“When God gave me this gift, he didn’t give it to me in its biggest and brightest form. He gave it to me as a lump of putty with the expectation that I would mould it. How else could it become unique to me?”
“Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade?” ~ Benjamin Franklin.
God gave me a gift. I have a passion for creating stories and bringing them alive on the page. As a child, I didn’t know I had a gift; I simply knew I loved to make up stories. God was an abstract image with wires coming out of his body so I didn’t make a connection between Him and my writing. I just knew I loved to be alone with my words.
Expressing myself on the page as an introverted child was my way of coming alive and showing someone out there I really did have important things to say. It was my way of telling the world, I’m not invisible. I created characters with the strength to speak out, with the wings I didn’t posses.
As life progressed, my need to breathe through the page grew and my journals became my refuge. Writing became a way of creating the world I wanted to live, so I wouldn’t have to inhabit the lonely world I did live in.
Then somewhere along the way I lost my voice. I’m not sure how it happened; one day I was a young girl who loved to write mini-novels, the next I was a teenager obsessed with being thin, dealing with my parents’ divorce and buried under a pile of college text books. I lost sight of myself and questioned whether writing was for me. I think questioning my ability was my way of making myself feel better about giving up the one thing that brought me joy.
I didn’t write for nearly twenty years. The desire to pour out my heart on the page was rooted in me so firmly that I became afraid of it. The more time went by, the more afraid and mad at myself I became. So strong was my passion that I let it grow bigger than me, believing I could never deal with failure if I shared my voice with the world and they were to turn their backs. What then? What if I were to reveal myself through my work, allow people to see the real me, only to be told it was no good? What would be left of me then?
I decided keeping my gift to myself would be better than living with myself as a failure. To have a hidden talent was to my mind far better than having no talent.
I still have that fear of failure every day. But two years ago, I found the courage to start writing again. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this happened just after I became a Christian. God shone a light on that place that needed to be re-birthed; the part of me that revealed who I am. I literally haven’t stopped writing since. And He has taught me several important lessons over the last two years:
– I may fail
– Some people aren’t going to like my voice.
– I will experience rejection.
– That’s okay.
When God gave me this gift, he didn’t give it to me in its biggest and brightest form. He gave it to me as a lump of putty with the expectation that I would mould it. How else could it become unique to me? And because it is my gift from God, I know it can be bigger and more beautiful than I have ever imagined.
It is in the journey of moulding my putty that I am discovering what my voice needs to say, how it needs to say it and why it even needs saying it all. In moulding my putty, I am discovering my place as a woman and how God wants me to share my gift with others.
Perhaps the most important question I need to ask myself along my journey is this: What is failure and what is success? Is success seeing my novel in the front window of Chapters? Or is success discovering my life’s purpose and helping others grow through breathing the page?
For now I know this: There are many writers in this world. But only one writer has my voice.
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, “I used everything you gave me.” ~ Erma Bombeck.
Photo credit: andymangold