I have a confession to make. Every time I get an email from Thomas asking if I’d like to write for threads I get a horrible sinking feeling in my stomach. It’s awful, I know. I should be flattered, grateful, pleased to be asked. But all I can think is: “I have nothing to say. I am an awful writer. WHY?!?” Of course, I reply with an: “I’d love to, thank you.” Because that’s the polite, gracious thing to do, and I want to come across like a Christian and not a crazy person. But the truth is, I’m both. And that ‘yes’ has just bought me hours of worry, scribbled out first paragraphs and procrastination, when I could have been drinking wine in the sunshine. And the worst thing of all is that I have to follow through because my absolute least favourite quality in a person is flakiness.
But you see, I don’t want to write, because I am worried about what you’ll think of me. And I know I shouldn’t care. Jesus literally said: “Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you” (Luke 6: 26). But, truth be told, I kind of want everyone to speak well of me.
And I am also worried about lying – painting myself to be better than I am, or worse, or saying something about God that isn’t right. I could bare my soul, but I struggle to be vulnerable in a one-on-one situation, so the idea of sharing my innermost thoughts on the internet terrifies me. I’ve considered being funny, but what if you don’t laugh? What if it turns out I’m boring? I don’t want to waste your time.
It happens every time, this mental battle. Maybe that’s normal, I don’t know. But I really don’t think it should be this complicated. I think of all the things I could write about, and almost simultaneously come up with a list of reasons as to why it would be social suicide to write each one. The other day, for example, I was having a rant about smug married couples and how they can sometimes be so, well, smug. My friend suggested I write about that, an open letter if you will. But I couldn’t possibly – I mean, what if one of my married friends thinks I am writing about them? Or what if people think I am bitter? I am not bitter.
You see my problem.
But then, if God’s given me the gift of writing I should use it. I know that. But I am worried about doing it wrong. I don’t feel wise or enlightened or influential. I don’t feel like people should put into practice the things that I say – because I am so far from perfect. But I don’t want to tell you how imperfect I am because, well, I’m not a sharer.
I love to write. I do. Always have and always will. Give me a pen and a notebook and I could be lost to you for hours. But do I want you rifling through my notebook? No sireeee.
I wish I felt able to tell you all the things I hold in my heart – all the great, joyful gifts and the sad things, the wonderful people and places, and the doubts, and the embarrassing (never-to-be-repeated) stories. Perhaps I’d feel a whole lot better if I shared them. But something stops me every time.
So, am I alone? The only writer who would rather never be read? Who reads the words, ‘your article is getting a lot of hits’ with dread? Who can hear every criticism before they’ve even typed one letter? Please tell me I am not.
I know I have a responsibility to use my gifts. And also to tell the truth. But the truth is, at the moment, I am not very good at either.