Every time I sit to write there are a couple of nagging questions in the back of my mind: 1) what if this time I have nothing to say? 2) what if what’s in my heart doesn’t make sense on the screen? Sometimes trying to articulate in the natural what God is doing in the Spirit can be challenging and overwhelming. And let’s just face it, it’s never going to come out perfectly anyway.
For the past couple of weeks, really beginning with All. Is. Grace., moving to the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her hair and tears and then particularly walking out of darkness like Lazarus and being angry with God, the content of my posts has been written to share more of the real me. I am intentionally removing the masks I’ve worn for many years, the masks I’ve hidden behind (even from myself) and sharing Kim.
Increasingly, each post has become more and more like giving birth – painful, tearful, at some point I am not sure if it’s ever going to happen, but then joyful and life-giving when it finally arrives. From the reader’s perspective I am not sure if anyone would be able to see a discernible difference, but writing has become more of a working out my faith in fear and trembling, than a systematic process.
In fact, as I write each post God has often been doing a deep work on this side of my computer. As He gives me words to articulate my life there is a growing depth to our relationship because I really am depending on Him every step of the way. Sometimes I am even having revelation as I type or as I share with friends thoughts and ideas that eventually get published.
So, if this journey is so awesome (and it is), you might be shocked to learn that as I’ve shared without the masks so to speak I have been battling a growing anxiety. When I first started the blog the Publish button was bullying me around. I have come to terms with the fact that the Publish button works for me, not me for it. It is not going to do anything that doesn’t serve my purposes (except for the time I accidentally hit Publish instead of Preview and my post left the Draft folder before I was ready). In other words, I have made peace with it and we are now friends.
The growing anxiety has come AFTER I hit Publish and my humble offerings have gone out to the world. As friends read their posts via email, or come to my site or click the link on Facebook, or however they arrive to my online home and partake of my inner most thoughts, my pulse starts to race, my breathing gets faster and knots form in my stomach. As my site meter climbs and the number of visitors and views grows I actually get nauseous.
For about the last two weeks my stomach has hurt almost constantly. It’s hurt in spite of the fact that I am getting positive feedback and encouragement regularly (and yes even from people who don’t know and love me). It’s hurt in spite of the profound closeness I’ve experienced with the Lord in the writing of each post.
While I have shared this with a couple of very close friends, I have for the most part kept this between me and the Lord. Finally He showed me some of what’s been going on in my heart. When I hit Publish I am not looking for approval from people or way more importantly from Him, I am actually EXPECTING REJECTION, particularly from Him. The anxiety is in the waiting and anticipation of the rejection to manifest itself. Let’s be honest, expecting rejection has been the whole reason behind wearing the masks all these years. As they come off, there’s nothing between me and you, between me and God. The potential for intimacy is great, but the potential for pain is huge too.
Instead of resting in His UNCONDITIONAL Love, His TOTAL acceptance of me, the high value He places on me (did you know Believers in Christ are worth as much to God as Jesus Christ Himself?), and trusting I am secure in Him, I have been waiting for Him to say, “No, that post isn’t right,” or “No, you are not cut out for this,” or, “Is that the best you can do?”
I think God moves us out of our comfort zones to take us to new places of relationship with Him. Not only am I learning to depend on Him for the writing itself, but I am learning that the outcome is completely up to Him too. Yes, I might get hurt in this process. Yes, I will make mistakes. Yes, it is possible that no one may ever “get me”, except God. But to know Him in a more intimate and revealing way and to experience life lived out of relationship with Him, it’s so worth the risk.
And no matter where this writing adventure (or anything else in my life) goes or where it doesn’t, God is pleased with me. He is pleased with me simply because I am His daughter. And if I may be so bold, I think He’s actually excited for me and about me.
As I wrap up this post, this is the song the Lord put on my heart, What Joy. Enjoy! (Sarah Emerson does a beautiful job, but this Mama LOVES to hear her babies sing this song! It’s my blog, I can be partial if I want. :))
I’m really enjoying reading your blog and getting to really know you now. It is refreshing.
Thank you Barbara! Your words are a blessing to me.
I really, really, really cannot remember how I wound up on your blog, but I am glad that I did. The brave words of this post went right to my heart, and the concept of fearing rejection struck a bold chord. Thank you.
I am truly grateful and humbled by your words. Please come visit again. 🙂