I closed the last page and let out a slow, long breath. One sentence kept resonating within the deepest chambers of my being...a statement that could very well shake my very existence.
I've loved reading books since as far back as I can remember. And this week was no exception. I picked up a copy of Kathryn Stockett's The Help and began reading...little knowing what I would gleam from its pages.
Reading about writers has always inspired me, but this book truly struck me. Close to the beginning, Miss Skeeter's character stated, "Sure, I dreamed of having football dates, but my real dream was that one day I would write something that people would actually read." I knew in that instant that I would absolutely love this book.
Writing for me has always been my form of therapy--letting out what I'm thinking and seeing it stand still, concrete, on a fresh white page. It comes as a second-nature to me...almost as easy as breathing. I was always the girl (and still am) that would rather write a 10-page paper than take a test any day. I guess that's just how my brain works. When I need to really think something through, I write about it. I grab my journal and sort through my thoughts until I've come up with a solution. And I always feel fresh after spilling the contents of my mind's wandering onto paper. As blogger Max Dubinsky says, "Writing is what I know. It is my life. It is my passion."
Write about what disturbs you, particularly if it bothers no one else. When this piece of advice was given to Miss Skeeter, I literally had to stop reading for a minute and write that statement down. Write about what disturbs you, particularly if it bothers no one else. It caused me to think, and is still making me wonder, what disturbs me?
Typically, when I think of something disturbing, I think of a call to action. I wouldn't just let something fill me with anguish and disgust and then go on with my day...or would I? Yet we do that every, single day. I drive by the homeless man on my way to class and don't think twice about where he sleeps at night. I sit next to the girl in class who can't find any peace at night in the midst of her parent's arguments, but don't take the time to notice the scars on her arms as her way of escape. I order my Starbucks latte from a barrista struggling to make ends meet, but I'm just thinking about the tall cup of caramel goodness that I'll soon have in my hands. Everyone around me has a story. Something that makes them who they are. Everyone that I pass by is someone's daughter, someone's mother, someone's daddy....and I haven't taken the time to notice, rushing through the pages of my own life.
I'm disturbed at what I've become and that I just haven't noticed. Until now. And trust me, I'm going to write about it.
What is my life worth if it's just about me? If you ask me, that's a pretty pitiful existence. 2 Corinthians 6:11-13 says, "The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren't small, but you're living them in a small way. I'm speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!" I firmly believe with all that is in me, that God has called and equipped me to a free life--a life filled with loving others will all I've got and standing rooted in the truth that God is good and He can be trusted. Galatians 5:13-15 says, "It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life...use your freedom to serve one another in love; that's how freedom grows. For everything we know about God's Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That's an act of true freedom."
Write about what disturbs you, particularly if it bothers no one else. In other words, I'm writing to call my heart to action. Being disturbed can't just remain seated on the doorsteps of my life, haunting me with its silence. It's time to write for a change.
The best stories come from experience. Life gives birth to creativity. I write best when I write what I know. Unfortunately, we live in a world where Beer Pong is considered a sport, and voting for the next American Idol then Tweeting about it until four in the morning is comparable to a hard day's work. And we wonder why Hollywood keeps giving us remakes and sequels? Looking for inspiration--start living. Really living. (Max Dubinsky, author of Make it Mad)
Galatians 5 goes on to say, "Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives." I can't skim through the pages of life, wrapped up on my day's list. I have to start taking notice...start seeing what is happening right before my eyes in this world that I live in. It's time to start writing for a change...a change within me, my mind, and what disturbs me the most.
My prayer for this journey of waking up to the stories around me is that, "by your words I can see where I'm going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path. I've committed myself and I'll never turn back from living by your righteous order. Everything's falling apart on me, God; put me together again with your Word." (Psalm 119:105-107) A life centered around me is meaningless and forgettable. A life centered on Jesus' plan for me--well now, that's life-changing, life-altering, and something I'm willing to stake my entire life on...no turning back.
Come have your way in me, I welcome you here, Lord Jesus.