Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Real Reason I Quit Blogging (And why it's time to start again)

It’s been a long time since I’ve let the strange creatures that tumble and tussle in my writer’s mind out to play in the open air, where everyone can see them.

I could say I’ve been busy, but that’s an excuse.

No author likes to have strange eyes on her WIP—work in progress. She’d rather wait until it’s polished and poised, ready to be seen by the world.

Honestly, I’ve been holding off on writing, not because I have a work in progress, but because I am a work in progress.

I’d like to be “mature and complete, not lacking anything.” I’d like to be an expert on living the perfect life, especially in my relationships. Then I could pen the definitive textbook on dating, love, purity, modesty, engagement, and even “learning how to cook and clean for your future husband.”

I want to be the relationship guru.

I want to write cute, funny, quirky posts about how to be the perfect girlfriend or fiancée or even how to survive as a single person in a dog-eat-dog, boy-meets-girl world. (Or maybe boy-eats-girl, if you're into all those vampire books . . . )

But I’ll never be that perfect sage of all things love and romance. My “guru” booth is on backorder, and they’re fresh out of mountaintops for me to perch on.

Deep down, I know I’ll never have it all together, but it just seems like the best time to give someone else advice is when you know what’s working for you. Yet, most of my days, nothing seems to be working for me in the way I planned. In fact, I’d have a longer post if I wrote about how not to do things. I have plenty of experience there. (Don't you? ;) )

But maybe there’s something in that, more than in all the perfect little tips and how-to advice I could give you.

Something about the rawness of the struggle of a real person draws us to them. The evening after he proposed to me, James asked my recently married best friend for her advice on marriage. She said, “I’ve only been married four months . . . I’m not exactly an expert!”

I still remember James’s simple, yet mind-blowing response. “You’re an expert on the first four months of marriage. No marriage counselor or relationship expert can give us the kind of firsthand account you can.”

And she did. She didn’t have many tweetable quotes or life-altering observations, but she had an amazingly ordinary account of real people in a real marriage who had some very real struggles and trials, but an even stronger commitment to making it work. She didn’t presume to tell us how to live our lives. She just helped us know what to expect, and shared what she’d learned in the process—the hard way—so we might be able to avoid some of those painful lessons.

Today, I’ve realized how wholly inadequate I am to tell, or even suggest to anyone else how they should live their lives. (At times it feels like I’m barely living mine!) I’d be happy if I were just following all the advice in all the posts I’ve written in the past, all the time.

But I’m not. I can’t.

And that scares me. I don’t have all the answers. I’m not the perfect role model. People don’t come for miles to marvel at my wisdom. And deep inside my perfectionist’s heart, I’m afraid to tell others to do what I know I can’t perfectly live up to myself.

Yet I know that I need to write. I need to reach out with whatever I’m going through, if only to ask, “Is it just me, or is there anyone else?”

So I’m blogging again, and there’s only one promise I can make. I can promise to be real. To show you the struggles and failures that go hand in hand with the successes. To show you the grace of God in my life, and how he still brings me back when I take off running in the wrong direction.
I’m a work in progress. But my faithful Author has promised to finish what He started. So I’m picking up my pen keyboard again, and I’d love it if you would join me in exploring this work-in-progress I call my life, even if it doesn’t look like a masterpiece . . . yet.

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:6)