I recently took a much needed break from writing the blog. I’ve always felt that writing needed to come from a place of abundance. When writing feels like pulling hair out of your bathroom drain, it’s probably time to stop.
Good friend Dan Mitchell recently talked humorously about the power of fear in his blog. I appreciate the humor, because too often I’ve felt totally shackled by my own fears. In the past I’ve been too insecure and afraid to take a break from my writing. What if I take a break from writing and stop writing altogether? What if I take a break from my writing and lose all of my readers? Fear is terrible motivator and comes from our deepest and darkest places.
When I took my break, I couldn’t help but think this might be the end of Momentary Delight. Writing had become a burden. I was writing from a place of obligation. It’s a terrible thing when something you love becomes an obligation.
Two weeks ago I visited a local Barnes and Noble. While at Barnes I wanted to buy some books that simply interested in me. It wasn’t about reading books to review or talk about on the blog. I wanted to read books for my simple enjoyment.
While at Barnes, I looked through the Christian book section. I’ve often said I could never be a Christian author, because it would be really scary to have my picture blown up on a book cover. One thing I couldn’t help but notice were the number of Christian authors who were also “professional speakers.” How do you really become a professional speaker? At a cursory glance, it seemed as if many of these “professionals” had done nothing particularly extraordinary or interesting. It actually seems like a wonderful con job if you can manage it.
“What do you do for a living?” I ask.
“I talk”, replies the professional speaker matter of factly.
“No really,” I say laughingly, “what do you do for a living?”
“I talk” insists the professional speaker.
Now I’m a little frustrated.
“What do you mean, ‘you talk?!’ There has to be something more!?”
“Well sometimes I have handouts.”
Yes, if you put it that way, it seems a little absurd. But who am I to criticize someone for charging a big speakers fee, and actually getting a bunch of people to pay it? At the same time I wonder about a profession that pays someone for simply talking about life?
Back in the day, people were professionals at actually doing tangible things. My father was a professional welder or metal-smith. He was a true craftsman. My father-in-law was a professional teacher. He taught electronics at a community college.
All of this points out an issue that has often troubled me about my own blog. It bothers me when I’m simply writing about life. Shouldn’t my writing reflect something more? I shouldn’t just be writing what life should look like. I shouldn’t just write about living life for God. I should be doing more than talking about it. I should be living that life.
I want to be more than simply a blogger or even a writer. Rather than a professional speaker, or writer, or blogger, I think it would be much more rewarding and meaningful to be a “professional doer.”
One of the books I bought at Barnes and Noble was Let Justice Roll Down by John Perkins. The title of “professional doer” perfectly describes John Perkins. Born and raised in Mississippi, he experienced racism and Jim Crowe in all of its fury. Fleeing that life, after his older brother was killed by the town marshal, he moved to California as a young man and was introduced to Jesus. His life was changed forever. Although, they had carved out a prosperous life in California, his family moved back to Mississippi where he started a ministry to share about Jesus. Not long after, he realized that he couldn’t stand on the sidelines, while incredible and terrible things were happening in the south. Loving Jesus, didn’t just mean caring only for people’s souls, it meant caring for the whole person. Marching for Civil Rights, he and several others were jailed and beaten for their trouble. It’s the kind of thing that’s really hard to imagine today. I cannot even conceive of John Perkins’ world, and yet he remained a person of love and forgiveness, who has been able to extend grace even to those who have hurt him. His life is a remarkable one. Even in his advanced age John Perkins continues to be a man who makes stands for Jesus and who embraces justice as an important part of the gospel.
Ultimately, I am not talking necessarily talking about doing big and dramatic things. I am not John Perkins, and yet I am someone who would like to live as someone who doesn’t just talk about life, talk about change and talk about Jesus. I want to be a person who does things, concrete things, not as a vehicle for my writing, but as a vehicle to living a better life.
I’m still not sure where all of this will take me. On the whole, my writing break offered me the opportunity to pause and think. My writing sabbatical gave to time to spend with myself. I appreciated the personal time, though at times the silence seemed a bit deafening.
I’m also unclear about the future of blog and where I will go with it, but I hope you might want to travel this road with me, as we consider what it might mean to live a better life, live for God, be a better parent, live by grace and figure out what it means to not just talk about these things, but to actually do them, or at least try to do them.
“In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”