I grasped something beautiful the other day. But I lost it.
It had been one of those maddeningly-long days, full of never-screaming-but-also-never-ceasing frustrations, where you clench your eyes and your sanity just to keep from losing it all. Tensed, tired, and dusty, my only thoughts were water for my throat and shower, but on the way there I picked up my tablet. As the water whooshed and steam filled the air, I absent-mindedly turned on my music, hoping perhaps the notes could wash away the heaviness soap and water couldn’t reach.
Fortunately, the living Water is very skilled at doing just that.
Standing there, alone, open, bare; I was overcome. I worshiped. I was renewed. I rejoiced in Him, in praising His name. I returned to my room cleansed in more ways than one; and sat down to continue working on a post started long before, worship music still playing and working in my soul.
In a moment, overcome by Him, I stopped and wrote one of the deepest, most heartfelt, most vulnerable and overwhelmed bit to Him I have ever known.
“Have you felt it? This longing, overwhelming urge to know Him more, this rushing out of your heart to become closer to Him? You’ve had a taste of His love and want to become drunk on it, to know Him more, to have more of Him, just more of His word, just more of His presence, just more of His awesomeness, in the old sense of the word — that, that only is enough to satisfy and you crave it overwhelmingly.”
But — that’s not it.
The sad part is, that paragraph is not what I wrote. That’s only the gleanings, the faded colors of what I remember, the distant echoes of a powerful prayer. Because somehow, I lost it.
I did have something absolutely wonderful and powerful written up in the heat of worship, words which to me seemed to be echoes of the Psalmist. I wrote it in my “Blog ideas” draft on here, so that I wouldn’t lose it. But, somehow, when I returned to it a few minutes later, it was gone. Perhaps I accidently deleted it, cut it, or some other technical glitch. But whatever happened, I lost it.
Which really saddens me. But I wonder if perhaps it was for the best. Because as writers, as bloggers, sometimes we forget to keep things sacred. To keep things special. To keep things set apart.
We’re so pressed upon, so demanded of, to give value, to write beauty, to make worth. We tell ourselves that we must give our readers great theological truth — every single week. We schedule wisdom, encouragement, and inspiration on a daily basis. And not only do we require such things from ourselves all the time, but it must be different, it must be varied; we can’t just be learning one single thing for a whole month, how boring would that be!
But that’s hard. Because that’s not how we ourselves learn in our daily lives. Truth hardly ever comes in a flash of inspiration, in that bright lightbulb of yore. More often it seems to be a deepening, a slow growth, the darkness of night slowly turning to day. But when we demand newness from ourselves all the times, we turn to ransacking our own growth, spoiling our own sanctuary for goods.
I’ve gone back through old journals, looking for thoughts and prayers to convert into articles. I’ve listened to worship songs to see how I could use them in posts. I’ve watched the little ones around me to find analogies to use. And sometimes all of those can be troves of inspiration.
But when I do that recklessly, I rob them of their real worth. They lose their sacredness.
Because then I begin looking at every action of my brother as something to make a lesson out of, rather than a chance to delight in his contagious laugh, to wrestle around with him on the floor, to smell the scent of baby-hair as he sits on my lap reading a book. Then I start to look at worship songs as lyrics to twist to fit my own thoughts, rather than a place to come before the Holy One, realigning myself with Him. Then I start to write my journal like I know I will come back and use it in a post later, rather than using it to wrestle out my own faith, to document my own growth.
When everything is open to everyone, nothing there is really worth having.
When everything lays on the surface, nothing there is worth mining for.
Because our goal, as writers, as communicators, as inhabitants of this open-and-digital-show-everyone-what-I’m-doing-world, is never to be the best at showing everything. It’s to be the best at showing everyone love. Our job is not to share all our wisdom and thoughts. It’s to share the right wisdom and thoughts for the moment. It’s not to let everyone know how we’ve been grown this week. It’s to be grown by Him each and every week. We are not to build our houses, paint our pictures, serve our employees, or write our stories to be seen of men. We do it to please and be seen by Him.
There are some parts of us which we must keep back. Some things which are not for all the world. Some things which are solely for communion between you and God. Because those are the things that keep us grounded.
And none of this is to say stop sharing those things which are dear to your heart. Share your hard lessons, share your hard truths, share your struggles and victories, for they grow and encourage us! But have you not felt that sometimes in doing so we can distance ourselves from the very things which we ourselves are supposedly learning? There is balance in all things, including sharing intimate knowledge of our walks.
And so I’m glad I lost that paragraph of worship. Would I have liked to be able to go back to it and review the lesson in God’s greatness that He gave me a glimpse of? Sure, but I realize now that sitting available-to-my-blog as it was, it would have been artificially grown, extended to a blog post that was open to everyone. And I think that was perhaps something sacred, something for me to learn for myself and not for every other eye to see.
Because the true holy things are those that are set apart.
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. (Matthew 6:5-6)
How do you as a writer or artist keep back some things for your own personal growth? One way I do so, is by committing to not publish what I write in my journals, to keep that for my memory alone. What are your tips and ideas? Let me know!