I stillI still can’t describe the feeling I got and for someone who fancies themself a writer, that’s saying something…
Just another afternoon scrolling through my emails. Lots of junk, a little work, a couple new recipes, a few sales pitches and some follow-up emails from lists I subscribe to. I don’t always click on those touch-base emails from influencers I follow. But today for some unknown reason I did! Well, not unknown. It was definitely a God thing. I was compelled to take the time to read this one. Nothing particular in the subject line stood out. I just wanted to see what my favorite author had to share this week. Something about her newest novel no doubt. One I would be sure to get as soon as it hits the bookstore. But this email was so much more.
The intro was in fact, as I had assumed all about her upcoming book launching at the end of this month. But there at the bottom - there was something more. Something about a writing course. It piqued my interest. She had taught a class a couple years ago and I am still kicking myself for not taking it. I had hoped she was offering another chance. But it was more - so much more!
As the page loaded, my eyes scanned the words and I read through it faster than I had known I was able. In seconds I had consumed every word. I read it again and found I had a difficult time seeing. My eyes were blurred with tears. Why? Well that is what I am trying to explain. I can’t describe the feeling that washed over me and flooded my soul, but I am going to try.
The webpage shared all the details of a 3 day writing intensive with my favorite author. At this midweek retreat she would teach a series of sessions on how to be a better writer, how to get published and not only that - she was looking for someone to mentor. Her publisher stated and I quote “find the diamond”. They wanted the next Karen Kingsbury to be at this workshop.
Now let me backup and explain to you that every wish on every star, every coin intentionally tossed into a fountain held my deepest most unrealistic wish - that I would be a real writer and more specifically, “that I would be the next Karen Kingsbury”. I had this recurring daydream that Karen would one day stumble across my blog in the vast world of the web - but yes, miraculously, she would see it and read my work, see my potential, reach out to me, mentor me and set me on that path to being a successful, published author of life-changing fiction, just like her. (But without the run on sentences...)
You see Karen writes books the world needs. Her characters have real world situations and challenges. These characters have real faith, a relationship with God. They pray, they hear whispers in their hearts, they use scriptures to help them cope with whatever they are facing, they teach us - through story - how to walk out our faith in real everyday life. I can’t think of anything more important than that.
As my tears formed hot streams on my cheeks I chided myself for getting so emotional and began questioning myself (because I am a notorious overthinker).
Why was I leaking?
I wasn’t crying. There were no sobs or snot bubbles forming around my nose. My face wasn’t red or hot. The tears, now dripping from my chin, were beyond my control. They just came out - I was leaking emotions everywhere. This was unfamiliar and out of character for me. I am a practical, overthinking, problem solver. And since I couldn’t turn off the tears - this was now a problem to solve.
What are you feeling?
I didn’t know the answer. This was my dream right in front of me. This was more than a writing course. This was a real life opportunity to seek out my dream. I was overcome with excitement in a way I never had been before. It felt like this was for me, a gift straight from God. Like He saw me and heard me and winked right at me. I was filled with Joy. This was everything I wished for. Or as close as I could realistically hope for. I mean Karen didn’t find my blog on the internet. But this - this was a chance to meet and learn from my favorite author. One who is doing the actual work I only dare to dream of. This was my chance!
“But you’re not really good enough”. Archie whispered in my left ear. He always sits just behind me on the left, about 6 inches away. I felt the tangible pang of fear grip my heart.
“You should have listened.” Archie chimed in again. “When God told you to make time to write more and you didn’t commit… you’re out of practice, not seasoned enough. You should have listened.” I felt the hot emotion of shame wash over me.
And as I scrolled down to the price he added, “Seriously! You would blow that kind of money on a pipe dream?! You never follow through. You would really even consider wasting that much money on yourself?” I felt the chill and nausea of selfishness.
Archie is the name I gave that inner-struggle voice. You know the one. Like, if this were a cartoon he would be the devil on your left shoulder, a red guy with a pointy tail and pitchfork who is always trying to get you in trouble. But when you are older he is a little more real. He is the voice echoing in your head that you are not enough. He is the enemy. My arch enemy, in fact. That is why I call this voice Archie. And when I started doing that - he lost some influence over me. And he loses more and more all the time.
Archie isn’t a good name for a super-villian. It is a good name for an ice-cream man or High school janitor. And so when I take a few deep breaths and picture Archie as a goofy looking guy in a 1950’s ice-cream uniform he loses his fear factor.
You see the thing about Archie is that he never tells the obvious lie. He is always just left of the truth. Right there next to it. So what he is saying can seem true. It can even be partly true. That is why it is so easy to believe him. But once you can identify his voice, you can be sure that it is NOT true. I forgot that for a minute.
And then, I knew the answer to my problem - sort of. There wasn't one word for it. There wasn’t an adjective to describe what I was feeling because I was feeling everything. So much goodness, like God had given me a gift. So much fear, like I wasn’t good enough to receive it. So much excitement that this was even a real thing - an opportunity. So much shame for not committing to writing everyday (see there was the piece of truth that Archie snagged me with). I was feeling real, genuine overwhelm. And that was a good thing, I decided. Because someone who can feel all the feelings and overthink the details and emotions of reading an email - that is someone who was born to be a writer.
That’s the lesson here, the take away I want to leave you with. Did you catch it?
It is true that we all have an “Archie”. That negative voice in our heads that makes us second guess choices, the one that points out our flaws, reminds us of our failures, manipulates the truth in our lives. You are not alone. Really - it happens to all of us. But once you realize that it is just a lie from your enemy - you can decide not to believe it! Better yet you can use it to motivate you. If that voice is trying so hard to get you to stop - then you know you better go. If that voice is yelling loudly to close the door, then you know it is time to run through it. If that voice tells you now is not your time, then you can be sure it is.
Archie only works hard and talks loudly when he is trying to stop you from becoming all God created you to be and pursue the plans and purpose He has for you. So you can decide for yourself that you are not going to believe those negative half truths or bold faced lies. Instead use it as confirmation because God blesses obedience. Follow the good things He has laid out for you. Have faith that He wants good things for you. Take a step, take a leap and just believe.