In my work as a counselor, the first place I start is in helping others find words for their story. Their story is there – they have lived it, the soul-shattering moments and the glory-filled ones alike, and yet finding words for their story can be hard. Not simply because it’s hard to speak of what you’ve never spoken out loud before, but also because you may not have the words to describe it. And so I will often suggest that they read something – the Psalms, for instance; or a book or memoir or a blog – to begin to find words for their story. I include these questions as prompts:
What stands out to you? What resonates with you? What do you say, “oh yes! That’s me!” about? Underline it; write that out; and begin telling your story.
In this month where I’m finding it hard to find words for my story (not because it’s difficult or painful, but it’s just busy and quite seemingly ordinary), I turned to a few favorite blogs this morning. And what I found put words to what I’m experiencing. My story of today. Enjoy …
Both are from Emily Freeman at “chatting at the sky,” my #1 favorite blogger and writer these days because of her grace-infused artful words.
First, from her post “one word that is sabotaging the art you live“:
But I’m just tucking them in to bed, you say.
I’m just cleaning the room.
I’m just filing the papers.
I’m just balancing the checkbook.
I’m just driving the carpool. None of this feels sacred to you.
Did you see the killer there?
Pay attention to when you use the word just. Because whatever comes after that word is usually where you’re allowing the art to die.
Resist the urge to disrespect a task because it doesn’t feel important.
Rather than resenting my weakness, I believe Jesus is asking me to embrace my weakness. Being poor in spirit doesn’t mean despising self but releasing self from the expectation of being anything but poor. Small. Helpless. Worn.
My soul needs to remember the kind of movement that will make a difference:
Don’t try to handle your anxiety. Bring your anxiety into the presence of Christ.
Don’t try to fix your loneliness. Bring your loneliness into the presence of Christ.
Don’t try to hide your addiction. Bring your addiction into the presence of Christ.
Don’t try to change your attitude. Bring your attitude into the presence of Christ.
Don’t despise your humanity. Bring your humanity into the presence of Christ.
There is still responsibility, there is still action that comes from me. But my action is not to make right, to make whole, or to make better. My action is to usher my abilities, inabilities, failures and successes all into the presence of Christ.
Somehow, all of this weaves into what I’m living and learning right now as we study Romans together in our women’s Bible study and as we delve into gospel & community in our community group and as I counsel and write and tuck into bed and calm down tantrums in the in-between moments.