Waiting for Perfect

Writing Challenge Day 3

I have had moments all through the day today when I could have made time to write. I didn’t though; I wasn’t ready. I kept tossing around different ideas in my head, waiting to see which one would stick. I could be practical and write about the details of how I will accomplish my writing challenge each day. I could be productive and work on my travel blog from this summer. I could be inspirational and write about how the power of our words is simply a reflection of Jesus, The Word made flesh. Or I could just write about how much I absolutely adore teenagers.

So many thoughts elbowing their way through my mind, fighting to be the one I choose. 

But I can’t choose.

Which topic is the right one? Which one is going to make a difference in the world? Which one needs to be heard by someone today? Oh good grief, woman. Just sit down and write!

I wonder how much of our lives we spend waiting for perfect. The perfect job, the perfect house, the perfect church, the perfect spouse, the perfect kid, the perfect friend, the perfect body… always waiting and never quite finding what we’re looking for. How many books are left unwritten and songs are left unsung, waiting for perfect? How many things get lost on the road of good intentions, waiting for perfect, and never find their way to completion? 

Perhaps it’s time to embrace where we are, to be thankful for what’s been given instead of waiting for what hasn’t. Maybe it’s time to alter our expectations and accept that just living this life is enough; that apart from Jesus, there is no such thing as perfect. There is just the next thing, done with purpose and intention, or at the very least, a sense of duty. And that’s enough. Perhaps it’s time to just sit down and write.

So there is no perfect topic for today, no life-changing content desperate to be read.  There is a new advent calendar hanging on the window, the names of Jesus waiting to be flipped over and discussed. A completed math assignment is lying on the counter after creating quite the conversation on Facebook (Are you smarter than a 6th grader?). There is an updated rehearsal schedule ready to be emailed out to parents and a pile of dishes waiting to be washed. The puppy is stretched out on the rug in front of the fireplace, and the children are tucked in under their covers upstairs. My honey is calling me to come downstairs so we can watch our show, and I tell him I’ll be there in a minute. 

I have 50 more words to write.

But after all this, am I really going to miss out on what’s most important because I’m waiting for perfect? 

I think 485 is close enough.

Coming, hon!

What to write…

Well friends, yesterday I wrote about why I started this writing challenge; today I will tackle the questions of  “What?” I had not planned to share this post, but decided to publish it so those of you who follow me will know what to expect and can hold me accountable (or ignore your notifications! Ha!).

My natural tendency has been to write when I happen to feel particularly inspired and actually have time to transfer that inspiration into words on a page. Unfortunately, neither of those things happen very often!  I should clarify that I write in a prayer journal almost daily. However, to me that is not really writing, but a conversation with Jesus… It is private and gut-level honest and not intended to ever be read by any other eyes except mine. In this challenge, though, I want to work on writing with the potential for an audience. That is difficult for me! 

For the sake of transparency, I must confess that I struggle with feeling it is prideful to think I have anything worth saying that matters. I know, I would find that idea ridiculous if someone else shared it with me. I would remind them that God gives us stories and wisdom so that we can share them with others! But I never want to write anything just for the sake of hearing my own voice.  My hope is that God will use whatever He is teaching me to also teach and encourage others. Writing about random things often seems just that to me- Random. I want to make sure my writing has a purpose so that it is beneficial to those who may happen to read it and not just a waste of time. I have dozens of partial blog posts in a file that have never been published because I didn’t think they were worth reading. I’m hoping that being more disciplined in my writing will also help me be more purposeful and effective.

For the sake of this writing challenge, I have a few goals on what to write. First, since it is Advent, I am trying to be intentional about keeping my heart focused on Jesus, lest I get distracted by the noise of Christmas and miss the Christ child altogether. I plan to write about some of the things I am reflecting on during this Advent season, the things I am pondering in my heart as Mary did all those years ago (Luke 2:19). I am also working on some tips and tools for our Senior Small Group girls as we prepare to launch them into college/adulthood next Fall, so I will hopefully be able to include some of those topics. I just finished reading a book by Robert Benson, Dancing on the Head of a Pen, in which he included a list of his all-time favorite books. I love that idea, so I hope to make time to comprise my own list. And finally, I really need to finish blogging about our trip out West this summer. As the months go by, it seems less and less relevant to write about, but it was a trip we often find ourselves commenting on and returning to, and I know the details can be helpful to many of my friends who want to plan a trip of their own. Thus, I need to be disciplined enough to finish what I started. It wouldn’t hurt to blog about my recent trip to New York with my girls, either!

Look at that… I am over 500 words! Not exactly exciting to read, but purposeful nonetheless. 🙂

(P.S. Part of this writing challenge is not revising and editing my thoughts before I share them. That is very difficult for me. I like to revise as I go, which is likely one of the reasons I don’t often finish. So please be gracious with me… this is a work in progress! I also get bogged down with all the other stuff that goes with a blog- photos, links, etc., so I am not worrying about any of that right now. My goal is to just write!)

A New Challenge

I have started a new challenge.

I know, I know… tomorrow begins the busiest season of the year, and most of us are still in a turkey coma from Thanksgiving dinner. There are trees to trim, gifts to buy, cookies to make, and carols to sing.  The calendar is overflowing with Christmas parties and various events of the Season, on top of all the ordinary madness that comes with a family of six. So who in their right mind would add in an extra item on the daily to-do list when there is already so much waiting to be done?

Me, that’s who!

You see, I’ve been in kind of a funk lately. I am so very blessed… I have an amazing husband, really great kids, good health, financial provision, faithful friends, opportunities to serve- more blessings than I can even put into words! I am grateful for each of them, and I do not take them for granted. So why have I been in a funk? I am not really sure. It just happens sometimes, I guess.

For whatever reason, I have felt kind of disconnected from myself, like I’m looking at my life through a window from the outside instead of living it from the inside. I am nostalgic for old times and old friends. I flip through old journals and photos and wonder where the time has gone. I find myself trying to freeze the moments we share as a family before our oldest daughter leaves for college next year and this season of life morphs into something new. My life is flashing before my eyes and slipping through my fingers all at the same time, and all I can do is watch it happen!

So I made some time to walk this week, to be outside by myself, alone with God and my thoughts. I saw my life reflected in the transition of the seasons- the vibrant colored leaves beside the bare tree branches, the brown leaves crunching underfoot while ducking under the bright red holly berries, the stillness of the lake amidst the scattering of flustered birds… it was nice to move and to breathe and to soak it all in. I realized there is not enough quiet in my life these days.  It is a busy season- not just Christmas, but having 4 children at the ages they are, plus ministry life and making dinner and doing laundry and homeschool days… there is a lot of NOISE. Good noise, blessed noise, sacred even, all of it a gift! 

But sometimes my soul thirsts for quiet.

And for whatever reason, my heart and mind find quiet in writing. It is an emptying process, one that fills me and centers me and reminds me who I am (and Whose I am). But with all the noise of these days, I do not find time for it often enough- no, I do not MAKE time for it. 

Enter the challenge.

I have joined a challenge to write at least 500 words every day for the next month. I do not expect them to be words worth reading, only words worth writing. In the busyness of these days, I fear I sometimes lose my real voice, and I’m hoping that writing consistently will help my find it. I do not think I am brave enough to post all my random ponderings, but I will include some, for accountability to myself if nothing else. If you happen to take the time to read this or anything else I write, thank you! Feel free to comment or ask me if I’m writing; comments and suggestions will be appreciated, as I have no idea what to say after today! But if no one reads this but me, that’s okay.

My heart is open to an audience of One, and that’s who I write for anyway.