Uncomfortably Speaking | Writing with Purpose

A friend sent me this a few weeks ago:

She gets me. (She’s also a total rock star but that’s beside the point.)

I’m no Ernest Hemingway, but I’ve etched my pain all over the pages of this blog. Hard and clear. Ugly. Scary-to-look-at. And oh, so very uncomfortable. For you. And for me.

When I share my writing with anyone, it’s like giving them a piece of myself:

Hello there. I’d like to share my art with you, which is a risk, because you may hate and reject it. Or even worse, you may hate and reject me. But let me show you anyway…let me show you my deepest thoughts and greatest fears, my hopes and dreams, my shame and guilt and failures…open your hand…yes, there…perfect. Here’s my heart, my very soul. I hope you take good care of it.

That’s how I feel every time I click “Publish”. And yet I keep publishing.

Why?, you ask. Ummmm…because God tells me to? (Insert hiding monkey emoji)

If ever there was a time for the term “cray-cray” this is it, right? Oh, she cray, alright. Or maybe she’s just arrogant? Presumptuous? I get it. Believe me I do.

And yet, that’s the truth. God has called me to speak, to share and to write. So I do. Even when I’m reluctant or embarrassed or downright terrified.

There’s a quote by the famous runner, Eric Liddell: “God made me fast. And when I run I feel his pleasure.”

Well, I do NOT relate to that. At. All. When I run, the only thing I feel about God is that with every step and every gasp I’m getting closer and closer to meeting Him face-to-face. Maybe that should make me love running. But mostly, I hate running. If you see me running, you should join me, because I am probably fleeing a wild animal, a ravenous zombie or an apocalyptic disaster of some kind.

So, while I don’t know exactly how Mr. Liddell felt, I do know this: God gifted me to write. When I write, God reveals the truth to me…the truth about Himself, about others, about me. And in those moments, I feel His pleasure.

I can already hear the gears in those big brains of yours, clicking and cranking…just like mine would if I were reading this. You’re thinking, “Wait a minute. Does she think she has a free pass to write whatever she wants? Is she saying that she never makes mistakes? That her word is as good as God’s?”

Well, of course not! Geez. (Could you see my eye-roll from there? Sorry. Reflex. Those are good questions to ask.)

What I am saying is that I write on purpose. I choose my words carefully and prayerfully. There is a method to my madness. And it looks something like this:

My blog is primarily a personal blog, chronicling my walk with the Lord – mountain tops, pitfalls and all. It is not an academic, theological or instructional blog. I would write those very differently.

Through poetry and prose, I share my life experiences. I avoid telling my readers the answers to life’s big questions (as if I have them!) and instead, I show my readers what I find along the way. They’re smart, my readers. They consider my message, often prayerfully, in light of their own experiences, wisdom and knowledge of God. Then they choose what to do with that message.

Is my writing brutally honest? Emotionally raw? Dramatic in its use of language and tone? Does it elicit a strong response in my readers? I hope so. That is exactly what I am trying to do. And it’s only possible because I do not censor my thoughts and feelings too much, (Trust me, I do censor them!) revealing a picture as close to the whole as possible.

We long for Real. Real people. Real stories. Real tragedies and Real triumphs.

The enemy of our souls wields great power over us when we are physically, emotionally or spiritually isolated. Because people bear the image of God, when we truly see one another, we glimpse the God of the universe. No wonder the enemy conspires to keep us from one another!

When my readers see themselves in my writing, or if, by His grace, they see the Lord, they feel known and un-alone. This fills a need in the deep-down guts of their souls and has the power to bring fresh perspective, new ideas, hope, healing, freedom.

I avoid proclaiming negative things about God or His character. I may express what I’m thinking or feeling or fearing, but I do not insist that those thoughts, feelings or fears are the ultimate truth.

Sometimes my writing feels unfinished, leaves people hanging. Well, I am unfinished. And much of life is lived in between the questions and the answers. I refuse to burden my readers with cotton candy platitudes…light, fluffy, sweet and vanishing.

No! None of that. You need real, solid truth. Truth you can experience. And that is up to God. I will bring you as far as I can and then trust the Lord to lead us both into a rich, weighty truth that drenches our souls and satisfies our hunger.

If and when I do proclaim something to be true, especially if it’s about God, you can be sure that I do so with gravity.

My blog may make you uncomfortable. But that’s kind of the point. Like the travelers in CS Lewis’s The Great Divorce who winced in pain as they stepped barefoot on the very real, unbending grass of heaven, so, too, do we wince when we encounter the very real, unbending truth about others, ourselves and God.

My writing…my life…my writing about my life…it may not be light and fluffy and sweet. But it’s real. And what’s real is all that matters. Everything else is but a vapor.

© Nichole Liza Q.

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