words are hard.

Well, gosh.

It’s been a minute guys. It’s hard to explain why I haven’t posted in a bit.

It’s partially because life is full of things that take the time. It’s partially because many of my thoughts are getting dumped on Instagram these days. (Check out @inprocesscollective to stay up to date).

If I’m honest, it’s maybe mostly because there are new obstacles to writing words on this platform. I start posts often, but they remain unpublished. Putting words out into the world is a risky business. Minds change and grow and words you once wrote become obsolete.

I’ve done a lot of things wrong in life.  I notice more things every day that I look back on my years and words gone by and wish I could take them back.  I’ve contributed to systems and cultures that have confused others; I’ve caused pain with the best of intentions.

What that means now – is that I am a little more wary of writing my words on a page.  What will I learn in the coming months and years that will turn these passionate paragraphs into things I will one day regret writing?

I read this morning in Mark about the moment when Peter emphatically assures Jesus that he will never deny him.  Even if everyone else falls away he will stand by.  And the other disciples scramble to agree – “never.” Of course, we know how that ends.

But what struck me today, was that just a few verse earlier, when Jesus breaks the news to the group that one of them will betray him they are sorrowful and they each ask “Is it I?”  

Isn’t it in all of us – both of these two instincts, born out of the same deep sense of our own limited humanity? We sit around the table as our friends talk about something terrible someone did and we feel it. Sometimes it bubbles up in righteous outrage – “how could they do that?” “we will never do that.”  (Whatever ‘that’ is.  Maybe it’s stealing, murder, adultery or maybe it’s judging, pride, oppression, but we all have a ‘that’ ).

And other times, as they talk, we we feel very differently. We feel the deep ‘Is it I?” rising up in our hearts.  We defend the person being discussed at the table, not out of love for them, but out of a fear that in some other room, the person up for discussion is us.

I’m surprised that these two experiences are back to back for the disciples when in my life they often feel so many years apart. I have so many things I’ve been so confident about, only to wake and find out that I was in fact a part of the problem I swore I would never participate in. And there are other moments, moments I doubted my own resilience, moments I recorded my inability before it even occurred – only to wake and find that emphatically – I actually am able to walk with God when everyone else falls away. I am able to survive more than I thought I could.

I’m not sure how all this ties together except to say – if there is any gift time and maturity gives us it’s the humble awareness of how very wrong we can be. How confidently and faithfully we can speak or participate in the very thing that we will one day devote our lives to demolishing.

And knowing that makes it hard to share words.  Especially the written kind. 

I don’t know the solution, except to tell you in all humility – I’m a work in progress.  And these days the only thing I’m really sure of is steadfast love of the Lord.  Hold onto that people.  And you will find your way.  

3 thoughts on “words are hard.

  1. Very well said. I understand this thought process. I’ve deleted several old blog posts, and the idea of publishing a book scares me for this very reason. We are all works in progress, and humble awareness of our limited understanding is probably a good thing!

  2. This reminded me of Emily of New Moon, when she learned that Aunt Elizabeth wasn’t an ogre after all and went back to revise her letters to her father to reflect that.

    Words can hurt, but they can also strengthen and hearten and bring rest. Please don’t let fear stifle your words. (By all means, being still before the Lord is great. And being silent because He is awesome and we are not – yes.) I appreciate your words. I think, with trepidation, that words will do more damage than we feared, and also more great good than we dreamed — but we won’t know until long after which words would do it: nor if it would be the serious ones or the well-thought ones or the joking ones or the questioning ones.

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