As I have been reflecting on my writing, and what it means, the theme of joy came to mind. I immediately got this image of “The Joy of Cooking” cookbook, and thought how I had struggled to make cooking a joy in my own life-perhaps I need to read that book? But it is obvious just from that title that the author finds cooking to be a joy; something that excites her and propels her to create with food. It was a launching pad of thoughts that quickly came racing all over my head. I thought back to my initial blogging days when I was new to it all; learning where to blog, how to blog and how to get people to visit my site by visiting theirs; enjoying others writing, and playing with widgets and copying and pasting simple codes that keep me intrigued with blogging. It was a lot of time online, but it was to some point effortless, and joyful. I was engaged in it, and time would go fast. Sometimes it was hard, keeping up with so many changes, trying to get and retain a readership. Then trying to fit it in while in seminary was getting more challenging, and parenting was never-ending, and at some point I just needed to let it go. After all, I felt that God had led me to blog in the first place, and had inspired my words to this point, and if it was time to take a break, then maybe I should.
I remember there were times in this “valley of no words” where I would beg God to give me my words back. I’d remind him of my joy, my gift to the world; to inspire, to encourage, to equip; but nothing came, so I would just have moments of journaling in private where no one was; and I came to realize that in that season of aloneness in my writing, God was there with me. He was doing some deep work that I couldn’t appreciate. He was hiding me and my words away so that I might go slower with them and with Him, and grow with them, and grow closer to Him. They weren’t words to share with others, but they were words for me and God to converse. There are a lot of conversations that we have had now, and I have wondered why after all this time He is slowing allowing me to speak again through blogging. Perhaps he knows how hard I have tried to listen? Perhaps He is going to teach me more in this season of writing? Whatever it is, I am slowly feeling the joy come back. After reading some blogs and books on blogging and writing, I know it’s never easy, I know we are alone much of the time behind a white screen, screaming on the inside for someone to hear, to care, to notice, to see our gift and to open it, and enjoy what it tells them. I know it takes time, time to think, time to edit and edit and edit again. I sometimes hate editing, I know what I want to say, so I just want to say it, but in my furious typing to unload my brain of thoughts, I misspell, I run-on, I get sloppy because I want to post and be heard, I want someone to say, “Yes, I get that, I get you”. Just like reading a book and covering it with highlighting because it resonates deeply. That is what we long for, that is the joy; to write what we are, to be heard and understood, not for fame, but because we are human and we all have a story to tell and we each tell our story in a different way that brings a gift to others.
So now, once the joy has been re-established, how do we keep it? It really must be a mindset, a higher way of thinking. It’s not just feelings, but a deep awareness that this is how you share your gift. You are a creator, born in the image of God, the creator. He created, so we create. If you write, you create with words, which become vehicles of transformation in another persons mind and life. Just like musicians uses notes, or painters, a brush. or a cook who may specialize in a certain area of food, we all start in our minds eyes, excited about sharing something that no one else can do in quite the same way, bringing our “flavor” to the arena for others to taste and see.
As I was thinking on “Joy” a few scriptures came to mind. Now I am not trying to take them out of context, but relate them to how we need to look past the hard times in writing and press through to the joy. The first one is: James 1:2 “Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kind, because you know the testing of your faith produced perseverance” Do we face trials of many kids as writers? YES! Sometimes we have nothing to say, or life gets in the way of our writing, maybe we get sick and can’t write. Whatever the trial is, we must keep the thoughts coming and trust God to help us in those times. This is how we persevere, so when the difficulty let up, we are renewed and strengthened to write even better than before. The other scripture is Hebrews 12:2 “For the Joy set before Him, he endured the cross” Jesus went through a brutal death to pay for our sins. He was despised, rejected and killed to set us free. He looked beyond the pain to the joy; the joy of being in Heaven with His father again, sitting at his right hand, the joy of saving all of us whom he deeply loves, the joy of knowing that one day there will be new heaven and a new earth that is fully restored to a garden-like purity and purpose. He knew the joy set before Him, and so must we. We must keep the joy of our goals, our ambitions, our dreams before us; knowing that as we persevere, as we overcome, we will bring joy not only to ourselves a we write but we will bring restoration, rescue and hope to others; talk about being Christ-like!!
So let us take time, look deeply within, find and grab the joy we have and release it. For that is what gifts are for, to be given away and en-joyed by others.