i, nebuchadnezzar

I feel this pressure to write, but I don’t have anything. I’m blank. I know the pressure comes from everybody-else-doing-it, and if everybody else is — Rachel’s friend Jill, newly-married Michelle — well, then, by all means, I ought to be too. After all, I’m the “writer.”
Till now, my blog hadn’t been updated in probably weeks. When I read, all I can see is everyone else’s proficiency in words and sentences, and my total lack thereof. Everything I write sounds the same.
I wish I could break free from my intense desire to compete, and really just write for the sheer joy of it. Then, when I read, I wouldn’t feel so inadequate (or is it that I feel challenged?); I’d just glean the authors’ beautiful harvest of words without feeling like I’m stealing their food. I do find some sense of joy in the writing process, but too often I just bask in the glow of “I wrote something comprehensible. I am a writer.”
But writing isn’t the only thing I macerate in pride. I do it with about everything, I just realized.
I wash the windows and think: “I bet these are the cleanest windows on the street, even if they’re not perfect.” I even said to Kyle yesterday: “I bet hardly anyone washes their windows.” What was I thinking? That I deserved an extra pat on the back for being so above average?
And then I look at my successful pregnancy. I walk through my house and say to my imaginary inquirer: “Actually, I’m feeling great for being eight months pregnant! I never expected to feel so good at this stage.” What a wonderful body I must have to be so suited for carrying and bearing children! Never mind the fact that the notoriously hard part — childbirth — looms somewhere in the future.

“At the end of twelve months [Nebuchadnezzar] walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon.
The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?” -Daniel 4. 29-30
And, well, we all know what happened to him for the next seven years.

Here’s Kathleen Norris, who brought me back to earth (or maybe up from it): “Christians often speak of having a call to a particular form of ministry. But from the earliest churches, it has been brought to our attention that this is mostly a matter of a pedestrian inheritance. When Paul, in his first letter to the members of the church of Corinth, asks them to ‘consider your own call,’ he emphasizes that ‘not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.’ Declaring that it is for this very reason that God chose them, so that ‘no one might boast in the presence of God’ (1 Cor. 1: 26,29), Paul makes it clear that if we take inordinate pride in the spiritual gifts we have been blessed with, the joke is on us” (from Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith).

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    • Luke
    • September 28th, 2006

    Duly Chastised

    • Rachel
    • September 29th, 2006

    You can feel chastised (good word, Luke) or convicted or whatever, and that’s good. In my life, though, it takes a constant pounding, event after event, for my prideful behavior/thoughts/etc. actually to change. Grace and weakness and humility are these things that God teaches me gradually. In the meanwhile, I’m learning to admit that I suck and that God really still loves me and thinks I’m amazing. I should tell you, Carrie, about my latest epiphany sometime.

    Sorry — very fragmented thoughts.

    • Luke
    • September 29th, 2006

    Wow, “suck” is becoming a common place (common-place..commonplace..) verb on this blog. *wink*

    Rachel: I agree 100%.

    Is it just me, or do we begin to reach a place where we appreciate the constant pounding because we begin to understand that that’s how we change?

    I encourage you to share you latest epiphany on here. 🙂

    I love epiphanies.

    Really, I do.

    • M
    • October 3rd, 2006

    And when you feel you are not writing well, when you feel you are inadequate, that, my dear, is when God uses you most.

    This post moved me. This post caused me to look within my own heart. I love the honesty on your blog; I can relate. Your words–the words God gives you–draw people closer to each other and to God over a distance.

    If it’s any consolation from the writing standpoint, I was journaling the other day in my poetry journal, and I was so frustrated with my poems. They just weren’t “good”–meaning they weren’t capturing what I needed them to. So I wrote this–just for fun–and it was fairly freeing:

    I’ve lost my knack for poetry;
    it’s all just cheesy, so you see.
    No form a poety would deem good,
    but I guess these poems serve the
    purpose they should.
    It clears me out and helps me see
    just what is all inside of me.
    Ebullience, joy, and when I’m devoid of
    all,
    it understands me when I fall.

    So yea. Poetry that makes one cringe. But I felt good. 😛 And I remembered that I write for myself–even when I feel in a writing slump for weeks on end. 🙂

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