Morning Revelation

Today something very strange happened:  I woke up at 5:30 in the morning.

I am not a morning person.  In fact, I generally loathe mornings and communicate mostly via snarl any time prior to about 9 AM.  This grouchy state of being is only accentuated if I don’t have easy access to coffee (and having to make it myself does not count as “easy access” prior to 9 am).

But today was different.  At six, when it became apparent that I would not be falling back to sleep, I crept out of the bedroom and down the stairs as silently as the hardwood would allow.  Kitchen lights – on!  Coffee pot – on!  Dishwasher – loaded!  Looking at the clock, I realized that it was barely 6:30 but most of my morning routine (usually accomplished while staggering and grumbling) had been accomplished – and on top of that, I was feeling positively chipper!   So, I fixed a cup of coffee, grabbed a mechanical pencil and a study of Revelation (for a youth Bible study coming up later this month), put my feet up and started to read.

What a morning!   As it turns out, I read very well in those hours I’ve rarely spent awake.  Writing will likely always be an afternoon and evening ritual, but there is something about the quiet and the stillness of our house in the morning that lends itself to engaged, contemplative reading.  I fear that I may have to suck it up and become a morning reader…

Writing vs. Worry – #Reverb10


THE PROMPT: December 2 – Writing.

What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
(Author: Leo Babauta)



When I first read this prompt, I thought that it was asking me to think about what keeps me from writing each day.  Consequently, I started to contemplate the rabbit hole that is facebook and the way I get sucked in to Twitter for longer than is probably advisable…  But as I look at the prompt again, I realize that it is asking something very different:  what do I do that does not CONTRIBUTE to my writing?  That’s a different can of worms entirely.

Social media doesn’t make this list, because the community of faithful rogues that has begun to gel there (especially on Twitter) really informs my writing.  Beyond that, the information sharing that takes place via social media helps me to discover articles, news stories, schools of thought and images that I would likely never find on my own – all of this contributes greatly to the things and the ways that I write.

So, back to the question:  what do I do each day that does NOT contribute to my writing?

Above all else, the most detrimental habit to my writing is worry.  When I worry, it’s as though my hands get tied behind my back and my brain begins an endless loop of what ifs.  In that state, even if I could convince myself to sit down and get some words out, it would all be incomprehensible gobblety-guk.  Worry makes “can’t” my modus operandi.

Yet, I worry a lot (about a lot of things).  I worry about money:  can we pay the bills, can we pay off the student loans, will we ever be able to buy a house, will we have anything to live on in retirement, will we even be able to retire?  I worry about our government:  will they do what is just, do they care about the people, are their motives pure and good, will power corrupt the ones with good intentions?  I worry about the world:  will things get even worse for the poor, will we continue to be at war with one another, will the earth eventually reject us as a species for being such lousy tenants?  I worry about the Church:  will we ever learn how to love each other, will church folks stop using the Bible as a weapon, can we be a conduit of hope in a broken world?

The more anxious I become, the more every answer to these questions seems to be negative (which ignites a new batch of anxiety).  As I worry more, writing becomes next to impossible – and since writing is my primary prayer path, I also pray less.

Basically, worry is my kryptonite.

But can I eliminate worry?  Is a worry-free life possible for me?  I’m not sure, but I suspect the answer lies within a particular part of my personality that has really come into play recently: I’m a “true believer”.  At my core, I truly believe that we can learn to love each other, that there are good-intentioned people out there who don’t let power get the best of them, that the people of the Way who call ourselves “Church” can channel God’s hope and wholeness out into the world.  I’m an idealist (despite my attempts to pretend otherwise).  Worry is such a problem for me because it is the flip side of this optimistic idealism.

Taking this duality into account, I don’t think that I can ever truly eradicate worry from my life.  It will always be a part of me that roars into life at inopportune moments.  But, knowing that it is a slice of my own personal “dark side” is at least a step in the right direction.  As GI Joe used to say: Knowing is half the battle!

Failure & Fear…

A few months ago I set what I thought was a reasonable, attainable goal.  I wanted to blog at least once a week, every week.

As it turns out, I haven’t been very good at that.  In fact, I’ve failed outright.  My last post was at the end of April – four months ago!  If it’s possible to have an epic blog fail, this is probably one of them.

So, what happened?

It’s definitely not that I haven’t had things to say.  I’ve had several “blog worthy” ideas fermenting in my head, as well as numerous encounters/experiences that have helped me to see or experience the Divine in new ways.  I’ve seen Jesus walking around all over the place, so there’s been plenty to write about!

I could easily explain this away with the phrase: “I’ve been busy.”  But that’s a cop out.  While I have indeed had a full plate – camps and mission trips and retreats and meetings and vacations and planning sessions – I’ve still had plenty of time that I could have used to write.  And I squandered it…or ignored it.  Whichever it was, in the end it is all the same:  I didn’t get it done.

Some friends would hasten to my defense, but this isn’t about beating myself up.  Rather, it reflects some serious soul-searching that has taken place amidst the no-blog-writing and full-plate-having of the last four months.  In past years I’ve noticed some things about myself, and this blogging thing (or not-blogging thing, as it were) is really just an example of a larger pattern.

What’s really going on is this:  I’m afraid.

I am afraid of what I want most:  being a “real” writer.  I fear I don’t have the chops for it, don’t have anything worthwhile to say, don’t have the discipline or mettle to do the hard work required to get it done.  And, counter-intuitive though it may be, having two books published this year is what really brought these fears up out of the depths of my self.  There was definitely a swelling of joy when the Oh God! book came out, but that initial joy was quickly replaced by panic as speaking requests started to trickle in.

In that wave of panic, I just… stopped.

But my whole self is tired of this self-imposed holding pattern.  Simpler though it may be to avoid my fears, even my body seems to know that I’m not the best Lara I can be if I’m not reading and researching and writing.

So, this is me ripping off the bandaid.  In the weeks to come, I think I’ll be writing about “biblical origami” and some musings on the imago dei.  They are the two topics I’ve been thinking about the most as of late, though I’m certain other things will come up as well.  What I’m really hoping for is some accountability as I try to learn some discipline.  If you haven’t “heard” from me in a few days or weeks, shoot an email my direction and remind me that I need to write.

Because I do.