Living on Maui there are two things you can count on. Rainbows. And sugar cane smoke*. They are both part of the natural rhythm of life here.
Today as I was leaving town, I saw this image and I had one of those those moments.When the thoughts and feelings brewing inside me suddenly make sense.
This picture encapsulates how I feel about this blog.
I have been feeling a little uncertain about this whole shtick. I love writing and have been overwhelmed by everyone’s encouragement to keep going. But blogging about such personal things has left me feeling a little….exposed. Because if I’m honest, I wish my life was all rainbows and sparkles. And I really kinda’ thought it would be. I grew up in the church, fell in love with Jesus when I was small and pretty much played by the rules my whole life. I really thought that meant a good life. An easy life. A blessed life.
But my life has not been easy. It has been filled with struggle, pain and hurt. I have lived through my share of dark and dirty billowing smoke. At one time so dense I thought I would never see the sunshine. But that is the amazing thing about God. And rainbows. He always keeps His promises.
And in life we have a choice.
To focus on the struggle. Or to fixate on the promise.
This is the chain of events that led me to start blogging.
About a year and a half ago, I got a call from my friend Andrea saying that a writer friend of ours had suggested she go to a writers’ conference in California. Andrea is a talented writer and was eight chapters into a fantastic mystery novel. Yes it involves dinosaurs.(She also writes really fun fan-fiction which you can read here)
Anyway, I totally jumped at the idea. So we made plans to go this March (in just a few days). Well, I started praying for an idea. For a book. Because as much as I love to read, I’ve never considered myself a writer. Editor, yes. Critic, yes. Predictor of plots and success, yes. Writer, not so much.
Then about a month later, I was sitting on my friend Alyssa’s couch talking through the desire (once again) to meet a Mr. Wonderful. And she remarked, “I get that Les, but I also feel like you do single really well.”
Fast forward a few days. I’m at the Hawaiian Island Ministries (HIM) conference on Oahu expecting to get all ginned up on Jesus. I go to a break out seminar by Shauna Niequist called “Storytelling, Circling the Wagons and Stocking the Pond”. Turns out it is a seminar on writing and creativity. Who knew? Not me.
But as I’m sitting there, ideas start to flow through my mind. I start jotting them down in the margins of my journal.
And one of the biggest take-a ways for me from that session was that if you want to be a writer, in today’s world, publishers want to see your blog. It’s the way of the industry. Content, consistency and a following.
Didn’t really think it applied to me. It didn’t at that point. But duly noted, thank you.
At the end of the seminar was a Q&A, I finally got to ask my haunting question. I tried to be as inoffensive as possible but I really needed to know. I still think I irritated the her.
Um…I love to read blogs. Don’t get me wrong. But when it comes to starting my own, I sometimes worry about it being vanity. Like who am I and why should I write about my life.
Well, Shauna stood a little taller and put on what I would call the mom face. “Listen. You have decide if you have something to say that is worth sharing. And if you do, be courageous no matter what.”
Yes ma’am. Got it. For me that answer laid to rest some major wonderings.
Now mind you, at this point blogging was not on my radar. Not really.
The next day, I went to a seminar called “Two Callings Under One Roof,” by Rebekah and Gabe Lyons. Alyssa recommended them so I went.
Side note: I’m a total nerd at conferences. I box out on the front row. With my journal and pen, ready to get rocked. And I did. Get rocked.
So, Gabe and Rebekah are telling their story (which is pretty amazing by the way) and in the middle of Rebekah talking about finding her calling, she says about 80 million profound things.
Readers make writers. I jot that down.
Where what makes your heart sing and what breaks your heart collide that’s your calling. Wait. What?
She says it another way. Think about whatever came naturally to you as a child, like 8 or 9. I write reading and performing in the margin of my notes.
What keeps you up at night? What breaks your heart? My heart starts thumping REALLY LOUD in my chest. Lost kids. Emotional healing. Tears start forming. And then in very small letters I write singleness. I hate that it is even on the paper.
And then I realize. If I were going to write about anything real and honest and vulnerable, I would have to talk about singleness. Loneliness. Rejection and disappointment. And how it feels to navigate a life that went way way way different than expected. And how awesome it is. And how in the midst of it all, God is both amazing and faithful. And how He heals the brokenhearted. And frees the captives. And sets people free from darkness.
Where what makes your heart sing and what breaks your heart collide (come together), that’s your calling.
So I came back from the conference and I told a few friends that I think I’m supposed to blog.
I’m not sure where it’s going
and I don’t know why,
but I’m listening to my heart.
Wait. That’s a song lyric.
So that’s a little snapshot of my journey. And why I started blogging. You can definitely see patterns as I have struggled with committing to the process. Or pulled back to get perspective.
But in less than two weeks, I’ll be at the Mount Hermon Writers Conference with Andrea. Who knows what will happen. But you can bet I’ll be on the front row, taking notes:)
Love, Love, Love
The Girl Who Lives In My Head