I haven’t blogged in a long time. For me, writing is very close to my heart. In brings me in touch with who I am and it helps me make sense of the world around me. When sense can’t be made, it allows me to at least express my emotions in the midst of chaos. I don’t know why I have not blogged. I have thought of it every day. Everyday. My confidence in writing has been kidnapped. My ability express my thoughts temporarily hijacked. I have felt like I have had nothing to say…nothing worth any “value.” This morning, I believe I may have turned a corner. Why am I afraid? My words, my writings are me. They are my thoughts and emotions and ideas. And yes that leaves me feeling vulnerable and exposed…but that’s ok. My words have value because they are mine. They may not come out in the most eloquent manner – but according to who?
Over the last many months, I have found such a treasure in reading Ann Voskamp’s words. She inspires and challenges and pretty much blows me away with every sentence she pens. And while I am so thankful for the time I spend reading her thoughts, and for the peace and joy her words bring, I have allowed her words to make me feel like I just can’t write. I have said it jokingly often that after I read Ann’s beautiful musings, that I will never write again. She can make doing dishes sound poetic! But those little quips of mine actually became my reality. I have let comparison kill my desire to do what I love. I will never be a great writer. I will always be…just me. But that’s got to be okay. I love writing. It makes my heart happy. It brings peace to my soul. I can’t allow myself to be shut down because someone else does it so much better. I have to learn to turn those feelings of inadequacy into feelings of inspiration. My thoughts are important – if to no one else – to me. My desire is for my writing, in a way, to be a form of worship to God. I can’t let any feeling of “less than” hold back that desire.
So here I am…typing furiously, tears flowing, convincing myself with my own words that its time for me to write again.
I started a new devotional this morning. It seems that lately I keep seeking to find inspiration through people who I admire…people who I know are way further along in their walk with Christ and can maybe help light my path. Sometimes I beat myself up for this. This need to be inspired by someone else’s writings and thoughts. Why can’t I seek and find inspiration on my own? I go back and forth on what this says about my walk and my “study life” as far as God goes. I don’t think that being inspired by others is necessarily a negative. There are some amazing people out there who God has given beautiful gifts to and I am thankful they share those gifts. Then I sometimes think that if I can’t just merely sit down and open up the gift that God gave me – my Bible – then something is lacking in me. I am missing something if His inspired word is “not enough.” Yes – this is what I do – argue with myself, beat myself up, etc. After much reflection this morning, I actually think that a balance between studying the word of God and reading other’s words and thoughts is healthy and good for my soul. I don’t have to be a Bible scholar, but I can spend time reading my Bible and it WILL speak to me. God WILL reveal himself to me through those pages. I can also receive blessings, encouragement and inspiration through other people and will hear God through their words. I thank God for his guidance and instruction he inspired through the Bible. Time spent in those pages are time spent with my Creator. I also thank him for gifting people with such creative and insightful spirits whose words touch me and make my spirit soar. Writers like Ann Voskamp are so talented and produce such beautiful thoughts to share that there is no doubt in my mind she is speaking out her gift from God. I spent this morning reading Psalms of praise and thanksgiving. Recorded for me there is a picture of true adoration of God and the words of David inspire me to live a life that praises more, worships more, thanks more, and adores more. And then, in the same time of study this morning, I read from Ann Voskamp’s “One Thousand Gifts Devotional” about her understanding of thankfulness and what God has revealed to her about being truly thankful, and I know that her words are a gift from God as well. So as I continue to reflect on my walk and my relationship with God, I am realizing that I am doing ok. I know that the desire of my heart is to seek God in all that I do. And it is ok if I seek him in many ways, places, and words. His Holy Word will always be my ultimate authority. But I also realize that he can and will reveal himself to me through others. For all of it, I am truly thankful.
Brian and I formed Faith Passage just over a year ago and began writing and sharing our music with others soon after that. I never thought that I could write songs and was apprehensive (to say the least) the first few times I shared lyric ideas with him. It was difficult to put something out there that I had written…what if it only made sense to me? what if he didn’t like it? what if it is just awful? I have since gotten over (almost) many of those feelings when we sit down to create together. Partially because we have written numerous songs together in the last year and have grown together through that process, but also because I have learned a lot about myself as a writer and as a person. I have learned that the lyrics that I write are what is on my heart at that time. Things that I am feeling may spark the first line or chorus of a song. My feelings and my thoughts are what I am truly experiencing at any moment and God understands them. God knows what I’m thinking. God created in me the ability to think and to feel – and to write. I no longer get anxious when I share things – because I know that I write from my heart. I just hope and pray that the songs we create help share our faith and touch lives. This song that I want to share is one the most “simple” songs, lyrically, that we have written. These are words that I try to pray every day of my life and I love sharing this song with others.
Lead me, God
Lead me today
And guide me
Show me the way
Speak to me
Open my mind
And show me
Open my eyes
Make me brand new
And work in me
Make me like you
Lead me, God
Lead me today
PS I finished this post and went outside to cut the grass. As I mowed I was nagged by the feeling that I had forgotten to say everything that I wanted/needed to say in this post – and then it hit me. I am only half of the songwriting duo that is Faith Passage. Brian is an amazing guitar player and songwriter. He writes beautiful music to which I am honored to add lyrics. Without his creativity and amazing skills, my lyrics would be nothing. And now, I must finish the grass…
Some of my earliest memories of music as a child are of the acoustic guitar. I can remember my daddy picking up his guitar with the strings curling wildly around the tuners (not sure why he didn’t ever cut them) and playing “Froggy Went-a Courtin.'” My whole family was very musical and both of my older brothers played the acoustic guitar. We also listened to a lot of bluegrass music (still a favorite to this day) and I marveled at the sounds that came from those guitars and banjos and mandolins. I am certain that all of this exposure to acoustic instruments is what has always fueled my passion for those sounds. When Brian and I formed Faith Passage he had never played the acoustic guitar but rather grew up playing and learning on an electric guitar. I worried that he would not be as intrigued by the acoustic but certainly hoped it would grow on him. Watching his evolution as an acoustic guitar player has been amazing, rewarding, and definitely enlightening. Brian is NOT content with imitating anyone else. He has taken to this new instrument and in a very short time period has developed his very own style. He looks toward other guitar players for inspiration and “ideas” but always takes what he learns and makes it his own. Everywhere we play, people comment on his style and sound. I am so blessed and honored to be able to write and perform with such a talented, gifted musician. I often don’t want to put lyrics over the stuff he comes up with because it could stand alone – beautifully. Brian is an original. He is disciplined and talented and never afraid to try new things to push himself beyond his comfort level to create amazing music. It has been such a memorable journey watching him grow and evolve as a guitarist, and artist, and a person. I am so grateful for my earliest memories of music and the guitar, and so thankful that those memories carry through in our own music today.
What have I gotten myself into? About a month back I received an invitation to an event for Cincinnati creatives. My first reaction…well I don’t know how these people got my name but I’m certainly NOT one of those people. Me…a creative? No way. I didn’t delete the email, but I didn’t immediately clear my social calendar either. A few days later I found myself re-reading the invitation, slightly intrigued, but still certain that I had mistakenly received this invite. I researched the host group, an amazing group of people out of Chicago called STORY, and became even more intrigued – and more convinced that I would not be going. The whole thing worked in my brain for a few days and I mentioned the event to Brian. His automatic response was “Well, you’re going, right?” For a week he asked me – often – if I had registered yet. I finally caved and registered. Waves of doubts and fears instantly rushed over me. What does one do at a creative meet-up? Have I ever been to a social mixer? I’m not a creative, I’m just a middle-aged school teacher who writes songs and sings. And then I made the mistake of looking at the list of the “others” who had registered for this event. Oh wow…more waves. More anxiety about walking into a luncheon by myself and feeling insecure about why I’m even there.
I truly believe timing is everything. My teaching pastor, Joe Boyd, recently tweeted about a book by one of his close friend, Todd Henry, called The Accidental Creative. (I have mentioned this book in another posting). Intrigued even more after seeing Joe interview Todd about creativity, I began reading the book. Here’s why I’m going to walk into my meet-up, mixer, luncheon tomorrow like I belong…I do belong! I AM one of those creative types. I am a songwriter, a singer, a writer, a blogger. My thoughts and ideas and creations were put in me by the ultimate creator. I have just as much right to be there as anyone else on the guest list. I may not have a big title, or run my own business, or any of that, but I do create and I do have a lot to share with the world. I am still nervous about going tomorrow – what will I wear, where will I sit, will anyone talk to me – kind of first day of school stuff – but I am more excited about the opportunity to learn more about myself and others at this event. I am ready to meet up with more people like me – the creative type!
My senior capstone class at Miami University was a writing class. I would say it was one of the best classes I have ever taken. Our semester-long project was to create a writing portfolio that was loosely centered around one theme or subject. I chose “home” as my central idea. The pieces that came from this semester of writing are so different from each other but all relate to my definition of home. I have kept this writing portfolio to myself since that semester. I have shared some poems here and there with people in my life…but until yesterday had never thought about posting poetry on here (I read a great blog yesterday that spurred the idea!).