Thursday, July 19, 2012

Today, I die

Did that get your attention (insert grin)??

I'm not trying to be all dramatic, it's just the title that popped into my head as I was thinking about this post.  It comes from a fantastic article by Jeff Goins on his blog, in which he writes

"Creating is painful, and every writer gets wounded. In order to move out of wounded-ness (“God, why have you forsaken me?”), we must face the injustice of unfair criticism, and heal.  We must, with God’s help, get reborn. We must become whole again."

To be reborn, you first have to die.  To your self, to the world's expectations, to your fears.   From death comes new life, resurrection, a rebirth into being whom God has created us to be, and a freedom to live the life He intends for us.

I haven't written for a few days, here or anywhere else, because I'm still scared.  I'm still fearful of the pain of the story I know I need to tell, and fearful of failing, of getting it wrong.  I'm confused, not knowing for sure that this is where God wants me to go.  But the fact that each day when I have thought about writing, I've felt a physical knot of dread, that only gets worse when I think 'I'll start tomorrow', tells me that I have to do this.  And not just write this, but to share this, too.

It's simply my story.  We all have a story, and they're all extraordinary in some way or another, regardless of how simple and ordinary and uneventful they may seem.  My story is no more 'special' than anyone else's, I just hope that anyone who reads it will find something encouraging, something that they can relate to and that might challenge them in some way.  That's what we all need from each other, connection and encouragement.

I once heard Dr Phil say 'in life, our greatest desire is acceptance, and our greatest fear is rejection'.  I absolutely agree with that 100% - as I've written before, we are made to be a community, we want to be accepted and loved by thhe people in our lives, and we're afraid of how that feels if we don't experience that - which is ultimately rejection.  I have also thought that you could replace rejection with pain - rejection is painful, and when you think about it, every moment, every aspect of our lives that we fear involves pain.  Having an accident and getting hurt, a broken heart, the thought of failing at something, being rejected in any situation, facing up to our fears, becoming ill, dealing with a difficult relationship - all involve pain.  We don't like pain, but as I wrote just last week, there is beauty in pain, and we need to go through it to discover that.

I have avoided writing my story because I've been fearful of revisting the parts that hurt, and I've avoided sharing my story because I've been scared of what people might say, what they might think of me.  Oh, I don't have any big, deep, dark secrets, but I have my failings and times I wish I could have a 'do-over', and whilst those closest to me know those chapters of my life, it's the putting it 'out there' in the big wide world that quite frankly scares the pants off me.  But if I keep hanging onto it all, and keep ignoring the Voice that tells me share what I've lived, to let it all go, I keep hanging on to the fear, and to some degree I've been doing that because it's comfortable - not the healthiest choice, and not something that is uplifting in my life, but comfortable because I can predict the outcome of my actions.  I've written before that part of my fear of failure comes from perfectionism, and how at times I don't do what I really what to do, or know that I'm meant to do, because I can't predict the outcome, and I'm fearful that it (whatever it is) won't turn out how I think it's supposed to.  And in my warped sense of thinking, that could be bad, and someone might not think well of me.  See?  Need = acceptance, fear = pain.

In this great journey of life, I've learnt that we don't live up to our full potential because of our deisre for comfort and familiarity, which as I just said isn't always the best option for us.  We wonder why we, and people around us, hang on to negative thought patterns, and keep repeating behaviours that aren't healthy for us, and it's because they're familiar - we can predict the outcomes of our actions, even if they make us (or someone else) feel bad.  We like the comfort of knowing A+B=C.  We don't try to change the equation because we don't know what might happen, and we're not willing to take the risk of feeling pain if we don't get it right.

But what if we do?  What if A+ B = J, and J is wonderful?  If we don't risk, we don't discover, we don't grow, we don't learn.  Be it intentional or accidental, we have to change the equation, and risk the possibility of pain. 

So today I die to my fears, to my need to be able to predict the outcomes of my actions, and will be reborn to live the life that God has placed before me.  Today I embrace the risk.  And for the record, that's still scary.   

But I know J will be wonderful.


I'm going to be writing over on a new blog, which is still under construction.  The Running Stitch will become a place to record the day-to-day of my life, I'll post a link to the new blog later tonight when it's up and running.  In the meantime, I'm posting below and excerpt from my attempt at NaNoWroMo 2011, which talks about why words are so important, and why I struggle with writing.  I wrote in the third person, and was attempting to 'fictionalise' my experiences, so 'Janie' is me (just in case you didn't work that out!!).

For future reference, parts of my story won't be shared, because they involve other people who's permission I don't have to make their expereinces public, and simply because tney don't need to be told.  There's also no happy ending, no living 'happily ever after', there is just truth, and joy, and pain, and love.  And a whole lot of learning along the way.

So here goes......

She stopped typing, absentmindedly twirling her hair around her finger as she tried to figure out what felt ‘off’.  Is it the writing?  The subject matter? The telling felt forced, and her internal editor was too loud in her head, echoed by the voices of dissent trying to convince her that this was all too hard.  Maybe try a different tack? ‘But I don’t want to just give up, I don’t want to keep stopping and starting, scrapping that which doesn’t work for the easier option of starting again’.  Perhaps the story is too close, too much a part of her to release on to paper.  Perhaps that’s not the story that needs to be told now.  ‘So which one?’ she thought in frustration, trying to still the words and pictures swirling around in her head.  ‘Why is this so hard, it’s just writing, it’s just putting words to paper (so to speak)’,  but she knew it wasn’t as simple as that.  
Words are gifts, she thought, to be used thoughtfully and with wisdom, she knew that all too well.  They can heal as much as harm, and tear down that which has been built up.  We use them without thinking, and throw them around as if they have no worth, yet the power of what comes out of our mouths and what we write is so grossly underestimated.  A simple, kind word can be a sooting balm to a multitude of wounds, and a scathing, sharp retort can leave one reeling.  One word can speak volumes, and a thousand can echo with no meaning or substance.  Words are how we connect, how we live and for some, as vital as breathing.  There is such beauty in these collections of letters, the way they form and shift to convey a thought, a breath, a heartbeat.   
In thinking all this, it started to make sense why the telling was so hard.   She loved words, loved hearing them, seeing them, playing with them.  For her, words were as much as a requirement of life as oxygen -  indeed, at times when she felt she couldn’t breathe, when it felt as if the world was suffocating her, she still had her words.  The thought of not using them as they were intended, for the story within her, was almost enough to stop her from trying.  But where would that get her?  She knew the words were there, waiting to come out when she was ready, waiting to begin the healing.  ‘Ahhhhhh’ she sighed, feeling the pieces start to drop into place as she allowed her soul to sit with the thoughts in her head, realising that this was a part of the journey of her head filtering down to her heart.  ‘Now?’, she questioned Him, realisation dawning on her, ‘really, like this?’.  
But it made sense.  He made her.  He made her to love the words He blessed her with.  He made her with the desire to see and to hear the words of the stories - her own, and those who crossed her path by His design.  ‘Is this the time?  Is this how You’re going to do it, how You’re going to lead me to where I need to go??’ she asked Him, wondering if she was making more of this insight than it really was.  But something had shifted, something within that whispered ‘Now is the time to tell.  Now is the time to let it go, to stop holding on so tight’.  She couldn’t work out what she feared most – fully embracing the call and stepping out in faith, or turning from the beckoning, and adding another layer to the wall from behind which the voice whispered.  Did she dare?  Did she dare to ask, and be willing to accept the answer?  ‘I’m not ready, but I will’ she whispered back to the voice in her heart......

Another fight, more hurtful words thrown around carelessly between them, intended to maim and wound.  His words echoed in her head, words she’d heard a thousand times before, but in that moment, it all became so perfectly clear.  ‘I can’t change him’.  The realisation hit her with stunning clarity, and all of a sudden, she knew.  She knew the truth that she had been hiding in the deep, dark recesses of denial.  It was time.  She had to leave, because nothing was going to change, and she couldn’t keep going the way things were.  ‘How do I do that?’ was all she could think, and the silence that answered was deafening.
Janie paused, lost in the memory of that moment , that point in time where life as she knew it was shattered, broken into a million pieces, when she knew that nothing would ever be the same again.

1 comment:

  1. hi Alison,

    Read your story over at Jeff Goin's site...Just want to affirm how brave you are and how beautiful it is that you are following God's lead and sharing your story. Although the pain in my life is different than yours, I can relate to listening to that nudge from God to share. Blessings on your journey :)

    Fyi...I blog at Just blogging, when I began, was so out of my comfort zone.