(Giving Myself) Grace

I’ve been in a place, lately, where writing is hard. I guess I should say it’s been harder than normal–writing is always hard, in some way or another. Writing well and truthfully is never easy. But it’s been especially hard over the past weeks. Paper deadlines have been looming, tempting me to just sit down and WRITE. 

And I do that, sometimes. But it never really ends well. Every time I try to fight through that feeling of not-rightness, that feeling that now isn’t the time to write or it isn’t the time to write whatever I’m working on, and just write anyway, I come out of it so incredibly frustrated, with maybe a few pages of bad writing that I’ll just delete trailing behind.

And I got so fed up of that feeling of just forcing myself through things, of doing things I didn’t want to do. Not a ‘lazy me would much rather be watching Netflix’ sort of wanting, but a ‘this kind of hurts what are you doing?’ kind of wanting. It hurt so much that I finally just stopped, and stopped, and stopped. I stopped forcing it. I would sit in silence, or pray, or write that other piece that’s nudging up at the edges of my thoughts, or go do the dishes, or… anything else, really. 

And it felt beautiful.

It was such a release. I was recognizing how I was feeling and legitimizing it and accepting it. And how I was feeling was tired: tired of being in class, tired of my own emotions, tired of my own avoidance. AND THAT WAS OKAY. 

By admitting what I was feeling, by giving it a name, I was giving myself the grace to feel as I was feeling. I was accepting myself and my feelings, and caring for them, and just trying to understand. And it felt like such love for myself.

How I was feeling was completely okay.

I see a lot online about forcing yourself to write every day and how such good things come from that. I have never, ever found that to be true. I’ve always written badly when I’ve forced myself to write. I’ve always left those sessions feeling empty and drained in a way that feels more like ‘something was taken from me against my will’ than like ‘I just did something good and hard and beautiful.’ Forcing myself to write–to do anything–denies the larger truth that I am not the source of my writing. God is. Good, truthful, faithful writing will not happen on my own strength; it happens at God’s direction. Writing is not the highest good; God is. God is the highest good, and my writing belongs to God. Forcing it is just another way for me to try and take back control of my writing, control that I don’t want (mostly), control that I certainly don’t need. 

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