My heart is beating a little faster as I type these words. I’m sitting here at my dining room table, candle burning for ambiance, fresh flowers to inspire me with their beauty, and holding my breath a bit as I decide today to begin a new chapter of my writing journey.
I’ve come to realize through the encouragement of my man, belief of my friends, and burning within my own heart that I can’t just wonder anymore what it would be like to become a writer. I’ve got to actually put my heart on paper, risking the possibility of failure for the sake of chasing after this dream. As my dear husband told me last week, it’s time to give my writing the attention it deserves.
But I have no idea what I’m doing.
Following these nudges to write feels simultaneously thrilling and terrifying. Success is not guaranteed. I don’t even know what steps to take. If I’m honest, I don’t even know the final goal. A book? Sure, I’d love that. More? Dare I even hope? Even if I don’t know exactly where I’m going, I know I have to move forward.
Even just saying the words out loud, “I want to be a writer,” almost makes me tear up at the sheer exhilaration of embracing a dream that has felt too impossible to ever pursue. Who am I to think I have something worth saying? Who am I to assume people actually care about what I write? Who am I to attempt what thousands of others are already doing so well?
As those questions have bounced around my mind over the past year and a half that I’ve dabbled in blogging, a deeper question echoes within my heart in a response that feels truer than any of my doubt: “Who am I NOT to give life to the dream growing inside me?”
As Marianne Williamson so beautifully expressed in A Return to Love,
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?…We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
We were made to let our light shine.
And every life shines differently, in diverse beauty. Every one of us has been crafted with a unique set of passions, gifts, experiences and perspectives that is not replicated by another human being. There has never existed another living person with your unique make up in all of history—another you will never be repeated for all eternity. No one else can reveal the glory of God in the way you can.
Vulnerable as it feels to share my heart with the world through writing, I don’t want fear of failure/rejection/criticism to keep me from doing the thing I was created for. I want to be brave enough to let my light shine.
Trying new things, especially in the creative realm, can be daunting. My parents are both inspiring me right now with their courage to explore untapped musical passions. They work full time and have plenty of demands on their evenings and weekends, yet they are both choosing to invest time, money, and energy into fulfilling dreams they have each carried as long as I can remember.
A couple years ago, my mom surprised my dad with a music lesson for his birthday. His lifelong obsession with classic rock was the inspiration for his desire to play bass. After the birthday lesson, he started taking lessons regularly; a couple months later he coaxed a neighbor to join him in weekly jam sessions. Now my dad’s pursuit of his dream is giving both him and his friend, who had previously refused to play in front of anyone, the chance to shine their musical light.
When we pursue our own best stories, others are brought along for the ride. Living our own best life gives others permission to live theirs.
My mom has always wanted to learn to play the cello, so a few months ago she signed up for cello lessons. Who does that at 58? Only someone willing risk the discomfort of a steep learning curve for the satisfaction of doing the thing that fills her heart.
So I’m following my parents’ example and venturing into the unknown world of creative arts. Even though the prospect of writing more seriously feels completely overwhelming, I’m committed to taking the next step.
Today I watched a webinar on how to write a book.
Tomorrow I’m going to research writing conferences.
I don’t know what it will be after that (suggestions, anyone?), but I’m committed to taking whatever step arises next.
Consider this post my public declaration of my intention to pursue writing more seriously. Don’t ask me what that means, because I honestly don’t know. I only know that I can’t ignore this growing sense of responsibility to use the gifts God has given me for his purpose and plans.
And I’ll tell you this, even the ability to admit that I have a gift with words—a passion for expressing my thoughts, feelings, and observations through written and spoken language—feels like a brave first step. Recognizing that I have light to shine—and so do you—may be the most important part of living a courageous life.
What is the dream stirring deep inside your heart, waiting to be released? (I’d actually love to hear–it inspires me to know how you’re living fully!) You’re light is waiting to shine. Just take the next step.