It’s not you, it’s me.
That’s what I keep telling my blog. I don’t want it to feel bad.
But the truth is, we need to break up. It’s time for me to move out.
Writing here has felt complicated to me the last couple of years. I don’t have good words to explain that, and maybe you don’t need me to.
I started blogging here in 2008 after 20 years of not writing. I had walked away from pen and paper in order to pursue a big ministry thing I thought was my destiny, and I wanted to be my destiny, which turned out not to be my destiny at all. It’s taken me a good while to sort it, but it seems that when I started again, I put this spiritual cape over my writing shoulders, believing the only way I could be allowed to do so was under the auspices of a “call” of sorts. That the only way to legitimize a writing habit was to dress it in obedient clothes.
The truth is that writing my spiritual process has been good for me, has pushed me to areas I’d not otherwise explored, brought me to new depths in my faith that I’d been unable yet to fathom. It gave me a place to have conversations I wasn’t finding elsewhere, and I needed that. I’m exceedingly grateful for the way many of you have walked that way with me.
But it has also been bad for me, and some of you will understand that without me explaining it. It has kept me in a shallow place, has fooled me into believing something existed within me that may not have, simply because I could write about a difficult biblical text with depth and intensity or see something powerful in a passage others may have missed. It is too easy to measure a writer by the depth of a blog post, thrive on the most raw, trade in the currency of vulnerability without the protections of intimacy.
I set up an internal conflict every time I wrote in any way off the path of explicit spiritual edification. Sometimes, particular external feedback reinforced that. And I’ve found myself in the midst of a dynamic in which the end of spiritual practice was not greater joy in the presence of God, but what might make a compelling piece of writing.
And so it is my writing here has waned. I’ve taken it off-site, which has revitalized me in many, many ways, but has made it difficult to come home at night to A Different Story and its expectations, real or imagined.
I’d love it if you crossed the street with me to my new place, www.LylaWillinghamLindquist.com. I can’t tell you what my writing is going to look like there, or even if I’ll write any more often. I only know that I need a new space to try. One where I can write about God if I feel like it, or about anything else if I feel like it, and in any way that seems to work at the time. Maybe I’ll even use a bad word if it’s called for.
If you’re wondering, I still love Jesus. But in my non-writing life, I talk about other things. I’d like to write about them, too.
Some of you will prefer me the way I am right here. I’m good with that. I have some work in the archives that I’m pretty proud of (and some that, honestly, really sucks). Maybe one day I’ll delete it altogether, but for now I’ll leave it sit and we can grow old here together like Miss Havisham and her wedding cake.
Thanks for your love and encouragement while, like a petulant teenager, I’ve tried to find myself. Join me?
(Note: I am not moving my RSS and email subscriptions, so you will need to resubscribe at the new place if you wish to receive updates. While that might sound like an inconvenience, it’s really for your own good.)
Twenty-twenty hindsight is a wondrous thing.
I’m happy today to announce the launch of Letters to Me: Conversations with a Younger Self, a collaborative project in which nearly twenty authors (yes, including me) from a wide range of backgrounds explore a significant event from young adulthood, then talk to a younger version of ourselves with compassion and wisdom about what happened next, and how it mattered. I think most of the contributors would agree: being able to have a candid conversation with our older selves at what felt like such a critical moment would have been priceless.
This book is perfect for new graduates, college students, young adults making their way into the tenuous world of independence. But even at around two-times-ish the age of the intended audience, I have to tell you I was encouraged by these stories and reminded again that even with all its crazy ups and downs and twists and turns, life has a way of working itself out, albeit unexpectedly. God still knows how to make the most difficult of our stories redemptive.
Letters to Me is available on Amazon in paperback and for your Kindle.
What some folks are saying about this book:
There is something maddeningly compelling about this book. You want to leap into its pages and shake some sense into the characters just like you’re reading a page-turning novel, except that it’s real life and if you could somehow grab them by their shoulders, you would realize you were staring yourself in the face. The talent of these storytellers is revealed in how universal their personal stories are. In their stories you will experience agony and joy, pain and healing, fall and redemption. –Adam S. McHugh, author Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
This is so needed. I’ve often wished I could go back and have a strong talking to with my younger, more idiotic self. These stories are funny, heartfelt, and important. Reading them will make you think and imagine a better life — maybe even give you the courage to live one. —Jeff Goins, author, Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life
One of the most unnerving, unsettling things one can do in life is stare at themselves in the mirror – eye to eye. Letters To Me is the sacred chance to witness person after person pause their present as they stand naked in the mirror, facing everything they’ve been and everything they’ve done. To listen to what they hear in their souls, to see their past as they truly do. Oh, how I wish I’d been given this collection of stories earlier in my life. The entrance into adulthood would have been painted with so much more grace. –Lauren Lankford Dubinsky, founder of Good Women Project
It wasn’t so very long ago I made the awkward discovery I wasn’t the smartest person in the room. It’s something I can be, you know, if I frequent the right rooms. But there are only a few rooms where that works for me.
The rest of the time, I’m not it.
Turns out (luckily enough) that I don’t have to be.
I find myself in a lot of those other rooms lately, just one of the regular occupants, neither being nor needing to be particularly smart. I tend to keep my voice a little lower, have far less to say and what I do say might be muttered under my breath.
I’m liking that, more than one might expect. It relieves a lot of the pressure, and curiously enough minimizes the potential downside of really messing things up.
This week I started reading The Spirituality of Imperfection (Kurtz and Ketcham). Not far in, the authors remind of the nature of error as a simple fact of our days.
Errors, of course, are part of the game. They are part of our truth as human beings. To deny errors is to deny ourself, for to be human is to be imperfect, somehow error-prone. To be human is to ask unanswerable questions, but to persist in asking them, to be broken and ache for wholeness, to hurt and try to find a way to healing through the hurt. To be human is to embody a paradox…
We are not “everything” but neither are we “nothing.” Spirituality is discovered in the space between paradox’s extremes, for there we confront our helplessness and powerlessness, our woundedness. In seeking to understand our limitations, we seek not only an easing of our pain but an understanding of what it means to hurt and what it means to be healed. Spirituality begins with the acceptance that our fractured being, our imperfection, simply is: There is no one to “blame” for our errors–neither ourselves nor anyone nor anything else. Spirituality helps us first to see, and then to understand, and eventually to accept the imperfection that lies at the very core of our human be-ing. Spirituality accepts that “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.”
Here’s to letting someone else be the smartest person in the room. I’ll be in the back row, getting to know my limitations a little better. Maybe you’d like to sit in the next seat over?
Photo: Letter on Edith Wharton’s desk, taken at The Mount, Lenox, Mass.
Sometimes, in the shadows of the early dawn, I turn my world upside down and read the Midday office instead of Morning Lauds.
I know, I know. Makes you wonder how I cope with the ensuing hysteria, right?
Most days, I find a way. Yes, like today. (more…)
Even if you’re cutting back on sweets, here’s a little midweek treat for you. (Or any other day of the week.)
Delicious images, exquisite quotes.
Too good not to share on Facebook, Twitter, your blog or via email.
(You can even link up at Seedlings in Stone and pop this sweet button on your post.)