Once Upon A Book

21 Feb

Eight years ago I was participating in a required fasting retreat. (It’s bizarre to think I ever did that.) Even though I had to break it early and eat crackers, It was Valentine’s Day and it snowed, so it felt like a sign.

I was inspired to write a book.

It was called More Than Enough- Finding Completion at the Feet of Jesus.

Then I spent two and a half years living on a bus, and a lot of things changed, including the name of my book. It became Finger Paintings and Truckee Sunrises- The Beautiful, Messy Adventure Of a Surrendered Life.

My awesome 2005 graphic design skillz

I’d sit in the front on the steps of the bus, looking out the glass doors at the road going by, my trusty old beast of a Dell on my lap, type-type-typing away.

I thought it was awesome. It wasn’t.

I read it now, and my first reaction is, “Dear Lord, I was a weirdo. And I have the spelling of a fourth grader.”

I was a little legalistic, I guess. A little naive. A little intense. But I appreciate my passion.

I went to Writing School in 2007 bound and determined to be the next Donald Miller– only female.

But life would happen as life happens, I got busy backpacking in China and Central America, and I never pursued publishing it. Instead I self-published a collection of poetry, originally to raise money to go live in Kyrgyzstan.

Now, I am so glad I didn’t publish Finger Paintings or move to Kyrgyzstan.

Honestly, my beliefs changed over the next few years about things that would have been “written in stone” had I attempted to get it out for the masses to read.

Who knows, maybe all young writers have that issues as they leave their early twenties and began to figure out what they believe and who they are…

Maybe all people do.

I mean, written words they stick around. Does that scare anyone else?

The sheer power in publishing… You can’t go back and re-edit or recant what you said.

(Which is why I am reading this post over for the tenth time even though I am tired and probably going to miss several typos I never see until I after I press publish. I apologize in advance.)

I am not saying I hate everything I wrote before.

I know we all grow as we learn our voice and what we want to put words to.

I am not saying I need to have everything in order before I publish, obviously you can tell by this blog I am not a perfectionist.

However, I don’t really feel like the same person I was. Not that I didn’t like her, but I like me better.

I guess the thing that mostly annoys me about that nineteen-year-old zealot self, is that while some words were genuine, many were just regurgitated rhetoric that she was taught…

And I realize, I’d rather write worthless garbage and have it be true, then be on a best-seller by faking it.

When I say true, I don’t mean non-fiction. I am actually writing a fiction book, and realizing that fiction can be truer than non-fiction, in a sense that every good story should portray universal truth.

What I mean is, if it’s not truly me, I don’t want to put it out there.

It’s like what my friend and co-author of The Wizard of God always reminds me, “You don’t need to make anything up. You’ve lived this. Write what you know.”

So that’s my new purpose in writing. Be honest. Write what I know.

Write like it’s what is going to be inscribed on my tombstone.

Write like I have one chance to tell the world what matters.

Write like It’s the only thing I’ll do that’s ever going to mean anything.

Write like I am not afraid anymore.

Because the truth inevitably sets people free, including the person writing it.

Now I am going to share a blip from that old manuscript of Finger Paintings.

This is honest. It still is something I believe, something I actually need to remember…

Maybe I should stop being so self-conscious and start being God conscious.  I look at my flaws and insecurities and fears and imperfection and then I try to find a remedy to fix myself. I got to a point a few months ago where I was so overwhelmed by the mess that was my insides.

Sometimes I feel like a finger painting: mismatched colors, random shapes, and scribbles. Others see it and don’t quite know what to make of it. They squint, trying to categorize it, trying to decipher the unknown language.

My heart is a lot like that. Vibrant. Messy. Colorful. All over the place.

Like a proud parent, God looks at this mess and calls it a masterpiece. He seems the abstract emotion. He sees the purpose behind each abnormally shaped line, each hue. He sees the picture hidden among the scribbles. He puts it on His fridge and calls it beautiful.

I got to the point I couldn’t take myself anymore. I was in Truckee, California at the time, a small scenic town near Tahoe. I was staying at a beautiful cabin with five amazing girls, but I just needed to get away. One morning I got up when it was still dark and braved my way into the frosty mountain air. I made my way up the road and across a field to the edge of a cliff that overlooked a small valley. The sun was just beginning to slowly peek over the mountains in the distance. I sat on a cold bench on the edge of the cliff and watched the fog lift over the towering pines and the sky turn a brilliant shade of pink. It was there in Northern California I decided something for the first time.

I am done trying to figure myself out. 
I am way too complicated.
I will lose all that I am, and throw everything into who He is. 
Because He is more than enough.   

I see the journey I’ve been on and I can’t help but smile.
There will be many more miles and many more words.
Many more attempts at being honest.
Many more cliffs and sunrises.
Many more books.
Thank you, dear blog reader,  for coming on this journey with me.
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