“I don’t have anything to write about.”
I hear that thought in my head every day. Multiple times a day, even. Sometimes, it rings so deafening in my ears that I have to walk away. I need something else, a distraction, anything, to make it stop. I get up from my computer, or close my journal and busy myself with something else.
All the while, the lie I just gave into is killing the artist, the creativity that longs to come out of me. I’m stifling it with fear, with excuses, with doing the dishes or the laundry or going to the grocery store. I’m stifling it by doing anything but showing up at the page.
I’ve been going through The Artist’s Way, which is a self-guided workshop that helps people who are “blocked” creatively to process and heal so that they might create in the way they were created to. The last few weeks, the question of “What is keeping you blocked? Is it worth it to stay blocked?” has been posed multiple times.
Those are hard questions. Hard because they bring all of the ugly parts of your heart right to the surface, and before you know it you’re staring the darkest parts of yourself in the face wondering, “What do I do with this?”
I can list off a number of things I think contribute to keeping me blocked. But, the top of that list by far is the lie above: “I don’t have anything to write about.”
Because what that really means is: I don’t think my life is interesting/cool/dramatic/funny/meaningful/purposeful/(insert adjective here) enough to be worth writing about publically.
And what that really means is: No one will care about what I have to write about.
You can see where this is going.
Because what that means is: I’m writing to earn people’s approval. I’m writing to impress people. I’m writing to try and be noticed. To have something to offer people, so maybe I’ll get something from them in return.
That is not the best side of my heart, I’ll tell you that.
And I desperately need it to change. I desperately need Jesus to tear down that idol, and give me a new heart that desires to create and write as obedience to him. As an offering of worship to him, in response to his goodness and gift of writing that he’s given me. That desires to show up out of obedience, and leave the results to Him. A new heart that sees Him and other people as beautiful, and not as useful.
Because the belief that I don’t have anything to write about is a straight lie. This morning, I jotted down a list of over 20 things that I could write about right now. But, I too often look down that list and mentally cross off topics that I don’t think other people would find interesting. Before I know it, the list is down to zero and I’m paralyzed by the belief that I am not good enough.
My artist, who is longing to write, to tell stories, to articulate the beauty in this world no matter how small, is left curled in the fetal position, bruised once again by my abandonment.
There is an artist in all of us. We were created by the Creator, in his image. To create is in our very DNA, so how could anything other than that be true? And every time I let fear or insecurity drive me away from the page, drive me away from creating; every time I choose to hide in my busyness instead of being obedient to how God has wired me, I’m killing a little bit of that artist. I’m killing a little bit of my own soul.
Just because I’ve recognized this lie, doesn’t mean it’s going down easy. Satan would love to keep me paralyzed with fear, and not taking steps toward the life God created me for. It’s going to be a process of healing my artist, of building trust that I’m not going to abandon and run away out of fear. It’s going to take a time of healing that won’t happen overnight. And I’m ok with that because I’m not doing this alone.
Jesus is walking with me, and I’m going to do my part by showing up at the page.