As I sit here eating a cold waffle

I realize that looking at pictures of girls who used to make me feel like dying because of comparative jealousy do not necessarily make me feel like dying anymore. I mean, it is hard to believe that some of the girls that I see actually exist, they are too perfect. I know they must have their ugly days but do they struggle with the uphill battle of cystic acne and buttchin? The knowledge that I am not pretty enough to kick it is a little off-putting. But, it does not destroy me.

It used to destroy me. I’m not sure why it doesn’t anymore. Maybe because sometimes I play this little game with myself, which is probably very wrong now that I’m writing it out, but I do this thing where I think well yeah, they may be too pretty for me to kick it with them and I would definitely feel like a bullfrog if I took a picture with them, but they’re probably stupid. That’s what gives me peace. Great.

But I played that mental gymnastics for a long time and it never worked, so I think the other reason that I don’t care as much is because I just don’t care as much. Like, maybe I’m becoming more confident!? Not to say, that I’m like, confident, because… Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. But things aren’t killing me anymore.

Let me just say that I used to sit on the computer for hours searching through pictures of girls with prettier features than me and would use them to mutilate my own soul. And I don’t do that anymore. I think my standards of what is important have changed. And that is a miracle, my friends. As much as I would probably enjoy basking in the light of a beautiful woman with long perfect hair and flawless skin and call her my friend, typically this doesn’t happen.

More realistically, my best friends are as follows: the man who lives with me. Has a big poofy afro and ADHD. Loves anime. My cat. A trans man. A dude who can always be caught wearing the same Auto Zone t-shirt. A girl on her fourth hip surgery who has gained weight consequently. A quiet girl who takes trips to Mackinaw every year. My mom. My sister. A girl covered in tatoos but is conflicted religiously on whether to cover them all up. A big, beautiful redhead.

In addition, a curly-haired girl who has been basically bedridden for the last four years due to an unknown disease. A recent divorce. A tall, tall, tall, dorky and awesome book illustrator. My pastor, his wife, and my mentor, all over 50. A lot of my friends are over 50. My ex-boyfriend’s political realist mom is probably one of my best friends.

So, yeah. Not exactly the most instagrammable bunch. But you know? As I write it down I realize how lucky I am. Really. I feel like a mangled mess walking through life with a bunch of weirdos. They keep me together, keep me grounded. And I’d be proud to grace the pages of instagram with our presence. We might not be as hot, but we certainly have a story to tell through our jacked up bodies and brains.

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Destroyed

Sometimes you just feel destroyed. Sometimes you can’t think straight because you’ve got a million different fucking theologies flying around in your head and you just can’t process it. Sometimes it sounds nice to have a nice professional blog but the only time I can seem to write is when my life is falling apart. A nice professional blog I will most likely never have. I’m going to art school and I don’t even feel okay about it because I’m riddled with ridiculous guilt from an angry, tyrannical god. I want to fly, to make art, to put it in a perfect portfolio and have everything listed out on a webpage but most likely, it won’t be. Most likely I will drop out after three semesters at best and have all my artwork saved in random folders on my computer and shuffled into random spots around my house. I can’t fucking do anything right. I’m sick of all the cliches and tips stuffed into my fucking head. I knew how to live a normal life before Christianity and now I feel as though 45 full sized millstones were hung about my neck and I’m drowning. Just drowning because I don’t pray right, I don’t have discipline, my house is a disaster. And that one girl from bible school is posting about how we’re too obsessed with “messy culture.” Well excuse us for trying to push back against the legalism. God forgive us if we admit this life is hard, God forgive me if I admit I don’t want to be a stay at home mom, don’t feel like birthing children will make me feel complete, forgive me if I struggle hard with my bisexuality and what that means and who I am and my calling to be a Pastor but that’s WRONG so NEVERMIND! I feel like I have no feet planted on the ground and I’m just fucking floating away, seeing pictures of old friends getting Christianmarried and wishing them good luck because I’m sitting at my kitchen table bawling for the first time in weeks because I’ve been too shut down to shed a freaking tear, because marriage is so fucking hard and I literally cannot keep my head up I literally cannot keep my head up I literally will drown if someone does not help me I am literally going to die. Because I want to jump on the train of my favorite slam poet Emily Joy from Moody Bible Institute who actually does things FOR THE KINGDOM that I believe ACTUALLY MATTER and I wish to disassociate myself from John Piper and Franklin Graham and other conservative Christian things as much as possible, but those I love and respect more than anyone else believe the same way they do, including my mother. I need to write more because there’s really no one in my life that can feel my pain, who will sit with me in it, who is open to thinking that maybe the Bible isn’t saying what we think it is? It’s easy for the cute housewife to affirm things that make me want to vomit out my own soul. I’ve contemplated suicide, but I don’t have the nerve. As we speak I can feel God’s presence in the air and I appreciate it. I like it. That’s all I know is that I feel God’s presence all around me in this FUCKING mess and I like it. I don’t even know anything else, fuck it.

I don’t know.

Don’t try to be too eloquent. You’re not. It’ll come off inauthentic.

Just write. Bare your soul.

On the internet.

Breathe.


You gotta be pretty damn arrogant to think that anybody would wanna read your silly little posts on your internet blog!

I guess you gotta be at least somewhat arrogant to write at all, thinkin’ that somebody would wanna read it just cause you wrote it somewhere.

Who the hell do ya think ya are?


I guess if you’re gonna write something, you better make it interesting. If it’s not it’s really an insult to people, thinking they’re gonna wanna read some random blip blobs from your day-to-day. No one cares. Better make it interesting.


 

Ache

Ache.

And I know it’s a worldly ache.

Ache. I know it’s wrong.

In the sense that I could calm the ache with your words and yet I am here on the internet, yet again – this addiction is boring, honestly. It is so old. It’s gotta be old to read about.

Hey you! Who do you think you are? Do you think you can just come in and thrash around again, making me wonder about you again? I am a tender human being. You must know this by now. All my upper internal organs, you know, the heart, veins around my heart, and whatever else is in there, are burning because of you. When this feeling reaches my stomach I’m gonna have to call off work because I will be too sick to move. You have the water to save me but you just stand there, letting me burn. And you know I’m burning. You know that I am! But you just let me here, killing myself!

Do you think you’re allowed to do that? To destroy me, to let me destroy myself? That is some painful stuff. You don’t know how powerful you are.

And I don’t know how powerful I am. I know I do this same thing. I could make a list of 20 people I have burned and are still burning because of me; maybe in some small way, some in bigger ways, and yet, I leave them, and they cross my mind, and I put them out, because I am guilty, and I am scared, and I don’t want to go there, because I don’t have it in me. And that’s probably you too and I know that, you are probably guilty, scared, nervous, and put off because I am so clearly needy and broken. I know I am too demanding with you. You have that effect on people. Do I have that effect on people? Or is it the other way around… Are the chased just the catalysts for the needy’s neediness, and they are in fact the ones in the wrong? Ay, what a mess.

When I step back and look at this mess we’ve created, I understand why you run. I would run, too. Righting these wrongs would take a brave warrior and we are both scared little puppets with too much power for our own good. And we are so insecure. I may scare you away if you ever try to put me out, and that’s why you are afraid.

And the thing is…

You’re probably right. And if you’re not right, the best we’re gonna get is a false-pseudo relationship where I am left not getting what I want: you, your approval; and you are free to move on and forget all the guilt associated with

me.

Well, you person I will not name, that’s what it comes down to. I will give you my approval even though you have stepped on me with your silence. My forgiveness will be whole even though I will still be sitting here patching up the bruises on my heart for a long while, and even though you could stay and help, and you won’t, I won’t hold it against you. Because if I truly loved you, that’s what I would do.

If what you want is freedom, I will gift it; it will make my life no less messy, but you will be free.

Sometimes you just gotta do the right thing through gritted teeth. Hopefully I will get to patching up the wounds of all the people I have pulled in and pushed out, but that is a trash heap of miles high. And it is for another day.

Fight Club

Just finished Fight Club. It’s my sister’s favorite book, so, sister duty. What I found most compelling honestly were the vivid descriptions of the main character biting his own tongue through his clenched teeth and the rest of his tongue just falling onto the floor. Just falling on the floor! And then how he kicked that little, lifeless piece of tongue muscle across said floor. It’s just not something you hear everyday, you know?

Little lifeless half of a tongue being kicked across the floor. That sort of thing will shock you. Because, like, ew.

I know there must have been a point to Fight Club but I’m not sure I caught it. The writing was just so weird and sporadic and filled with many instructions on how to make gunpowder or explosives, but I don’t really care about those things. I guess the thing is that he, “the narrator,” took down an entire world system by bucking the status quo and starting a series of sweaty clubs beneath bars where jacked up men hit each other till they were almost dead or whatever. Till they felt something or whatever.

I mean like, having your face pressed into the hard cement of a basement until your teeth emerge out of your cheek skin would definitely feel like something. Yeah, it would be a whole new sensation to be able to poke my tongue out of the side of my cheek.

Losing a tooth like it’s nothing, being rammed into the ground. Okay.

My type of self-mutilation has always been more of the self-sabotaging emotional variety, with the occasional physical diet restriction or self-harm escapade. But I get it.

To be beaten to the ground by hundreds of sweaty men, to cease to exist, to cease to care… That’s freedom. At least, a type of freedom. It’s a freedom from standards and rules and any self-respect and self-care. It’s like, fuck it. Fuck everything. Whatever. I just chewed off half my tongue and spit it on the ground. That’s how little I care. Whatever.

Yeah, I get it. That’s cool. And you get the added bonus of adrenaline and plenty of dopamine, plus a lack of attachment to your own well-being and therefore a complete disconnect from the well-being of others. Freedom.

It really is. Freedom.

It really is. Freedom.

writing practice

Suddenly

I was in a giant warehouse. All around me was

Gray.

Miserable.

Inside of me:

1.) Hands with long fingernails squeezing unforgivingly my cartoon heart, big and bloody, deep red and pounding, pulpitating violently with a loud beat.

Action: drowning.

2.) Black. Deep. This color demonic. So thick it is humanized. It becomes an object. When you look at it, you weep miserably.

3.) A tentacled monster tightly suffocating my intestines like a snake. Ouch. It’s purple, blue and aphyxiating me.

Only comparable to the feeling that hounds me when I see a KKK costume or hear something about BDSM. There is confusion and misapprehension of the cause, of the effect;

being on a totally different plane, coming from a different solar system. The essence of these things is so thick when I think about them that I can’t breathe. I can’t understand.

I can’t breathe. I can’t understand. I could only feel:

The incomprehensible feeling of the lining right beneath your skin being shattered like hard glass, caused by the realization of being irreverably trapped;

panic, crisis, escape. I need to escape but there is no way. I am being eaten! Help me!

I panicked more. I wrestled more. Not only internally, but externally, for I was trapped in a giant sea of raw meat. I panicked. Panicked as I had never panicked before, because I knew someone was keeping me here, torturing me. I thought of the Jews in concentration camps and shuddered; this is what it was like.

The meat hurt. It burned and pricked and ate at you. And you knew that there was someone keeping you in there because of a special type of evil. Torture for unbelievable reason; for the sake of torture, for the sake of death and ego.

I glanced around, knowing that there were men in charge of this, watching me and laughing. My heart was rotating steadily like a pinwheel, as it was being squeezed and crushed by the horror that enveloped my entire body. I was drowning, I was trapped, and I was going to die because men are keeping me hostage and abusing every faculty I own. I am being crushed. I am not surviving, and yet panic keeps me alive and begs me to escape. Escape, because your friends are in here, too. They are trapped. Your husband is trapped. Help yourself and get out!

I do. I ran away from the red terror that once enveloped me, and threw myself into a hotel lobby. We were running because we were being chased. We knew the evil men wanted us back, wanted to twist us in their fingers again and break us and crush us because they were evil.

The “safe hotel” I had begged the man at the service desk for was no refuge; I knew they would find me again, and I would be tortured. This was my greatest fear. I did not want to die. How does anyone humanly bear this type of suffering? To be subjected to painful torture and treated less than human for the pleasure of someone else

How?

-end dream

 

Embarrassed

I’m always embarrassed when I look at my old writing. Like week-old relics from the past from the times when I was a horrible writer. Except, it was a week ago.

It’s so strange. Maybe I’m just too judgmental. I am incredibly judgmental of other people’s writing and I hardly ever like what anyone else writes. In my head I just think that I could do better. I mean, I’m reading Jane Eyre right now and I don’t think I could write better than Charlotte Bronte. She’s like, primo. But everyone else on the internet, floating around posting our opinions… I feel like none of us are very substantial writers. And maybe that’s the point.

Maybe the point is that we’re practicing. My mom is a writer. She worked for a newspaper before I blessssed her life and she quit her job to take care of me. She told me something she was told on the job – her boss said, pointing to people in the office, writing (on typewriters!) “look around. He was a business major. She was accounting. He was teaching. Don’t get a degree in writing. If you have a gift in writing, then you have a gift in writing. Just get educated about what you want to write about. That’s the real preparation.”

Maybe that’s why I get so heavy on the people who are putting their efforts into internet blogging… Because all of us are basically doing the same thing. Writing about a subject that we know more about than anyone else. Ourselves.

Our generation – we don’t generally research culture and ideology to write informed pieces on whatever. We write our heated opinions. Or more typically, in Christian circles, our experiences and thoughts on God. Not that this is wrong. I was listening to Grace, Eventually by Anne Lammott, the first Christian author in whose writings I’ve indulged, and I noticed a pit of frustration turning over in my stomach. I couldn’t figure out why – I liked her writing style before – was it her voice, listening to her on tape? No, I liked her voice… What is it?

I pondered this for a while and then I realized. What she’s writing about! She’s literally just writing about herself! Her experiences as a liberal Christian with pro-choice ideology, a ski trip with her son, the time she binge ate apple fritters and ice cream from a gas station – they’re all just about… her! Not that I would claim that she is not knowledgeable, because I’m sure she is, but for some reason she chose to simply write about herself. Curious. And a little infuriating. Does she really think that just writing all these little blurbs of her life down into a book will impact anybody? A little arrogant, honestly.

But then I remembered, oh. It did impact me. When I read her book the first time, it deeply impacted me. I was a bright eyed new believer very confused about how my liberal ideals and past life could fit in to the virginal, well-behaved culture with no cussing I was dipping my toes into. And my mentor Chris handed me Traveling Mercies. And it was nice to know that I was not alone in the struggle. That there was a women named Anne Lamott out there with a background like mine, with struggles like mine, with thoughts like mine. And I know many a liberal Atheistic convert to Christianity has found solace in the words of Anne Lamott, simply speaking of her life.

So that’s cool. Once I remembered all of this I realized that sharing our lives with each other can make us all feel a little less alone. Books can be great mentors and friends, and can speak to us if we let them. Blogs, I suppose, can do the same. And there is no shortage of experience that needs to be written about, since practically every experience can be related to – and the ones that can’t, we can most definitely learn from.

At some point, if we’re going to be serious writers, we should probably read hard books – classics, to expand our vocabulary, think new things and discover new ways of writing. I mean, seriously, if all of your vocab comes from the internet, what you write might be kind of bland. When I stepped into the before-mentioned Jane Eyre for the first time and had to look up every other word – and realized the deep, beautiful imagery she used to describe a bedroom – and how incredibly she could define wood – my writing was put to shame. It’s good to be humbled in the face of genius. And I’ve realized my writing is kind of bland, and my vocabulary is extremely limited. Eventually this will limit what I can write about and how I can speak.

And then, of course, if we’re going to write about things specific – racial issues, culture, feminism, Christianity, it will be highly important to learn the history of these very real sections of the past (and present.) I’m regularly ashamed of how little I know of American History. Just reading and learning everything you can is important.

But until then, or if you don’t have time, just write. Write to get better, write to share your experiences. If you’ve got the writing bug then probably one of your purposes on this earth is to write. It will make you feel good and hopefully impact other people. We all need someone to relate to. The internet (and honesty!) make this more possible than ever. I’m certainly embarrassed 10 minutes after I post something, but I’m gonna probably just leave it there. Who knows who needs to read the ramblings of a confused, rambling 22 year old from Michigan.

It isn’t about you.

Dear White People. Don’t make this about you.

In the midst of an uprising of immense evil in our country, I urge you – I beg you – please, please do not make this about you. I scrolled through my facebook today, of course. Because of an internal urge to grieve and agree with those who are posting about black lives and black violence, and to disagree and hiss at those who were posting otherwise. As I scrolled, my insides began to burn with greater and greater reactive fuming rage. On the one hand, powerful were the were posts from black men and women and sympathetic white individuals, but especially black men and women, speaking of fear and anger mostly, and of pain. They ignited in me permeating feelings of fear, anger and deep empathy. Every post declaring that all lives matter and perhaps unknowingly downplaying the significance of the brutal shootings of black men and women by police officers made my insides squirm with absolute disgust and bitter hate. Anger jostled in my brain. It punched me in the gut. Anger because the fact is, that black people can be brutally murdered on a regular basis and yet we downplay it to the point of absolute zero, and remind everyone to not focus too much on black people – even though black people are the ones getting shot. Honestly, if a bully pushes down a kid with less power on the playground, a teacher should not run up and say, “yes, Junior, you were hurt, but remember – you both matter.” Yes, they do both matter. But we tend to the injured first.

Now that that’s out of the way, and I hope and pray that something in what I write could change someone’s mind – let me note that what was said previous is not the point of my post. I am quite white, was raised in an almost entirely white town, and a white family, with white friends. I have had little exposure to black people in my life. 98% of my Facebook friends are white. That’s why I’ve gotta write. This is all I’ve got. An ability to call out to the hundreds of facebook friends that I do have. To ask, plead, beg, for you – all of you – to please not make this about you. Preaching all lives matter is a form of not making this about black people – which this is. It really is about black people. They’re the majority of the ones getting shot with no cause, so lets agree that the vast majority is about them. Now – my fear as I was scrolling through facebook was that we as white people would not only take it this far. It’s one thing to suck away at the attention that black people deserve in the midst of mass violence against their race. This is wrong, it is despicable. It is inhumane. But what I fear of white people, us, being the social media junkies that we are, is that we will take this phenomenon of race and riots and make it about us. What I mean is, because this may soon be the trendy thing to post, tweet, instagram about, we may feel compelled to post tweet about black lives matter to be accepted by our culture – to up our facebook cred – to gain the title of “activist” or ally and then be able to move about our business. This is my cry out to you, my white facebook friends. Please – please, when you are posting about black lives matter, when you are commenting on a subjcet that is so painstakingly important and crucial, in ways that are beyond us, higher than us, and more devastating than we understand – please do not make this about you. Do not make being a #blacklivesmatter supporter about you, for your gain.
Let the fuel behind your clicks be the injustice of the situation, not the exposure you will receive. For this is the entire point of the movement. That yes, white people are important – okay, but can we focus on black people for a second? Because some despicable stuff is going down currently and if we don’t all band together and start praying, caring, sympathizing, talking, protesting, then this injustice is never going to change. What we are fighting for is a culture where a black person can walk down the street and not feel fear of violence, and where a white person can walk down the street and be seen as no different than a black person, in terms of value, intelligence, significance, worth. Does that cover everything? Because if you are jumping on this movement to be validated, please. Do not jump off. We need you. We need everyone we can get. But I urge you to take your eyes and put them first on God and then on black people. Stare this crisis in the face,
stare these shootings in the face, stare God Himself in the face and then realize that this is so beyond being about you. This is so beyond being relevant. This is so so beyond being cool on social media. This is about them. This is about humanity and justice. This is about peace and hope. This is about love.

Right now, love is being mocked, ridiculed, spit on and ultimately destroyed. We live in a country where a portion of the population cannot feel the security of having a police force that works for them. In fact, they must fear the opposite. This is love set ablaze. We must burn back. We must be the tide that pushes against the fires of injustice and inequality. Even if this means giving up rights, giving up privilege, giving up security. This is what’s at stake when you post to support the people in peril. This is what’s at stake when you say you want to join forces with the oppressed. Get ready for it. Help in any way you can. The only thing I can think to do, right now, is write. I can write, I have a voice, I have a limited audience. But I will use what I have. And I urge others – use what you have. If you have any sort of influence on social media – instagram, tumblr, whatever – write about this. Start a conversation. The biggest impacts we will probably have are on those around us, educating
and informing each other about the major issue that people must be convinced cannot be overlooked. White people, we have the biggest influence on white people that exists. Next time you’re with a friend, share the videos of men getting shot and then talk about it. Share the testimonies of black women who are weeping because they have decided not to have children, for fear of bringing more black children into a dangerous world. Pray. Of course, pray. Think. Try to attempt to imagine what it might be like to not feel safer walking by a police station, to have images rush in your mind of people of your color getting shot when you are pulled over, to be looked at like a thug when you’re just a college student wearing a hoodie at night. Try to fathom it. And look at them. Look to them – look to black people for their opinions, their hearts, their hurts, their fears. Read articles written by them. Listen to black celebrities. Care about anyone else right now but yourself, because blacklivesmatter isn’t to be relevant. This is real. And we need all hands
on deck.
It isn’t. About you.

P.S. – My heart goes out to the victims of the Dallas shootings as well. It just wasn’t mentioned because it wasn’t the subject I was covering.

The Burden is Light

After a couple months of wondering around in fuzzy-mindedness towards the God I had previously decided to give my life to – glossily sliding around spiritual conversations with skillfully placed B-school cliches, always readily available, and without much effort, at my fingertips – this is their nature, these cliches, verses and phrases – they take little effort, they are designed to get one out of a tough spot. No need for empathy towards a needy soul or somewhat reckless wisdom inspired by the Spirit, kneading you in and out of tough places. This is the most fragile procedure you could decide to endeavor upon; choosing to feel a depression that isn’t your own, weeping with tears that belong to someone else, mourning for grief that you never had to choose to feel. Being with them, souls side-by-side, feeling the same despair, together. Bearing burdens. The incredible healing comfort of the messy meshing of people. Together.

This type of interaction is hard. It takes work. It involves self-sacrifice of simple comforts to engage fully with a struggle that someone else is inching through. It’s not comfortable, and it shouldn’t be – if it is, you can doubt whether you’re giving the other much comfort at all. And while I used to feel pretty passionate about this, the place I have been in for the last several months has been one of utter selfishness and disregard for the souls of the immortals walking with me.

I remember days where I would, for lack of a better word… Swim – through people’s backstories, frontstories, dreams, wonders, imaginations, journeys, hopes and fears like a marathon. This was God. I am naturally selfish beyond what I could ever describe. Anyone who really knows me knows this. Any ex-boyfriend would tell you this and so would probably most of my friends from high school. But for the joy of relating to another human – what I believe we were designed to do, even when the relating is over soul-crushing heartache, alive and well in this world – I was sometimes able to put my selfishness aside and enter into another’s heart. Stand side by side, holding hands, and walk deeper into sad places. And people did the same with me.

Others have given cliches and scriptures with no knowledge of my heart. And I have done the same to others. I have absent-mindedly looked over another’s soul, seen the bruises, the wear and tear – I’ve looked into their worn out eyes, and just panicked. I’ve panicked and thought, “How can I make it out alive?” And so I have thought of the best Bible School cliche I could think of, sometimes in the form of a Scripture, sometimes an encouraging line, something about God, something about hope, something about trust, something about the future and about life being short and about Heaven. I gloss over. I have no idea where their bruises have come from, whether or not they need surgery, and where – and yet, I hand them a band-aid. They smile, say thanks, eyes still dead, conversation over. I made it out alive.

“Hey, I did my part,” I justify. “I reminded them about God. I talked to them. I did all I could.” But of course, a very real doubt lingers.

I came back to God today. It wasn’t anything spectacular. I wrote in my journal for the first time in months, scribbling away a mess of thoughts that were taking up spots in my brain where good things are supposed to exist. I asked Him to prove that His burden is light. That was my main prayer. Because up until now, it hasn’t felt light.

After getting this off of my chest, though, I’ve realized – what is more heavy, really – entering into fellowship with another person’s soul, bonding together through tormented experiences, relating to one another in the cesspits of life, crying, maybe screaming, maybe feeling uncomfortable, but eventually reaping the rewards of a shared understanding, hearts that are connected, the experience heaven kissing earth in relational goodness that must be as pretty damn close to the Trinity as we can become, or..

Spouting out shallow cliches without ever knowing the other person. Feeling something missing in relationships but never knowing what, exactly. Feeling no freedom to be ourselves, to be broken, to be depressed, in anguish, confused – because we will only be shut down with the particularly heinous brand of Christian-esque positive thinking, being told “God is still good,” when a relative dies and “you need to trust Him,” when you are sinking helplessly into a particularly dark cavern of gut-crushing depression. Hearing Bible verses to meet your supposed needs, although they miss the mark every time – and being made to feel unspiritual because quoting Scriptures, playing worship songs on repeat and repeating mantras like “Keep your eyes on Heaven!” and “Jesus loves you, just keep your eyes on Him,” just aren’t doing it for you.

Jesus never asked us to randomly quote Scripture and cliches at each other to make each other feel better. Not that there is no place for Scripture – obviously, I would never, ever argue that. Conversation can be dictated by Scripture, and by the Spirit. But sometimes, the Spirit may lead you to have an entire conversation with someone without ever quoting Scripture. Sometimes, the Spirit may lead you to simply cry and ask questions with someone in need. Sometimes, the Spirit may just ask you to simply shut up and listen.

This principle is shown most clearly in Galatians 6:2 – we can’t ignore this! “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” I love the Greek Commentary on biblehub: “The mutual bearing of moral burdens is the mutual, loving participation in another’s feeling of guilt, a weeping with those that weep in a moral point of view, by means of which moral sympathy the pressure of the feeling of guilt is reciprocally lightened.” This is fulfilling of the law of Christ! To be sympathetic, empathetic, compassionate, loving, understanding! To pursue, and to care, deeply – and to ask questions sincerely! This is healing for us as Christians, and absolutely essential for life!

There is a rule of thumb throughout the book of Proverbs, which basically demands we speak good words in season. This must be taken to include Scipture, encouragement, etc. But how will we know which season someone is in if we do not hear their hearts? If we do not ask questions and learn about them? If we act haphazardly, more often than not, we will quote something at them that will make them feel even more alone.

I understand that this is not something that people usually do purposefully. It is a high calling to engage in the hearts of others. It takes time – much more time than quoting Scripture – and effort – much more effort than a Bible Study.

But I want to rededicate myself to this practice, because without it, I really think life is empty. Human relationships will not work without empathy. And we cannot accomplish this task without Christ – it is an other-centered type of love we are talking about here, one where we put all positive thinking and self-preservation to rest, and choose to feel bad in order to help someone else survive.

This is a high calling. But it is one that is absolutely essential.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15

It’s Really Hard To Write

It’s really hard to write when you have nothing to write about. Artists, poets, creators – I feel like we’re all reliant on these vital incredible awakenings: hits of inspiration.

They usually come in the form of bursts of brain activity right as mind is slipping into dream. A little bug buzzing around your ear makes your heart beat faster – I know this is a good idea – so a long time’s spent planning and plotting the details of creative goodness as the insect climbs into your ear and knocks the walls around a little bit. He tends to keep people up late. Sometime’s it’s worth it. Inspiration also comes in the car. When the mind is finally too zoned out to be completely safe on the road, it opens. The bug climbs in. Flies around before you can even notice and before you know it you’re unconsciously writing your next great article.

I’ve relied on these little insect givers of creative clarity throughout my life, jumping on whatever idea they had decided to concoct in my brain that day. That is what the majority of my blog posts have been. Sudden strikes of little ideas waiting to be formed at my fingertips when I decide to say yes to the buzzing bee of artistic stimulation. And that’s been amazing. Lighthearted, almost, and fun and otherworldly to see what things I’d be given next and when.

These ideas came freely for a while. They’d pop into my head, beckoning to me about the subject of being written down. I’m not sure if they would have cared if I wrote them in a notebook, or a journal or whatever. But I knew that once these ideas were dropped they would want out of my head quickly, or else they’d get annoying. So I drew from them and it felt very sanctifying as I clicked at the alphabet on my keyboard. Even more so when I shared these tiny flickering firefly ideas with the people on my facebook.

I loved sharing my heart with people. The problem is, that the cute little ideas haven’t really visited me lately. As much as I’ve tried, as much as I’ve asked, nothing has penetrated through my head to my brain except small little “what-if?” ideas that are so boring and dull that I’m sad that I’m even thinking of them, when I used to think of things so much better.

So, with this dilemma in my heart, I wonder – are artists truly reliant on hits of inspiration? Many people say they have written great songs in one go because the idea just slaps them across the face – but others spend years and years composing. Could art school really be possible if what was expected to make great art were those bursts of inspiration that make things so much easier?

Is the real test of an artist to draw, paint and create without the help of a buzzing bug planting magic ideas that come with a blueprint for you to follow? Can I write, even when I have nothing to write about?

All I know is that I’ll always enjoy those little hits of inspiration. But I think I learned at Bible School that while feeling God is amazing, you can still walk along with him when it doesn’t feel too pleasant or inspiring. Well, maybe the same with art. Maybe the same. But how when my whole existence is wrapped up in feeling and emotion? Maybe it goes hand in hand with a drab but consistent walk with God.

Consistency, dammit. Says the girl who has made 7 different Tumblrs. We got a long road ahead of us, little insects.