A friend came over to my house yesterday. It was her first visit at my home. As we walked through it, I found myself doing my usual "tour guide script." The same type of chatting I have done whenever anyone comes to my house. In fact, I could tape myself and play it whenever fresh faces enter my domicile because I have repeated it over and over since we moved into it nearly 5 years ago. It is a script riddled with justifications for its contents, as in, "Oh, that mirror, I got that at Costco." My own self-defined shortcomings, as in, "Oh, this room, it is the one that I just can't make work." My own plans for improvements as in, "We have long-range plans to rework the entire laundry room area as it is like a closet where you are beaten by coats and backpacks just to get out the door." And, I usually throw into the mix these carefully selected phrases, "Well, you know it is always a work in progress," or, "You can't take it with you when you die, " or, "We have been blessed. I certainly don't feel deserving of it." Lest anyone think that I spent any money in building or furnishing my house, take any pride in the home I have created, or believe that I actually enjoy my house. Deep down, it would destroy me if I discovered anyone left my house feeling as if my life were defined by material things. Or, if I ever came across with an air of snobbery, unaware of how blessed and appreciative I truly am.
So, after we completed the obligatory tour, my friend and I sat down to talk about my writing project. Interestingly, I could not receive any compliments about my writing. Even in talking about this book project, I was nearly apologetic.
I am not a writer. I mean, history does not support this notion of being defined as a writer. I was not a keeper of volumes of journals throughout my life. A few scattered here and there, but they are mostly filled with teenage angst and my first experiences with puppy love. I have only taken one journalism course and changed majors because I didn't find any pleasure in it. I also did not enjoy the class on journalistic ethics, either, as everything is grey to me - not black and white. I had two papers in college on which were written, "You might want to get some tutoring at the Writing Center." I have never had a job where writing was the main objective. Up until now, I haven't had the time to read a pamphlet, let alone write anything. This whole writing thing is a bit of a shock to me. And yet, it is the most pleasurable outlet I have at the moment.
To admit I am even a writer means that I have to admit that I am good at writing. Admitting that I am "good" or "excel" at anything is admitting that there is something good or excellent within me. And, this is something that I have believed, falsely I might add, is not true. I have believed that I have no part, no role in anything good in my life. Quite similar to what I wrote about my house, I don't want anyone to think that I believe that I am a great writer, blessed with a eloquent vocabulary with professional editing or grammar skills (clearly the latter is NOT the case). Additionally, I am wary of judgments regarding the time spent and effort put forth in my writing. And, I don't want you to think that I might take any pride in the posts I have crafted, or believe that I actually enjoy my writing and its resulting reactions.
On the flip side, denying or dismissing this means that I am saying no to the gifts that God has given me. I am beginning to understand that humility does not mean complete dismissal of self. It means recognizing that God has given me this talent or gift and I have chosen to act upon it. Therefore, I can give God the full credit for the awakening inside of me. Yet, I can have confidence and satisfaction, and gosh do I even say this word - pride - in my choice, knowing that I am walking down the path chosen for me. At least I think I am. (Doubt, always doubt)
A quote was passed to me and I feel very compelled to share it:
“It is in the quiet crucible of our personal private sufferings
that our noblest dreams are born and Gods greatest gifts are given,
and often given in compensation for what we’ve been through.”
- Wintley PhippsI think there will be further explanation of how timely, relevant and accurate this quote is in the book. But for now, I will leave you to ponder on it, your gifts and your noblest dreams. Oh, and while you are at it, click here to complete my questionnaire. I need you!