Today's musical snack:
I started lectoring (a real fancy word for reading Sunday's Bible passages in front of the congregation) at church simply because I thought I could do it better than everyone else. It sounds bitchy (and probably is), but that's the honest to God truth. I'm not even a competitive person by nature, but for some unbeknownst reason I got real feisty. And I pounced at the opportunity. It's been a learning lesson ever since.
Months later, I would hardly say I am the best. I have made a mistake each and every time I have stood up at the podium. Stumbling over words, reading the completely wrong thing, and even forgetting to read an entire paragraph. It's all happened. But through this ministry, I have gained more than the confidence to speak in front of a large crowd. I have learned to be a forgiver. A forgiver of myself.
It's ironic that such a fundamental lesson in our faith is rarely taught and directed inwards. The one person in life who all too often needs the most forgiveness is ourself. We are imperfect, and we are harsh. We will fall short, and that is completely normal. More importantly, it's okay.
It. Is. Okay.
The reason for that bitchy thought finally made itself known. Not only did I need a small dose of humility (yikes!), but I also needed to cut myself a break. A crucial life lesson, because high expectations are exhausting. And berating yourself for failing to meet them can (and will) destroy you.
A lot has held me back these past few months, but guilt was my number one enemy. It created a writer's block unlike any other. When I first started this journey back in March, I reached out to several bloggers I admired. One of which was Hannah Brencher. Her reply was short and sweet with a little piece of advice, "Show up for your readers." Back in May this didn't mean much as I was posting several times a week. But those high expectations quickly overwhelmed me. Spring turned into summer, and summer turned into fall. Each passing day that SCOEPS lie dormant, that little nugget haunted me more and more. I wasn't showing up.
The guilt paralyzed me.
The lesson of forgiveness is what finally broke through and gave me the motivation to sit down and start writing again. Start with a clean slate. Start devoid of any guilt. (BTW, have you ever noticed starting is the hardest part?! Literally the worst.)
Snippets are a labor of love. I've never been the writer who just spews out the words and edits later. I fight with each word as it lands on the page. Write. Delete. Write some more. Delete it all. Write. Write. Write. Rearrange. It's a time consuming process, and I don't hit "save & publish" until a tear has welled up in my right eye. (Fun fact: tears of happiness come from the right eye first, those of pain or sadness come from the left.)
Each time I contemplate writing, I think of my dear college friend, Melanie T. I can see her sitting at her desk now: glasses on, headphones in, and her fingers (perfectly adorned with chic rings) flying across the keyboard. A thorough edit. Done. Melanie could spend a few hours writing five pages and finish just in time to watch the Real Housewives. To this day, her gift of effortless writing still mesmerizes me, and also leaves me a tad bit jealous. (#honestyhour)
So as I sat down this afternoon I tried to channel my very best Melanie T. (If nothing else, so you could have a bit of entertainment before the next ice age.) Expediency is my new goal for SCOPES. Not letting the fear of imperfection hold me back. Just moving forward with the hopes that each post will be a little better than the last.
My prayer for each of you is that you learn to forgive. Not others. Fuck them.* Forgive yourself. First and always.
*Sorry God. I will say an extra Hail Mary for that one.