Lent Reflections

I went into Lent with two disciplines in mind: I committed to both giving something up (phone games) and adding something into my life (writing daily). 

From the beginning, I felt a bit weird about both goals. Was I just using Lent as an excuse to build good habits? I felt strongly about both of them–they occurred to me one morning a few days before Lent and immediately felt right–but I really didn’t want to use Lent as a goal-making scheme, as just a way to jump-start those habits I’d been pining for. But I trusted that feeling enough to choose them as my Lenten disciplines.

Giving up phone games went so well–why hadn’t I done this before, it was so easy!!–that I started giving up other things too: Netflix, sugar… There was a method to the madness: I had been reflecting on and struggling with my tendency to avoid God and feelings and important things in general by playing games on my phone, or watching Netflix, or eating sugar, or… There’s a longer list, of course, and I had every intention of working my way down that list until the entire enterprise imploded. My motivation disappeared, and it didn’t feel important anymore, and I went right back to all of my unhealthy not-coping strategies with barely a nudge of guilt. (And, of course, the guilt I did feel was subsumed by games, videos, and deliciously unhealthy sugary foods…)

Writing went much the same way. A few days into Lent, I realized that writing daily wasn’t about creating a good habit–it was about respecting this gift that I’ve been given. It was about trusting God and this desire that God has given me. It was about using this gift to write things worth writing. But it didn’t take long for writing every day to become a nice idea that never happened.

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And now Lent has ended.

I’ve started working towards both goals again. I’ve written four out of the past five days; I just deleted several phone games, and have cut down my playing time to almost nothing. And yet in so many ways, the habits I started with aren’t the point of Lent. They aren’t even the point of my goals.

The point was God, and all of the ways that I run away from God.

Lent is a time of reflection and sorrow. It’s a time in the wilderness, confronting head-on our own sinfulness and demons and need for God. It’s a time of repentance. And in all sorts of unexpected ways, that’s what I found this season. I’ve seen some of my own sin and started to confront it; I’ve been reminded again that God is by my side while I do that. I’ve been learning about doing hard, important things.

It wasn’t the Lent I imagined. It certainly wasn’t the Lent I was hoping for. But it was messy and difficult and very true to the wilderness-wandering spirit of Lent.

A Reimagining

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I have been blogging here only sporadically at best. I’ve always had the goal of blogging regularly, but I’ve struggled to find subjects or even to articulate what this blog is about. That’s part of why I haven’t been blogging much–I’ve been trying to figure out what I am blogging about, and what I’d like to blog about.

I chose the title ‘Adventures in Writing’ because writing is something that weaves through my life, but especially because writing is something that gives me life. It’s something that helps me to listen and love myself and connect with God. But a few things became obvious on reflection: 

  • writing here only about writing just isn’t working. It’s been a struggle, and it just doesn’t feel quite right, and
  • writing isn’t the only thing in my life that’s life-giving.

Why not write about everything that gives me life, all of the places I see God, and not just those places that have to do with writing? Why not expand my focus here? I didn’t see any reason not to, so here we are! I’m expanding my subject, and you may notice I’ve changed the name of the blog to reflect that, so let’s give this a try! 

Stay tuned:  Friday I’ll have a post that explains in more detail what I’m hoping for my reimagined blog.

Not a Robot


Here’s my latest writing update. As you can see, it’s not very consistent or prolific. I reached my goal of an hour a week only twice. And I’m frustrated that I made so little progress. I know I can do better. 

However, it was a difficult few weeks emotionally. Nothing happened, really, but I struggled again with being unemployed and with what I have been learning or should be learning. As much as I’ve loved a lot of the past few months in really unexpected ways, making what feels like little progress is frustrating, and I let that frustration overwhelm me and keep me from writing. 

So… Not as good as I hoped. At all. 

But: I am not a robot. I cannot expect myself to always feel like writing. I cannot expect myself to always write one hour, exactly, not one second more or less. I cannot expect myself to always write well, always be completely undistracted. I am not a robot. It’s okay if I don’t feel like writing, or if I need a day off. Yes, I would like to build writing into a more regular habit, and yes, not feeling like writing isn’t always an excuse to not write. Yes, absolutely, and I am working to write more consistently. That’s why I post these updates. But, as I work towards building this habit, sometimes I need to remember to give myself a little grace, instead of being frustrated that I’m not perfect. 

Give yourself a little grace. You’re not a robot, either.

Writing Update

I really enjoyed updating you on how much writing I’ve done. It was a nice way to feel accountable and inspire myself to keep going, which is why I decided to continue doing updates.

Here are my totals for the past two weeks:


I kept the same goal of writing one hour a day. As you can see, I’ve been more successful this month at reaching at least an hour of writing in a day, which always feels like the big mile marker. Actually reaching it is such a rush! 
It’s funny that I’ve reached an hour more this month, because my focus has shifted. I started focusing more on the every day part of my goal, and just being excited when I wrote every day. If I only wrote ten minutes–well, I wrote. If I didn’t write anything for publication–well, I wrote. Taking the pressure of reaching sixty minutes off of myself was so helpful and freeing, because then I could just focus on writing. Once I took that pressure off, I started to write more days and to reach an hour of writing more often. 

I always forget how important it is to give myself grace and be kind to myself, but I learned that lesson again these past few weeks.

Here’s to learning it again as we go forward!

What have you been writing and learning?

Writing Challenge, Weeks 4 and 5

Here’s a wrap up of my November writing challenge:

Tuesday (November 22): 0 minutes

Wednesday: 35 minutes

Thursday: 0 minutes

Friday: 0 minutes

Saturday: 55 minutes

Sunday: 55 minutes

Monday: 30 minutes

Tuesday (November 29): 0 minutes

Wednesday: 0 minutes

Yes, I’m disappointed that I didn’t write more (although not during Thanksgiving. I went to visit family that I hardly ever see and it was wonderful. It’s such a rare occurrence that it was worth not writing for those few days). Not being able to write consistently has been a huge theme of this challenge. 

But I’m very glad I challenged myself like this. Recording how much I’ve been writing has helped me to see what I’m doing well and what I need to improve on. The challenge has encouraged me to write more. An hour a day may be unrealistic at this point, but it’s the minimum amount of writing I’d like to work towards and eventually reach. It’s been helpful to have a goal and accountability.

I’ve continued the challenge into December with a few tweaks. These update posts seem to be popular, so I’ll keep posting them every few weeks!

Writing Challenge, Week 3

It’s time for another update! Here’s how the past week went:

Tuesday: 40 minutes

Wednesday: 0 minutes

Thursday: 15 minutes

Friday: 0 minutes

Saturday: 0 minutes

Sunday: 150 minutes

Monday: 25 minutes

As I looked over my times for this week, I was left wondering what I was really trying to accomplish with this challenge. I mean, obviously, I wanted to write more, but as I look at my results this week I remember that writing is intricately bound up with the rest of my life, at least for me. Everything I’m doing is feeling rushed and fragmented and isolated from everything else. And that made writing hard.

Why am I writing? Having a time goal alone isn’t working. It makes it easy to forget that writing feeds my soul. Words feed my soul. Writing gives me joy and life. So, yes, writing every day is a professional goal as I strive to make a part-time career in writing, but writing every day is also a personal and spiritual goal. Writing connects me to God as few other activities do. 

I want to write because writing is good for me. I want to write because it is good for my soul.

I want to write.

Writing Challenge, Week 2

Time for another check in on my writing challenge!

Tuesday: 20 minutes

Wednesday: 60 minutes

Thursday: 35 minutes

Friday: 10 minutes

Saturday: 0 minutes

Sunday: 35 minutes

Monday: 0 minutes

I reached an hour of writing on one day! That was the best feeling ever. 

As you can see, I still struggled with writing every day, and with writing for a long time every day. Again, I’m disappointed that I didn’t write more, but it is more than I wrote last week. I also spent a decent amount of time doing writing preparatory work: researching publications, researching topics, and typing up what I wrote (I often handwrite first drafts). I’m still not where I’d like to be, but I am improving. It doesn’t feel like it, but I am. 

It’s funny how recording what I’ve done changes how I see it. I can see patterns–all the days I didn’t write much were days I didn’t write in the morning, for instance. I can see that there has been improvement from last week, even though it doesn’t feel like it–which also means that I can see clearly that I’m not where I’d like to be yet. 

Here’s to another week of improvement.

What have you been writing this week?