I write a lot, but I don’t show it a lot. Why? Because I am afraid. What am I afraid of? Other people. Not even actual people at this point, just what I think other people are thinking. It is ridiculous, but true.
One of my greatest strengths is empathy. It is very strong. All of my personality and strength profiles point to an extreme empathetic personality. It is wonderful…and exhausting. I have only recently begun to see how exhausting. Especially when it is someone I have a relationship with. I can put myself in their shoes so easily that I forget I am wearing my own shoes. I can be really upset with someone, but in the blink of an eye, I put myself in their shoes and I can see their point and I talk myself out of saying what I think.
I seem to be able to see all points of view.
Which makes me lose my own point of view.
So, I get up early and I write my point of view to God. I get up before anyone else is awake so they can’t influence my point of view. I have peace in these early morning hours. He doesn’t judge me. He is big enough to hear my curiosity. He is big enough to handle my questions. He knows I am a man trying to seek his kingdom first. The words usually start with “Good Morning Father…”. He is my safe place, a place I am free. Free from all the expectations of others, free from what I think people want me to be. I have years of entries, all locked in journals and evernote.
The thing is, I think there is something to say. Something that could change the world…or at least change someones world. In Donald Millers Book, Scary Close, he asks, “What if part of God’s message to the world was you? The true and real you?”. And what if I never said what he has put on my heart? What if I held it in and made decisions for my life based on what others thought? It would literally be a waste of a life because all of the thoughts of others have already been thought.
Fear is exhausting and debilitating.
Fear eliminates actual creative work. Fear keeps us safe, that is it’s only purpose. I am trying to fight that fear. I want to write publicly this year, but if I just said to myself, “My goal for 2016 is to put more writing out.” I probably would just keep doing what I have been doing. Then a few months would have gone by and I would get discouraged for not putting more out publicly. Goals need a plan. You can;t just wish them into being. So, my goal for 2016 is write 192 articles. Why a 192 you ask? I started with wanting to write 200 articles this year, I am not sure where 200 came from, it just seemed like a nice number. So, then I started breaking that number down into smaller numbers that could be accomplished each week and month. I figured I could do 4 entries per week based on what I have already been writing on a regular basis over the last few years. 4 entries per week times 4 weeks in a month times 12 months in a year = 192. A plan to reach my goal.
I will most definitely mess this up. Getting it perfect isn’t the point. Usually when you start down a path you take some twists and turns you didn’t know were coming anyways. But you know what they say, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it everytime.”
I’ll end with an excerpt from Ralph Waldo Emerson essay called Self-Reliance. I paraphrased this a bit and refer to it often:
“To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius. Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost…Familiar as the voice of the mind is to each, the highest merit we ascribe to Moses, Plato, and Milton is, that they set at naught books and traditions, and spoke not what men thought, but what they thought. A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, because it is more than just regurgitating what he has heard before… Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his.
In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. When to-morrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another.”