One of the scariest things about writing is just not knowing if what you have to say is worth saying.
Like how do you know if people even want to read your stuff? What if it’s read and you end up just hearing crickets chirping because you failed to realize how unimportant and mundane your “great masterpiece” was?
I’ll be honest. A part of me is terrified every time I sit down and pull up my WordPress to sift through my thoughts. I mean, I’ll just be real here. I hardly ever plan what I’m going to write. I just write and hope for the best. And somewhere along the way, I realize what it is I’m really trying to say and then attempt to shorten all the random tangents I somehow went off on.
I know people tell me, “Jessie, you’re such a great writer”, “Jessie, I love your blog”, “Jessie, what you wrote like really encouraged me.”
(Thank you so much, by the way, for encouraging me the way you do)
But despite the affirmation and the assurances that what I am writing is good and worth reading, I have doubts. And I think those doubts come from a place of insecurity brought on by the evil cousin of jealousy: comparison.
For me, writing is both a catalyst for and product of reading. I love to read, particularly memoirs and blogs and personal stories of strong, confident women. When I read, I want to be inspired.
I’m a bit of a blog creeper, meaning I have a few people’s blogs that I check DAILY. Yes, I said daily. Even blogs that I know are only updated once every week or so. What can I say? I’m hungry for inspiration!
But when I read some of these great works, I find myself feeling less and less confident about my own because I end up comparing myself to these writers. I see how strong and beautiful these women are and how that strength and beauty came from a place of tragedy and brokenness.
And I’ve never had a tragedy. I’ve never had a deep brokenness. At least, not like these women.
I have struggles, yes. I do face tough things in life. I go through trials and grieve. I have felt a broken heart.
But when I look back on my life, it’s hard for me to justify my feelings and my thoughts and my creations. I don’t see how I could possibly have credibility when I haven’t faced half the things other people have.
I’m a white, female, middle-class, nineteen-year-old college student living in Georgia, for crying out loud.
But here’s something I’m realizing: we all have our own stories.
And if I can so easily discount mine, then what’s stopping me from discounting everyone else’s?
How dare I believe that only those who have faced tragedy can have a voice or something to offer? That’s like putting darkness up on a pedestal.
Darkness can inspire, but it’s not the only thing.
You know what inspires me? I’m inspired when things I’ve read in God’s Word a billion times are all of a sudden super relevant to my life. I’m inspired when I listen to pastors and speakers who explain something I’ve never understood before. I’m inspired when I find the perfect metaphor for something I’ve felt or experienced but couldn’t explain. I’m inspired when my best friend encourages me. I’m inspired when my boyfriend shows me an act of love. I’m inspired when I get to know my family better. I’m inspired when I’m serving others. I’m inspired when I’m watching silly romantic comedies. I’m inspired when I worship.
And it’s what I do with that inspiration that really matters, not necessarily what inspired me in the first place.
So I’m going to keep writing and I’m going to keep creating. I’m going to keep telling myself that what I have is worth saying.
And I dare you to keep creating, too. Maybe you’re not a writer, but you love to sing. Or maybe you like to draw or come up with cool projects to work on. Maybe you love planning gifts and parties for friends. Maybe you like to share your thoughts with friends.
Let your inspiration direct you to greater things, and kick that comparison out the door! YOU have a voice and it ought to be heard.
That is all, my friends.
I’ve been in a writing frenzy lately and I think it’s because I’m starting to finally become the truly confident woman of God I’m meant to be.
And that confidence has come amidst fear, insecurity, hurt, past wounds, and confusion.
Basically, I’m confidently broken. And what that means is that even though I pretty much have nothing in my life together, I am learning more about myself and God and others and I’m somehow able to be myself in confidence and boldness.
It is one of the greatest feelings in the world to know that despite brokenness and shame and hurt, I can still be wholly myself.
And I think that’s where God’s been trying to bring me– into this season of being myself where I don’t have to constantly strive or feel inadequate or feel like a failure.
I’ve been headed down this journey for the past few months (since the start of 2014, actually) and I can think of a few things that God has used tremendously in my life. So here’s an incomplete list of what has meant the most to me over the past 3.5 months.
1. NOT moving out
I was supposed to move out of my parents’ house into an awesome apartment with four girls in the first week of January. Words cannot explain how excited I was for this new season of my life. I finally felt like I was going to get that taste of true community and independence and college life. And yet two weeks before our scheduled move-in date, things just fell apart. Like crumbled.
And all of a sudden, moving out was no longer an option.
It didn’t make sense. Why on earth would God be paving a way for these plans to happen only to let them cave in on me? The least He could’ve done was give me some sort of warning or foresight. It hurt A LOT. And I was convinced that this was going to be the worst semester ever.
But God shone His goodness through my situation. I remained in my parents’ house and experienced a sudden growth in my relationship with my mom. She was there for me through the crushing disappointment I faced and we had some pretty cool “real talks.” And now I feel like we’re closer, or at least more real, than ever before. To think that I almost moved out without having this awesome friendship blossom between us.
Do I still want to move out? Yes. I’m considering trying again in August. But I have no regrets about staying home this semester. I never thought I’d say those words, but God’s sovereignty and goodness has somehow changed my mind.
2. My best friend NOT moving back
It was excruciatingly painful to consider facing yet another semester without my best friend, Lacey. After six months of having her in Thomasville while I remained in Kennesaw, I was ready for her to come back so the “Jessie and Lacey escapades” could begin again. She’s my wingman, my homie, my OTHER HALF. We were supposed to move in together and pick back up where we left off last May.
But she didn’t come back.
And I thank God for that distance remaining between us because even though the physical distance sucks, the emotional closeness that has been forged through that long distance is unbelievably amazing.
We talk anywhere from 1-6 hours a week. We still make it a point to text pretty much all day, everyday. We watch New Girl over the phone together. We take turns making the four-hour drive to visit each other once a month.
And yes, it’d be great to have her here, but having this distance between us has forced us to be intentional and focus on the more serious things of life that we’d otherwise overlook due to our crazy adventures.
We’ve become closer than I ever imagined possible. I can tell this girl anything. In fact, I HAVE to tell this girl everything. She keeps me sane.
Do I still want her here? Yes. The idea of her coming back to Kennesaw is not an impossibility. But I have no regrets about her staying in Thomasville and me remaining here, and I know she doesn’t either. Yet again, God has shown me His goodness through this situation I once considered the worst thing in the world. Now I realize it’s one of the best.
3. NOT having my life together
Having wounds and insecurities and fears surely feels awful sometimes. Well, most of the time.
But because I’m an imperfect human being, I have the opportunity to walk alongside so many imperfect human beings around me. Because I’m hurt, I have the opportunity to hurt alongside other hurting people.
And together, being hurt suddenly doesn’t feel so awful. It’s not pleasant, but it’s not awful either. When two people are raw and upfront with each other about their broken state of being, they suddenly find they’re not so alone after all.
I thank God that He has used my broken state of being to speak to others. And one of the ways He’s done that is through my writing. And I wouldn’t be able to write like this and say the things I do if I wasn’t okay with being broken.
Do I still want to be healed and whole? Yes. I know there’s so much joy to be had in Christ and we are not meant to remain forever broken and hurt. But God has used me this way. He’s used me as I am. And whether I’m in the deepest pit or on the best Jesus high, I’m just glad I can be used for His glory and to encourage the people I love.
So there you have it. The incomplete list of “wrongs” turned right that have brought me to this place I’m in now. It’s crazy to see God’s goodness through it all, but it’s there. He really does work all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). And oh, how I love Him! After having so much just fall to pieces, I really didn’t have much to hold on to but Him. And that’s a gift in and of itself.
Brokenness is okay, especially when you become confident in it. That doesn’t mean you STAY broken and just decide to never pursue healing. No, healing is needed. But being confident in your brokenness means that you let yourself be yourself, broken pieces and all. That means you stop completely hiding. That means you let God speak to you through your wounds and tears. That means you let God speak THROUGH you BECAUSE of your wounds and tears.
I want this for everyone, especially the beautiful young women in my life. Let’s face it: a lot of us girls are hurting and don’t know what to do about that.
Here’s what I propose we do: we confidently let God have our brokenness. Whether it’s taken away or remains, we let Him do something with it. Anything.
I love you, readers. Your encouragement has meant so much to me. Thank you for meeting me in my hurt and letting me know I am in no way alone or a failure.
For now, let’s be messy people together and begin to pursue healing… in confidence.