On writing a book and every other thing under the sun:
Days come, they just do, that bring a sense of being “swallowed up” in fear and inadequacy: lack of writing skills, literary accomplishments or grammatical expertise. These pressures of performance, they loom on my shoulder. They just come, and they sit, resting on my heavy shoulders; these same shoulders that also carry words of a message, stories of hope.
Ugly words sprout from the depths of my mind – some fresh and bloody, others old and withered. Ugly words hovering with good words, intermingling and building in pressure, they remain.
I love the good words: inspiring, worthy, loved, precious, honorable, valiant, warrior. As beautiful and magnificent as they sound, their mere presence is unable dismiss the presence of the ugly words: worth-less, lone-ranger, rejected, disposable.
I am just like you, in the sense that people are people and life is life and we must take the good with the bad and continue to weed out that which does not bear fruit. But what I can attest to is this: living in the fullness of Christ does not make me exempt from the ugly words. Their presence does not magically vanish because the Spirit is alive and thriving within me.
But it does give me grace.
Grace to face each of the ugly words – and surrender them.
When my daughter broke something of mine, she hid it. She remained conscious of this broken item until I asked her point-blank about it. She admitted it was broken, so I asked her to bring it to me. Now, I’m a mom, I know when something breaks, I know who did it and I most certainly know if and where it is hidden. Its inevitable. I’m a mom, I know everything.
It was not until she willingly surrendered it to me that we were able to talk about it and work through the damage as I took it from her hands and tossed it in the trash. I took her shame, disposed of it, and we exchanged love. You see, there is something about surrendering our brokenness. It is a humble admittance of shame, a healthy expression of remorse. It may have been an accident, or even intentional disregard, but what happens inside of us when we reveal it to the One who desires to take it from us, is a freedom to learn and an opportunity to grow. We create space for something lovely to fill it.
I’m learning how to surrender those ugly words. I know full well that when people speak insults, they do not always realize the full weight of their words. Most people carelessly choose a word that seems to fit in an emotionally fueled conversation, and it gets cannonballed out of their mouths. But the enemy knows. He knows what specific letters spell out that one stab that can cripple only you. He most certainly does. He prompts the exact diction that is meant to poison you to your core, unbeknownst to the one who actually uttered them.
So we must learn to surrender these ugly words, daily.
I find that when I release them to my loving Father, he replaces them with something else, something full of peace and promise.
Hands lifted – are emptied – and returned full.
- I surrender too many goals and objectives in return for the simple joy of writing.
- I surrender high expectations and receive a contentment of continual practice.
- I surrender the false notion that my worth is tied up in the likes, shares or comments and receive a heaping dose of confidence in belonging.
- I surrender yesterday and tomorrows worries and receive a greater awareness of living in the present.
- I surrender weight and pressure in exchange for passion and opportunity.
- I surrender my plans and receive freedom in the adventure – wherever my writing may lead.
It’s a challenge, to surrender these ugly words. It’s a challenge to stand courageously in front of them, facing them and the damage they have done. But to move ahead, in freedom and love for ourselves – with greater room in our hearts to love others – we must learn to surrender the ugly.
What are your ugly words? I challenge you to list them (for your eyes only), and see them; face their ugliness and gently surrender them. Perhaps looking into a thesaurus and choosing the antonym of that word – and speak the truth over yourself. Call the dang thing ugly, kick it to the curb and then claim the beauty.
Surrender your ugly.