It had been one of those days.
Scratch that. It had been one of those weeks, the kind where you’re not sure whether you’ve anything left to say that will matter.
Which is a lie, because we all have something to say. But I don’t know a writer (or any person on the planet, for that matter) who hasn’t entertained that thought a time or fifty.
Someone might call it writer’s block. Someone else might call it stage fright. But it’s something more insidious: It’s believing a lie. It’s listening to a deceiver who wags a wrinkly finger in your face and promises you that personal failure is imminent.
I have believed the lies. I have distrusted God, thinking he will not come through when I sit at an empty screen, this gaping hole that threatens to swallow me up one day.
Here’s the simple truth: I’ve been scared of cursors.
It’s that single line on your screen, winking like a mad man, like it knows you’re going to trip over your own semi-colon.
And it makes you think that if you do have something to say, someone else has said it better already.
The better half of my two-faced heart knows the truth. I’ve told the truth to other writers: “Your words matter to God. And your words matter to people.”
Because that’s the God-honest truth echoing down through the ages. Our stories matter. Words matter. If you don’t believe me, visit an airport lobby today, and see what people are holding in their hands. Better yet, try to open the Bible to a page that doesn’t contain someone’s personal story.
Furthermore, believe this: the only person who can tell your story is you. If you don’t do it, it’s not only your loss. It’s ours.
I know this whole self-doubting thing isn’t just me.
And I know it’s not just the affliction of writers.
The deceiver is the enemy of all people, and he tells us us that our lives are sub-par. The oppressor makes you think that your style stinks,
your parenting offends,
your work wallows,
your ministry lacks,
your personality dulls,
and your metaphors are mixed — even though you’re burning the midnight oil at both ends. (Sorry. Couldn’t resist.)
I’ve heard your self-doubting words. I have. I heard when you said you’ve been scared to write another story, or to speak into the microphone. I’ve also watched at the Bible study table. I see how you shield your answers in the workbook, and how you’re afraid to share openly because you fear you’ve come to the wrong conclusion. You’ve identified the others at the table as “scholars.”
So maybe all of us are doing it: We’re editing our stories before they’re written, and if they don’t look good enough, we throw our drafts in the trash bin. I stand guilty, on all charges.
This is the very best way to destroy a story: never tell it.
And when you don’t tell it? You deny yourself the opportunity to help the rest of us make sense of this great big world. You shut the door on the miracle.
Tell yours. Uncrumple the paper. Live more of life unedited. Hurt, out loud. Laugh, in community. Find beauty, in miserable places.
Make friends with the cursor. Follow where the blinking line leads, filling a cavernous space with consonants, vowels and everyday miracles of living and dying and messing up and tripping over ourselves, and finding that God’s arm was not to short to save us as we lived out our real story.
Tell your story, any story, and discover that you’re not alone. Watch how stories are more than just an antelope in the living room, a 42-year-old woman’s birthday party, the clouds overhead, the dirty snow under your feet.
And maybe, just before you type the final period, you’ll make the most startling discovery of all: that the Hero of your story was in the room all along, just ahead of the blinking cursor, pulling this single thin line across an empty page.
Write your story… Could this be our anthem?
So, what’s your Story? A #TellHisStory is any story that connects your story into the story of God.
You’re invited to tell that story right here, in community with us.
Share your narratives, your poems, your Instagrams tagged with #TellHisStory, … your beautiful hearts. You are the chroniclers, the people who help others make sense of the world with your words and your art.
Story is how we know that, no matter what happens, we can get back up again.
Visit someone (or two) in the link-up to encourage with a comment. Then, Tweet about your posts, and the posts you visit, with the #TellHisStory hashtag. Come back on Friday to visit our Featured #TellHisStory, in the sidebar.
A final note: This is a safe place to tell your stories. You don’t have to be a professional writer or a grammarian to join us. Story is built into every single one of us. Your story matters, because it’s part of God’s story down through history, not because you punctuated everything correctly. Deal?
For more details on the #TellHisStory linkup, click here.
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