- We are very busy at work OR
- Our Internet service at home is spotty due to the much needed rain OR
- I am in the middle of a Bible study and have little free time OR
- We don't have exciting things going on OR
- I forget.
But the honest answer would be that I am having a hard time finding 'my voice'. I am just now realizing that I have been struggling with expressing myself for fear of failure or of disappointing someone.
You see, I started this blog in hopes of keeping our extended family in Arkansas (and beyond) updated with more of our day to day happenings. A way of staying in touch, if you will. But I'm not sure many of them actually drop in very often...or if they do, I am not aware of it. By then, the blog had become my external hard drive. When we wanted to revisit an event or be reminded of when we did what...we could almost always find a reference to it on the blog. I even stored some of my most often visited recipes here.
And then the subtle criticisms began. Once when I posted about a book I had read, someone anonymously commented that they wished I would quit talking about books and go take a walk instead. Nothing was ever said harshly, but I felt like I was letting people down.
After the subtle criticisms came an even scarier prospect, expectations. Those who love and support me in so many, many ways began making comments like I should write a book...or a Bible study...or how they loved my travelogue stories even though they were there for the travels. And I began to shrink away. My words became sparse. I felt my voice growing squeaky as though my throat were clinched tight from the fear of disappointing.
...Fast forward to October...
Several things are converging at once in my life right now.
First of all, a few friends and I are completing the Kelly Minter Bible study, Ruth. This has been a deeply moving study for me...especially as we dive into this last section on Legacy.
Second, there are several blogs that I follow that are participating in the 31 Days Series. If you are not familiar with it, in the month of October some bloggers choose to write for 31 days on a single topic. Michelle DeRusha (formerly of Graceful) has been writing on the subject 'Authentic You'. In a post a few days ago she talked about when she found herself mimicking Ann Voskamp's 'voice' and failing miserably. She spoke about her struggle to realize that just as there is only one Ann...there is also only one Michelle. (And I, for one, am grateful for both of them.)
Another blogger that I follow is Emily P. Freeman. (I found out the hard way the other day on Amazon that I must include the P. in order to find her!) In her "31 Days of Living Art", she wrote a post entitled 'This Is Your Courage, Fully Released'. In that post was a sentence that took me back a bit and helped me to see my 'quietness' for what it really was...fear.
"Was I me? Did I offer my genuine self into the presence of others as myself? Or did I show up as an imposter?"
So what if someone doesn't want to read what I think about a book? That person, anonymous or not, doesn't have to keep reading. They can come back in a few days to find pictures from that walk around the 17 acres...or not. So what if I never write a book, or a Bible study? Those friends who love and encourage me will still be there loving and encouraging me in whatever I do.
And the topper...this quote from Lysa Terkwerst over at (in)courage today.
"Not everyone will be published but having your thoughts, life lessons, and creative stories captured in a place outside your mind is good. I would treasure one page of wisdom written by my great-grandmother. But all her words died with her. And that makes me sad."
If I want to leave a legacy for my very own family...I need to just be me. I wish I had blog pages from my grandparents and great-grandparents to return to and to be reminded of where I came from. I would cherish a book, a page, a paragraph...even a sentence of heartfelt sentiment from my grandmothers today. So, why am I so hesitant to leave my own?
If you made it this far, thanks for reading! I'm pretty sure either you love me dearly...or you deserve the medal of honor...maybe both. I would appreciate your prayers for me as I 'find my voice' again and gather the courage to use it.