It's Thursday. I've taken the day off work because I'm on my way out of town tomorrow for a friend's wedding. There were intentions to get things ready, prepare, clean a little - and I still may do those things - but instead, I think the day is going in exactly the direction it should. With slowness and lots of grace as I enter back into two spaces that have felt very foreign to me lately - the Word and writing.
Coming Back to the Word
I'm beginning to believe that the Word is the greatest gift I've ever had. And one that I've taken for granted way too long now. I can remember, even when I was younger, times where I devoured parts of Scripture. The first Bible I remember carrying was a thick hardcover copy. I had it for so long that I remember it being held together by duct tape. I remember walking into church one day, kind of embarrassed that I had this Bible held together by duct tape and my Dad saying it was a sign that it was definitely being used. The embarrassment went away, replaced by a thrill that I was trying to keep something held together that I clearly loved. I wish I still had that Bible, with it's duct tape and tabs for easy book finding, that helped me be pretty good at Bible drills later on.
As a teen, I remember another Bible I kept all the way through college. A blue and green softcover, full of markings and thoughts. And name tags from college worship nights. Notes from friends around passages specifically marked for me - for when I feel deserted. Markings in every book, almost every page, from years of sermons and trips. It's the copy that came with me on internships and summers in Mobile, before I lived here, New Orleans, California, camps, fall retreats, and back to Mobile when I moved here. It's binding isn't held together by duct tape, but the cover is peeling and much softer than the day I got it.
I remember when I felt like getting a new Bible, that I was sad to leave the old one behind. It had been with me for so much - the one constant companion through years of learning, friendships, moves, beginnings and endings. I remember when I picked out my new Bible, my current one, that I opened the old and transcribed notes and underlined markings quickly into it. In case something happened to my old one, I didn't want to lose the years of notes that I had gathered. Now, my new softcover copy is the one that comes with me. To Bible studies, coffee shops, out of the country, and on weekend trips. It's never far out of reach.
Never far out of reach, but lately rarely opened.
I think there are many reasons we choose to not open the Word. For me, it's because lately I've been wanting all the good things. The heartfelt, encouraging things about what God has done for me and how Jesus has saved me. And not the convicting, hard parts of Scripture that show why God has done what He has for me or why Jesus had to be the One to save me in the first place.
I've been avoiding it. I've been simultaneously trying to run from it and live in it. Let me tell you, that doesn't work. To be away from something means you cannot also be near it. It's one or the other, not both and. It's a matter of which do I want more. My sin that leads me into loneliness? Or Jesus who leads me into so much more?
I've taken for granted the gift of the Word that teaches, rebukes, corrects, trains, and encourages me. In every season the Word prepares me with patience and instruction. I've walked in my own doctrine for too long, ignoring the truth of the Word, calling it fear, but really knowing it to be pride. I don't want to be wrong. I want to be independent. I want to call the shots. And when I open the Word and read it - it reads me, cutting me deep. Showing the truth of who I am, while revealing the Truth that is opposite of who I am, but so much better. And that is something worth devouring and being devoted to.
Coming Back to Writing
Isn't there something scary about knowing you're to do something, but not sure what it all means or even how it's possible? That's how I feel about writing (and reading the Word it seems). We are constantly surrounded by words - whether reading, writing, scrolling, or just thinking! I think it's why I choose Netflix when it comes time to "relax", because it doesn't require words - beyond listening to them being spoken.
Words are one of my favorite things - in written form especially. I process everything better by writing it out. Too many words in my head makes me feel anxious and like I have a dust storm of countless words being twisted together with none of them making sense until they are put down on paper, in a line, in an order that somewhat makes sense.
And putting them down, line after line, is something that I've been ignoring and missing. Like waking up early (or attempting) to have more slow time in the morning helps me have a better day, writing does the same. Because when that dust storm of words never settles, like the mysterious flour on the streets of New York for Tom Hanks in You've Got Mail, they eventually disappear and sometimes I've lost them forever.
There are some words I've written, and spoken, that I wish I could forget, whether they were unkind, untrue, or not helpful at all. But there are others I have said or thought in the moment that I wish I had written down. While I write to hopefully encourage you, I often write for myself. To remember the place I am, what I'm learning, what I'm hating, and what I know to be true and sure - that simply choosing Jesus over everything is the greatest daily decision I can make. It may not always be the easiest, but it will never not be the greatest.
So I return to writing. I return to the process of unstringing words from a dust cloud to line them up into something remotely readable and encouraging. As I wrote in the about, writing has never left me and I hope to never leave it.
These words from Frances Ridley Havergal explain both my love for the Word of God and the writing of words perfectly...
"Holy Father, let Your loving Spirit guide the hand that writes, and strengthen the heart of every one who reads what shall be written, for Jesus' sake."
Let it be.
Get the Guide!
Sign up below to join the community and get your FREE devotional guide!