Write Crap. Right Now.

 

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Yesterday I posted an article called “Be a chicken not a rat.

Firstly, that is the worst title I’ve ever thought of in my life. It’s just plain ugly. Secondly, the article is rough, doesn’t flow, and is—in three words—a rough draft. I didn’t edit. I didn’t sleep on it. I just wrote it, threw in a filtered picture of the dishes I just washed, and published that sucker.

But you know what? I got ten likes in the span of two hours. Which may be a record for me. Crappy post or not, people liked what I was saying. Which was great considering I didn’t even write it for you guys. I wrote it for me. I hadn’t written a blog post since last October and, although I have several writing prompts, I haven’t done anything with them because I told myself I didn’t have time. And then I started procrastinating and pushing it lower and lower on my list of priorities then I got into a funk. “Why even write?” I despondently asked myself.

So yesterday morning I decided to just write some crap and put it out there. Just do it. Get out of that funk and break the cycle of can’t, won’t, and why. Don’t worry about what it looks like, just write it down and hit that publish button.

And here I sit, writing again. Because I realized that if I wanted to stop feeling like crap, I should write that crap. Right now.

“If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.”
– Lemony Snicket

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Be a chicken not a rat

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I may live in the United States, but my lifestyle is not one of a typical twenty-something in the Midwest. I don’t have Netflix, Amazon Prime, an ever-changing wardrobe … or even a television for that matter.

I don’t work forty hours a week. And I don’t have any debt. What I do have is peace, a warm, inviting home, and a sustainable lifestyle I adore.

This morning my love came over and had brunch with me. I made omelets with fresh produce and peppers from our garden while cinnamon rolls baked in the toaster oven and the kettle gurgled on the stove. After we ate, we did devotions together and finished our tea.

When he left for work, I cleaned up the house and did dishes. Now I’m doing a little writing before I get to work. I’ll work until 7 p.m.

Standard American schedule? Not in the slightest. Perfect for the lifestyle I want to live? Absolutely. My life is slow. It is deliberate. I am not rushed, I am not pressured.

Instead of participating in the rat race, I think I live more like a chicken. Thoughtfully playing my part in the ecosystem, not making a fuss, and absolutely, positively content.

“Busyness is, at its core, about misplaced priorities.” — Joshua Becker

When Jesus Met Cynic

It’s hard not to question. 

There, I did it again, I did that thing where I presume questioning is bad. After all, weren’t we as good evangelical Christians raised to believe questioning is a sign of weakness, doubt, and double-mindedness? 

I must be a terrible Christian. What if this means I’m lukewarm?! Verily I tell you, God will surely spit me out of His mouth—I’m going to hell. Figures. 

Sometimes I question. Sometimes the voice in my head says, “That doesn’t make sense at all!” Once upon a time I felt horrible for my cynicism. Every time a question ran through my head during a sermon I felt the brimstone starting to fall from heaven. When I came across a scripture that seemed harsh or against the “God loves everyone and will make life easy for you” ideology spewed in religious mass media, I wondered if I had the correct inspired word in my hands. Did I grab the wrong book?

But then I realized something. God made me. He knew before I could even breathe that I would be like this. He also had some pretty rad plans for my life. He led me to study philosophy and instead of fueling the thoughts of confusion and doubt, my studies made me understand something that has shaped my thinking ever since.

Humans are not capable of grasping the higher thought processes of God. Isaiah 55:9 tells us that God’s ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts. And in my capstone course for my major I came to understand that there are things the human brain cannot fathom. Therefore, I came to terms with those confusing passages of scripture that theologians have squabbled over for centuries. I accepted the fact that the Word of God is not the Word of Man and I’m not expected—nor able—to fully grasp it by my own might.

But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.
1 Corinthians 2:14

When I’m feeling especially cynical about the Church and the point of all of this, when I think the bible is confusing and contradictory, I remember to trust in the Lord with all my heart and not rely on my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5, paraphrase).

I’ve also been able to accept my naturally cynical mind. I don’t shame myself when I question a particular teaching or scripture. I delve into it head-on because I know Jesus is on the other side waiting for me. Because He loves all of us sinners. Even the cynics.

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Looking Humanity in the Eyes

Sometimes I am perplexing. Like when I put mayo on my peanut butter sandwich, or when I take a cold shower in Iceland. I suppose this is one of those times.

When it comes to cases of someone acting out against others, I tend to pity the person acting out. Whether it is verbal or physical, I feel bad for them. Let me make myself clear: I do not condone any action which harms another—spiritually, physically, emotionally, or otherwise. I simply have compassion on those who have none.

Why? Because they are human. And they are hurting so bad inside that they act out in the most horrible ways. What must they be going through to do that? My heart breaks for their broken humanity. This humanity born into a broken world. These broken people who seek to make some equilibrium in life and break everything around them. It’s a horrible, dirty, broken humanity which surrounds us. It would be easy to shut my eyes and say they’re just bad people. But I don’t mind looking humanity in the eyes.

lady justice lifting blindfold

Kill the fly but don’t burn the house down

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Seattle Man Burns Down House Trying to Kill Spider With Spray Paint | Time.com

I hate the sound of a fly buzzing about the room. I suppose at this point my aversion to the sound could be diagnosed as misophonia. Because I would burn my own house down if I knew it would kill that horrid fly.

So I sit at the table trying to work but go into Hulk-mode every time it gets near my head. I’m here now with a fly swatter on my lap, swatting madly when it comes near.

How much time do I spend swatting at something when I know it’s going to land right beside me if I’m patient? How many times do I burn down something good just to be rid of one thing I don’t like?

How many times have you wasted your energy worrying about something that’s going to go away on its own? How often do you ruin a good day because of one tiny irritant?

We all have a squeaky door, underwear that gives wedgies, an aggravating coworker, a fly buzzing around our heads.

But that doesn’t mean we have to burn the house down.

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Bluebottle fly | National Geographic

My Life, Broken

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The depression comes at night like a damp rag placed on the back of my neck. At first I don’t notice its cool touch, but it slowly warms and I am stuck with the tepid reminder—I’m crippled.

Albeit, temporarily and shorter than most who’ve had their hips reconstructed, but I still have a seemingly insurmountable timeframe in which I am trapped in my own body, held together with four titanium screws and some glue.

I can feel the panic slithering up my throat trying to choke me and I am amazed at the strength of those for whom this is not but a short trial.

And then I’m reminded of other things in life besides bodily ailments which have left me crippled. If I were Japanese pottery, I would be mostly gold by now, but in between catalyst and correction there is still that dark period of brokenness, waiting for the shards of my life to be put back together.

Letting go of my plans and dreams, I drive my car loaded with all of my belongings back home to my parents because it’s the only place I am safe.
A job is lost and and I’m left wondering how I will pay my bills.
Knocking on a hundred doors over a period of two years, I discover God has locked every one of them. I’m left wondering where He wanted me to go in the first place.

My bones will heal eventually, just as my life has been reassembled time after time. My brokenness will be made into a beautiful, golden testament to God’s unfailing love, and—believe it or not— the sun will rise in the morning.

And, boy, do I shine.

My tears will water her garden

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“My therapist says if I keep this up I’m going to kill myself.”

When I dug through my stack of journals and opened that one up, I wasn’t expecting it. The confusion. The fear. And I sure wasn’t expecting to return there.

I was just hired as a staff member at a women’s rehabilitation center this week and thought it would be a good idea to look back on the darkest days of my life. It was a bad decision. As I skimmed the pages that walked a nineteen year old me from euphoric to confused to terrorized and harassed, I became irrevocably saddened.

How could I have allowed myself to be treated that way? He said what? He threw what? You’re kidding me.

On Valentine’s week this year as I was driving to church, I considered posting my blog post, “Relationships are hard, but not that hard,” on Facebook and writing about what relationships are—and are not. As I considered it and dismissed it, God asked me when I was going to use my testimony to help others. I had always said I would. But when?

When I got to church that night I sat by friends who were having a conversation about the women’s rehab they both work at. One looked at me and said, “Jamey would be perfect!” They both cooed over the idea of me working at the rehab and God asked me, “Now?”

So, yeah. Now. The crap I put myself through is going to finally be used as fertilizer on someone else’s garden so they can grow and heal. Those countless nights crying myself to sleep are going to water gardens that will soon thrive again with love and attention and truth.

Because the truth is this: You are worthy. You are beautiful. And you are loved.