I read a post written for people like me,
Searching to understand,
"Where am I supposed to take this?".
It was written by Christa Wells,
An incredible singer-songwriter
Whose music I found through my favorite artist's website.
The post was entitled "To the young writer . . .",
And that's exactly what it was,
Advice to the young songwriter,
Advice that helped me to see that I do have something to contribute,
Something unique to me that no one else could offer,
And even if no one recognizes my efforts,
Even if no one likes my music,
I can still write and sing to the only One whose opinion really matters.
There was one bit of advice that required a little action on my part,
Advice someone else had given the writer when she was younger:
"If you're not sure this is what you're meant to do, try NOT doing it. See if you can."
I was riding with some friends after an evening church service and we were talking,
They were asking about some of my future plans,
I included that challenge in them -
To not write,
To see if I was capable of not writing.
After all, I'd been perfectly capable before,
Would I be now?
I said, though, that I wasn't going to do it yet.
I was working on a song based on a sermon series going on at the church we'd just left,
A series about the life of Joseph.
I wanted to tell his story the way I tell so many of my own -
One of the friends I was with said something I hadn't even considered,
That this, in itself, was my answer.
Still, I wanted to take the challenge,
To try to stop,
Really try to stop.
I finished the song several weeks later,
Decided to start,
Start trying to stop,
Trying to see if this is what I was meant to do.
The funny thing about trying to stop is it makes me want to write more.
Still, I managed to not write . . .
For a day, almost two.
Then, of course, someone said something
And the gears in my head started turning,
Twisting together phrases,
I couldn't do it.
I couldn't stop.
Still, something in me wondered,
"What if I'd tried harder?
Could I have done it if I'd just tried harder?"
I was sitting at a table,
"Finishing" the song I was working on,
("Finishing" because I don't think any of them are ever really finished.)
When a friend came up to me,
The same one who had been in the car when I told of my intentions to stop,
The same one who had said I already had my answer.
He spoke of the song just played,
Said I could write lyrics as good as those.
I took it as a major compliment,
Though I didn't think it was the best song I'd ever heard
Or that the song of mine I had shown him was the best I'd ever written.
I told him that, at that very moment, I was failing,
Failing to not write,
Unable to stop.
He offered a few more words of encouragement,
But then had to leave,
To get back to the ever-waiting pile of work.
The rest of that week, someone encouraged me in my writing,
In my music,
It was incredible.
My friends often encourage me,
But it's more like once a month,
Once every other week at most.
I never get encouraged every single day.
After all that happened,
It seemed like God was trying to use the experience to tell me something,
Use the inability to stop and the consistent encouragement to say, "No.
No, you couldn't have stopped if you'd tried harder.
You couldn't have stopped because I made you this way,
I made you to write.
I don't want you to stop writing,
I want you to keep writing,
To use the gift I've given you.
Nothing that happened that week answered all of my questions.
I still don't know where He wants me to take this,
How far He wants me to go . . .
Or try to go.
There is one thing I learned, though.
I'm not supposed to stop.
I'm supposed to keep writing.
Music is a part of me,
A part of who I am.
I can't stop writing any more than I could cut out a piece of my heart.
It's the way I was made.
This post is the fifth in a multi-part series. The other posts can be read via the links below.
Part 1 - #150
Part 2 - When I Was Little . . .
Part 3 - Favorite Artists and Favorite Instruments
Part 4 - . . . And Then it Happened
Part 5 - The Way I Was Made
Part 6 - Faithful from Beginning to End