I know that I must consistently write. I must do it not because I’m trying to become successful. I must do it because I am becoming someone. In this process of becoming, I must grapple for words and throw them back out at the universe. Whether I like it or not. Whether anyone reads it or not. Whatever.
I just have to do it. I have to keep crafting and keep learning to tell stories. Even if the stories feel like a 5 year old’s gibberish when they come out, they still must come out. I’m believing in faith that every time I choose to express myself and choose to tell a story, Holy Spirit is working on me. He’s putting words to what’s going on inside. He’s maybe healing other hearts and saying something to someone else.
For me, writing is an act of faith.
I grew up with a whole lot of comparison in the writing department. My whole family loves words and creating and stories. My brother, five years older than me, was (and is) the fiction and song writer. We both have stories in our bones, but they come out differently. He tends to bring them out in the dramatic – in the theatrical, the magical, and the sometimes absurd. I tend to love reality. It’s why I’m a photographer, because I love capturing what’s directly in front of me in any given moment. I love blogging and memoirs and sharing personal experiences. When I write, I look to put reason to all that I feel. When he writes, he seems to look to put feelings to all that he reasons. It’s beautiful and I’ve come to celebrate his gifts rather than compare them to my own.
I’ve held dreams for writing my whole life, but they always were carried under the shadow of not being alone in those dreams. My parents were always talking about book ideas – ideas that have not yet become reality. My brother was always chasing dreams of writing novels and songs that change generations and poems with power and screenplays for innovative arenas. Dreams became a bit competitive. Accidentally, but it happened.
When I started blogging at the age of 13, I thought that I would be like Alex and Brett Harris and would be an overnight hit sensation. This was back in 2008, when the blogosphere was booming and launching so many names into authorship and conference speaking. As a naive young girl with a history of dreaming too big, I secretly hoped that would be my fate as well.
My writing from that era is a bit painful to reflect upon, but in the end, I’m glad that I did it. I’m glad that I started cultivating gifts and communities and dreams within myself without seeing any of the success that I dreamed of. If I was to be extremely honest with you, those dreams of writing books and speaking at conferences are still in my heart.
It’s hard because I know that those same dreams are still in my mom’s heart and she has not yet seen them fulfilled. I know my brother is still dreaming of writing crazy stage productions. I know my dad has a book buried in his heart under heaps and heaps of burnout. I feel almost guilty to believe in the fulfillment of my own dreams.
But that guilt is not only misplaced, it’s a bold faced lie. It’s believing the lie that dreams are competitive; that one person’s success hinders another’s and there is only enough room on the platform for a few. Yet I see a much more beautiful reality play out before me. I see that dreams inspire more dreaming. We help each other accomplish their dreams by being faithful to our own. We pave the way as we walk ahead.
My mom told me the other day on the phone that she’s been inspired by seeing me pursue my dreams of starting a strip club outreach. She whispered to me a long time dream and that it seems like it may be the right time to start moving ahead toward making it reality. WHAT? I’m inspiring my mother? That’s crazy to me, this concept that my steps of faith can inspire others to take the same steps of faith in their own dreams. Not knowing, plowing ahead, and reliance on God – it’s not selfish. It’s powerful. It’s worthwhile.
Hannah Brencher wrote this post in December about her blog turning 5 and I can’t get it out of my head. She says that, “Blogging—to me—is not a trend. It’s exercise. It’s discipline. It’s a way to develop a voice and developing said is absolutely crucial if you want to write on bigger platforms one day.” Okay then, Hannah. I suppose I’ll blog.
Despite the fact that consistency has been a beast to me, I know that it’s a beast worth battling. I’m not blogging to build an audience or a platform. I’m not blogging to save the world. I’m blogging to build – to hone my skills and find my voice and strengthen my writing muscles. It may not be pretty, but hey, you never know what it may be setting me up for in the future.
Yes, I do have some crazy dreams that I can’t believe I’m confessing to the internet because I barely have confessed them to my best friends. I would love to write a book. Or ten. I would love to speak at conferences. Actually, I would love (like x1000000) to preach. I would love to be a part of inspiring, training, and teaching a generation of big-dreaming revivalists. Those are the dreams that I barely dare to say, but I’m learning to be braver.
Because bravery inspires more bravery.
Faith inspires more faith.
Dreams inspires more dreaming.
So I’ll write. Because it’s part of a dream. It’s preparing for the future while processing my present. It’s my little acts of bravery and faith. Maybe it will release you to write more or to dream more. Whatever happens, obedience is success. So every time I write, if it’s an act of obedience, it’s successful. No results or competition or guilt required.