is good and faithful.
3. Write for clarity. — Edward Albee said “Writing has got to be an act of discovery. . . . I write to find out what I’m thinking about.” In this case, seeing is believing. Or sometimes, seeing is knowing what it is that I need to un-believe.
And finally, don’t be afraid to turn down the noise and take a breather. It’s loud out there, and none of us will be crushed if you finally say you need a break. Silence is beautiful, and God is near.
Throw deep anchors and rest.