With writing, getting started is often referenced as the hardest part of the process, but I disagree. What challenges me the most about writing isn’t just staring at a blank page, it’s the process of revisiting what I’ve actually written. Sometimes looking back at a diary or journal from my past is like revisiting old wounds, becoming that immature, insecure girl again as if no progress or growth has taken place. It can be tough, but the beautiful thing about intentionally reading through all of your writing is this: that part of you is now (thank GOD) just a page.
Whatever is keeping you from writing is also keeping you from a special type of reflective healing, from seeing the growth God has produced in you, the many difficult seasons, relationships and hardships He has brought you through and potentially blocking the blessings that come with letting go and letting others in to how God has moved in our lives.
When I feel like writing is the last thing I want to do, here are a few thoughts I try to visually store somewhere near me to remind me of why I NEED to keep writing (and you too):
- It’s one of the most authentic ways I connect with God
Before I knew what I was doing, journaling became a daily practice of release, exploration and invitation for God to answer some of the deepest and darkest questions I have asked of both Him and myself. It wasn’t until almost my senior year of high school that I realized that God was reading my journal. What I thought were just rants turned into prayers, prayers answered and testimonies because I knew that if God didn’t meet me or show me Himself anywhere else, I could count on Him being there. Sometimes I don’t have words to write and it’s often in those times that I invite Him to say to me what He wants to say and I end up with a sweet reminder that communion, fellowship and authentic relationship and time spent with God isn’t as complicated as I think it is. Most of the time it’s as simple as ink and paper.
- Everything I write is like my own personal collection of “remember when’s and I thought I’d never…”
We all have memories. Some that we like to reference and others that we wish we didn’t have – either way, they are our memories to treasure whether they celebrate or provide caution for the steps we have taken and those that are now behind us. Writing helps me connect the dots of my story. It’s hard to know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been. Document your journey for reference, for sharing, for celebrating and recognizing the woman that you have become.
- I can say how I really feel
Ranting to our friends and loved ones is a great way to release pint up emotions, opinions and responses, but we can’t always say everything we feel even to the people we love. For me writing is often my sounding board for how I really feel. I’ve learned that in emotional moments and environments, even the best intentions can get really screwed up in a flurry of useless words exchanged in the heat of the moment. Though there are certainly times to just talk it out, there are also times when writing it down is both therapeutic and revealing that maybe we don’t need to say everything that comes to our minds. Writing has served as a filter of sorts for me as I navigate the chemical, emotional rollercoaster becoming a woman includes.
- There’s a paper trail of prayer, answers, and faith
Many churches have (sadly) stopped the tradition of sharing testimonies out loud in church settings. Some churches are too big, some are too busy, and others are too modern to make time for one of the celebrated traditions of the early church in Acts. As a results, we walk around as if the only miracles to share involve physical conditions or shiny new cars. Writing provides a paper trail of the many prayers that God has answered or has left unanswered in our lives. It provides a detailed faith journey that only we know to capture, and can also help jog our memories the next time we are asked, any praise reports?
- I can always reference things I’ve forgotten
It’s easy to feel like God is ignoring us, especially when everyone else seems to be super connected or in tune with Him as we struggle to be consistent. I find myself longing for things, people or experiences that look so more appealing that what I have encountered over the years, but when we really take the time to record every experience God brings into our lives, we find a pattern of generosity that only God can provide. You may not have a valentine this year, but has anyone ever bought you roses or made you feel special at one time or another? You wonder if it will ever be your turn, but did you so quickly forget the opportunities you’ve had in the past year vs. the previous year? Writing helps us organize and reference the times in our lives where we’ve felt most alive – proof that we have lived.
- I can see where and how I’ve grown
One of the most painfully rewarding aspects of reading what you’ve written in the past is realizing how far God has brought you. Seeing how you used to think, feel, act or view life compared to where and who you are now is nothing short of a miracle, but you won’t know what you haven’t documented on paper. You can’t revisit who you used to be if on paper, she doesn’t exist. I didn’t want to get to 21, 25, or 30 and not be able to recall, reference, or share my story with my loved ones, other women on this journey or my daughter because I wouldn’t make the time to write it down. You owe it yourself. You owe it to the woman you will become.
- It relieves stress and anxiety
Sometimes… a lot of the time, I get overwhelmed with everything that I need or want to do. Whether it’s the weight of juggling work, home life, serving, passion projects and those oh so lovely surprises we encounter week by week, writing has always served as my way of laying down EVERYTHING that’s on my plate to the all-knowing, all-capable God I serve. If I’m stressed, there’s usually a big correlation to the amount of time I have spent in prayer, in the Bible and in writing down what’s going on. Call it withdrawal, but going more than a do or say without writing usually means I haven’t prayed or sought God sincerely either since those times has been combined for me. If I want to stay stress free, I have to keep in constant communication with God and writing is one of my best ways of doing so.
- It brings me joy
I often wonder if I’m on the right path when it comes to my purpose. Have I chosen the right job, am I making the best decision, is this the person I should date? All questions that have varying answers, but one thing is for sure: when I write, I feel the pleasure of God. It makes me feel like I’m walking in my purpose without having to force it, read it from a book or try to figure it out. It’s natural, it’s fulfilling, it’s peace and it brings me the most joy.
- It’s a form of therapy
The funny thing about writing is that you amy start with a question or complaint and by the time you get to the end of page two, you realize that the issue or problem you brought before God was really a question or point He was posing to you. There have been so many times that I found myself examining my thoughts after penning a few pages of my concerns or feelings. It’s like a mirror that sometimes shows you what the real question is. Writing out my thoughts helps me to navigate my cluttered thoughts and really reflect on what it is I’m trying to say to God, someone else or myself. Writing reveals the little Oprah living in all of us.
- I want to save you the many unnecessary headaches and heartaches I’ve experienced
The biggest reason I decided to start sharing my writing on this blog is because of you. I’ve been the woman lost in the wilderness of my thoughts, thinking that no one else knew what it was like to go through what I went through. I’ve been the woman who looked around and couldn’t seem to find anyone to relate to or ask questions. I’ve been the woman in a room of women who still felt like I was alone. I want to let you know that you’re not alone. I’m here too. I’m still questioning, I’m still praying and I’m still wondering how God is going to piece this patchwork story called my becoming together. I’m still learning how to spread my wings. I’m still hopeful that what I have learned will not go to waste. I’m still writing because I know that somewhere between the women I have befriended and the ones I may never meet, there’s still one who needs to know that her story and her words matter. I keep writing for myself and for you.
I hope this helps in your journey to keep writing your story. Your words have power and I’m here to help you find them.
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To our Becoming,