This might (not) surprise some of you, but sometimes I write blog posts and never publish them. Sharing your thoughts with random strangers — even though it’s on the Internet — can be daunting. Sometimes I feel ashamed of what I’ve written and don’t want anyone to know I’m human.
But recently, I stumbled across this old, unpublished post in my “drafts” and thought it needed to be shared with the world because it was a timely message for me. Maybe it’ll be a timely message for someone else.
Ironically, not too much has changed from this post except for the fact that I’ve finally started writing again. Just like someone much wiser than me once said, “This too shall pass.”
Whatever though. Here’s the original post written on October 5, 2013:
“Don’t give me songs. Give me something to sing about.”
– Buffy the Vampire Slayer
This morning, I realized I haven’t written a song in 4 months. FOUR MONTHS. To the casual observer, this may not seem like much. But to those who know me well, you’ll realize the significance of this.
Ever since I was 6 years old, I’ve written songs. I currently have 3 notebooks full of songs. Writing songs is just something I do — it’s how I figure out life, love, not-so-loving things, etc. And though I’ve given up dreams of becoming a famous musician, I still write because I can’t not write.
If you ever want to know me, just read those songbooks. They’ll tell you more than any diary or conversation ever could. My deepest desires, fears, and heart breaks are etched in ink on those pieces of paper. Now and then, I go back to them and laugh at how ridiculous my lyrics are. Sometimes I want to hug “past Faith” and tell her she’ll be okay one day. Sometimes when I read some of the sappy love songs, I want to warn myself of the impending doom and devastation.
But today, I realized I haven’t written a song in months. I mean, of course I wrote two songs immediately after graduation, but since then, all I ever seem to write are single verses or short refrains. Every time I put my pen to the paper, I can’t write. I keep thinking, “Just write what you feel” before putting the pen down.
“Write what I feel? But I don’t feel anything.”
My life is wonderful and everything is going wonderfully so why can’t I feel it? Why do I desire to feel like my lungs will burst from joy? Why do I long to feel my pulse race from the thrills of life? Why do I even desire to feel the bitterness of pain, because when I’m in pain, at least I can write something?
These past few months have been full of transitions, and though they’ve gone smoothly, I still feel like I just jumped into the deep end of a bottomless ocean. It’s as if God is saying, “You’ve prepared your whole life for this — just keep swimming.”
And I swim. I swim in this ocean, not knowing where I’m going, what I’m doing, or where it’ll lead. I keep thinking I know, but I don’t. Every time I think I’ve landed on a shore of peace, there is only more ocean. Slowly, the dreams from my youth keep dimming until all that’s left of their light is a shadow.
“There goes another closed door. Guess I should figure out something else to do.”
Why does the voice of reason sometimes sound similar to the voice of fear? Maybe I’ve stopped writing for the same reason it’s often difficult for me to pray — I believe the lie that God doesn’t hear me. All these closed doors look like God isn’t working when in reality, He’s still doing something spectacular. I’m sure people thought their dreams of Jesus being the Messiah were shattered when He died on the cross and was dead for days. I bet a lot of them wanted to give up and complain to God.
But as I pondered this today, the Lord so very kindly led me to Ephesians 5:19-20:
“addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,”
Give thanks to God for the dryness in my soul? I thank you, Jesus.
Give thanks to God for the closed doors? I thank you, Jesus.
Give thanks to God for the confusion, lostness, and disappointment? I thank you, Jesus.
What happens when we thank the Lord? Our perspective changes. Life isn’t something you feel; it’s not the emotions that make it worth living. How often have I fallen into the idolatry of emotions, thinking that if it feels right, then it must be? Instead of being led by the Spirit, I have been enticed by the flesh. Thank you Jesus for forgiving me.
Instead of writing what I feel, I’m going to try a new thing where I write what I know instead. I know God is faithful. I know He is still working. I know there is more to my story than meets the eye.
There is one page left in my current songbook. I don’t know if I’ll be able to finish a full song on the last page, but I’m going to push myself to persevere and write something, anything, knowing that even though I’m head deep in the water, God’s in the water too.