Here it is again. The common conundrum. This frequent frustration. The mental and spiritual battle I am losing by pushing away and procrastinating writing, journaling, or soul-searching in general. So I’m left with this persistent problem of too much to write about and too many excuses to not even try. My notes are filled with snippets and rough drafts of poetry I’m not proud of, introductions that aren’t interesting enough, and stories I couldn’t finish. I’m trying very hard to make sure this doesn’t become one of them.
I’ve written before about how much of my own personal spiritual warfare is tied up in how much I write. Writing and art are my outlets. The well-trodden paths I take to get out of my head. The lenses I look at the world through. My conversations with God. My processing of emotions. My self-improvement. My repentance. My resolutions. When I try to do those things in my head I get overwhelmed and lost in the unpredictable environments of my thoughts and feelings. When I fail to do those things at all I feel like I’ve lost agency, connection with God, motivation, and any sense of my purpose in my world. So naturally, that is where Satan strikes first.
Now, I understand that it could be my own mental barrier that I’ve made writing such a cornerstone of my emotional and spiritual health. There are other ways to talk to God obviously, other ways to process life. It’s a challenge every day to find and identify those ways. But writing is a gateway for me, or maybe a bridge - between my mind and the rest of the world. A foundation that I often begin to build better habits, thoughts, and intentions upon. Without it those things all fall down.
So where am I going with this? (I ask myself quite often)... Right now it is an accomplishment and a milestone that I am writing this at all. The recent, steep decline in my motivation and ability to write and journal only demonstrates the scary mental place I feel I’ve been in for awhile. But I’ve said this all before. This blog is my own motivator to write and to write well. But it is also a site I want my readers to get something out of. So I put pressure on myself to write poetry that makes sense, to compile a post that has a message. But while those things are good standards, they subsequently become my own reasons to stop writing, thereby steepening my own downward spiral.
You may be thinking I should just journal privately then, instead of bothering with this “public journal” - which makes sense in theory. It makes sense practically - why not just process my thoughts where no one else reads them so there’s no pressure to be poetic or make sense at all? I know at a certain level that God knows my anxious thoughts without me ever writing them down, but unfortunately the mind is not a very practical or rational place. I do journal; I try. But I find that I struggle with the same standard of perfectionism regardless of what I’m writing for. It is something I’m working on.
Notice how I managed to ramble on for two more paragraphs without answering where I’m going with all of this? Well I’ve completed a semi-coherent narrative about my struggles with writing and its effect on my mental and real life… I think? And so far I’ve succeeded in not bleeding into the rest of the deluge of emotions and life happenings I’ve wanted to write a blog post about. Remember those snippets and rough drafts I mentioned earlier? Maybe I’ll get to them someday.
As has been a common theme for awhile (and probably always will be), I have been trying to process and come to terms with the big and small changes in my life. I lost a very close friendship I had for a few years which still feels very recent. I’m making new friends, a best friend, younger friends, and I’m grappling with what role I can allow friendships to play in my life and also what it means to be moving forward while still attached to the places I grew up in. I’m pondering what you do when old places and old friends don’t feel like home anymore. I am questioning if less ultimate frisbee in my life is because of a shift in my priorities or simply because of the loss of interest in activities I once enjoyed that comes with a depressive episode. I am wondering when I will look at all that has changed and stop wishing I could go back. I am reminding myself to bring God back into every area of my life I’ve pushed him out of, and that only through His presence in my struggles can these many questions begin to have answers.
Every single one of these musings and more deserve thought, prayer, and probably an entire blog post. For a while now I have been repressing any intentionality and self-reflection, drifting day by day without motivation and despairing at my own inability to make meaningful differences in the world on my own. So I am challenging myself to confront these struggles, and to lay them at the feet of Christ, myself alongside them. So this brings me back to writing and art. They are where I start sorting through my chaotic thoughts and learning lessons, making changes, and pruning habits.
This post is one tiny step in the right direction, but any progress feels like a breakthrough right now. If you’ve read this far, thank you. I post pieces of writing that I am proud of, but I still wonder what makes people read them sometimes, if anything does at all. I would love to hear any feedback, and maybe suggestions about which of my life happenings I should write about first. Every viewer on this site brings me a little bit of pride, affirmation, and motivation to continue, so I will end this with a challenge for you.
Every person is facing their own spiritual battles as Satan targets our unique weaknesses to best debilitate us from making meaningful differences in our own lives and the lives of others. Whatever those weaknesses are, find them. And whatever habit or prayer or process the devil has been steering you away from to make you more complacent, return to it. Spiritual warfare is very real and active every day. The devil’s most effective work is done in the small and mundane, little imperceptible steps until we realize just how far away we are from where we should be. Sometimes all it takes is one small reminder, one small push to re-orient ourselves.