I believe in a lot of things. Love. Gravity. Life. The freedom to choose…I also believe that if we’re not careful, we can end up victim to the beliefs of others who knowingly or unknowingly are intent on destroying us. Deep, huh? I know.
It’s true though. Take the individual who uses his words to abuse. He may not be using his hands to inflict harm and pain, but those words can destroy a person’s soul. Those words can be the reason a person does not flourish in life.
This last week, I was in a terrible funk. I had things to write. Blogs, novels, short story class assignments.
You know the usual. Yet I’ve had zero interest in writing them. None. Zip. Zero. I would say to my husband, “Tonight I need to do my homework.” The words didn’t have to be completely out of my mouth and I knew, deep inside, I wasn’t going to do it. It didn’t matter if all I did instead was sit and stare at the flames of the pellet stove; I wasn’t going to write anything.
Finally, last night I told my husband about my mood. I couldn’t put a finger on why I wasn’t motivated to write and he’s great for bouncing ideas off of. He asked if I was feeling depressed. Not really. It was a valid question though as losing interest in something you used to find pleasurable is a sign of depression. Also, I noticed myself having little interest in staying in touch with people. Isolation, another sure sign of depression coming around and rearing its ugly head.
This morning, I got up at my usual early hour with the intent to write, knowing that I wasn’t going to follow through with that intention. The road to hell is paved with and all that. I lay on the couch, my mind swirling around with frustration and a desire to figure things out. So, I pulled out my journal.
In the old days before I became a wife and mother, I journaled all the time. Several times a day in fact and it was always helpful. I think it got me through high school, to be honest. It was tough, but I started writing with my usual “Dear God” format. Journaling for me is talking to Him about the stuff going on that I can’t figure out. It’s easier for me to stay focused that way than praying silently.
As the words started pouring out of me, I was able to identify what was going on and what wasn’t. And then it hit me. The ‘why’ behind it all. Hallelujah. It was just what I needed. And that’s where the beliefs of others come into play.
You ever hear of people talking about how they hear the voices of their parents or grandparents telling them what to do or reminding them of moral rights and wrongs? Not voices in the psychotic sense, but in the sense that influential people from their lives were still around giving advice and input. Well, I don’t always hear those voices, but I hear whispers instead.
Sometimes they’re so quiet, I don’t notice they’re there until it’s (almost) too late and I have to pick myself up back up after a bout of mild confusion and frustration…sort of like I’ve been having this week.
Who do the whispers belong to you ask? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that they’re there and though softly spoken, the message is loud and clear.
It’s been a week of disbelief. Disbelief that all things are possible through Christ. Disbelief that I can finish a novel and get it published. Disbelief in myself and my abilities. All because voices whisper from the past that they don’t believe I can do these things. In the end, it manifests itself as attempts to “relax” or a concrete “I’m not writing anything” kind of attitude as I shrink away from those who are standing by my side and encouraging me along this writing journey.
Not everyone will agree with me when I say that I know God believes in me. And that’s fine. I’m not writing this to change anyone’s mind about anything. I know what I believe. And if He believes in me, it doesn’t matter what those silly voices in my head say. Probably those voices belong to people who didn’t always have someone to believe in them and they never learned how to say anything different.
Since God believes in me, I will work on believing in me. I have blog posts to write, novels to write and edit and publish, short story writing class assignments to complete. I have a strong support system of people who love me and have been standing beside me as I journey my way through the writing process.
Will there be times when I doubt myself? Probably. Especially as I work on moving past those whispered voices in my head. When that happens, I’ll have this to remind me of where I was at this last week. I’ll remind myself that God believes in me and so do the important people in my life.
There will be times when the goals we are trying to accomplish push back against our resolve to reach them. Sometimes working toward our goals will be hard. Not everything can be as easy as eating ice cream. When you encounter those days, remind yourself of those who believe in you. Call them up or send them a text and thank them for being there for you. Practice your craft and take a step toward your goal. It’s okay if you’re scared of failing or even of succeeding. That’s normal.
The fear might wax and wane or disappear eventually. When its presence attempts to interfere with your life’s direction, stand tall. Stay strong. Hold on to hope. Remember, the words of Art Williams “I’m not telling you it is going to be easy. I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.” And if you’re a believer, call out to God in those moments like the soldier did in Mark 9:24: “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”
That’s what I’m doing today. I’m remembering it won’t always be easy, but that getting my writing (and anything else on my to-do list) done will be worth it. And when I struggle with believing, I’m calling on God and asking Him to help my unbelief. Because I know when I can hardly believe in myself; He believes enough for the both of us.