On Wednesday I wrote a blog post that I regret. (If you didn't read it don't bother looking for it, I removed it.) On Thursday I wanted to delete my blog and silently slip away, never to have my words read again. Like shards of glass, sharp and scattered, I knew I could never call the words back. Friday I woke up to Mercy, a song over me, grace extended in my direction even though I hadn't offered the same. Sweet relief.
The week before I posted about not being enough. Then I posted about a right expectation of other's and their inability to be enough to satisfy us. I then promptly forgot everything I learned and gave way to the self-righteous urge to sloppily express hot feelings.
Thankfully Jesus doesn't deal with me in the same manner I deal with others.
Interestingly, Wednesday morning, my father-in-law and I had a conversation about learning from the mistakes of others and our own mistakes. And still I blazed ahead giving vent to feelings I had not allowed Jesus to temper properly. What could have been an opportunity to give voice to truth was lost because truth and humility cannot be separated, and I would have none of that.
Graciously some friends emulated Paul in my life, "But when Peter came to Antioch, I (Paul) had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong." Their gentle push back, a reminder to embrace grace, stung. Their words also forced me to Jesus in prayer. Through it I gained more clarity about the concerns I had so clumsily expressed but more importantly I regained a right perspective of who I am in Jesus.
I had not been abiding in him. Disconnected from Jesus' heart, that great source of love, my words had turned brassy and ugly. A painful reminder that abiding is essential. Apart from him I am nothing, my words mean nothing.
John 15:3-5 "Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing."
As a writer, to have an audience is a privilege, words are a trust. When my words resonate with you I'm thankful. But when they don't I'm thankful for friends who are willing to say so. I have people in my daily life I'm accountable to. I've given them the right to challenge me. I want to do the same here. I welcome accountability from you the reader to remind me to abide in Jesus, to use words according to his purpose.
There are times for a writer to call out a bold challenge, times for quiet tones of beauty, and then there are times to sit in quiet humility, hand over mouth. Sometimes it's a challenge to know which is which.
I know that I will at times meet with disagreement or criticism, that's an inevitable part of putting yourself out there as a writer. Pleasing people can't and shouldn't be my goal. But a healthy part of the writing process is taking challenges from trusted sources to heart, allowing them to sift motive and intent.
I will write with a limp for weeks, months, maybe even years. Which I think is a valuable gift. A costly gift, guarding words as they flow from my fingers and into your heart. Reminding me I'm susceptible to pride and foolishness, reminding me to abide in Jesus.
Thank you for reading, for being gracious and patient, and for second chances.