A few years ago, this little fire got ignited in me. The best way to explain it is that one day I sat down to write and I felt what I imagine Mariah Carey experiences as she nails an insanely high note. But it wasn’t with my voice or song (my friends will attest to that - singing hasn’t proven to be my strong-suit), it was this harmonious experience between my fingers and my computer’s keyboard. As words flew off my fingertips with ease, I caught this bit of excitement that turned into a full-on forest fire. Writing felt innate and woven into the very fabric of my being. Perhaps this is a bit daring to say, but writing became an experience of worship - connecting to something superior to myself, tapping into purpose, and cultivating an expression of the Love that I was receiving. This joy made the craft irresistible - I was writing all the time and unashamedly sharing my words.
I don’t know exactly when the shift took place, but after a season of boldly putting my words on display for the world, I began to do so less and less until I stopped writing altogether. It was deviously subtle. What once felt like a vibrant, life-filled dream surrounding the wonder and possibilities of crafting words together quickly turned into a passive, “I’ll just write and keep it private.” I made all sorts of excuses from being too busy, to not having enough content or ideas to share on a regular basis, to working on other people’s projects but never taking the time to create something of my own. All the way to saying, “It’s just a season of learning about the things I’m going to one day write about.” The common theme behind all of these thoughts being, “I’ll do it one day, but today is not that day.”
I became frustrated with myself for ever having identified as a writer, because it gave me a standard to be held accountable to. God wasn’t going to let my flame go out, and he made sure of it by surrounding me with people that frequently asked about it. My common reply to the inquiries of others was, “Sure...I’m writing, but it’s nothing I want to share.”
God is faithful to shake us out of settling. A few months ago, light was shed on the heart of this issue in the most unexpected and silly of ways. I posted a picture of kombucha - yes, KOMBUCHA - with a witty little caption on my Instagram Story. I hate even admitting this, but I spent probably five minutes coming up with the short sentence that accompanied it. I read it to my coworker, “Is that stupid?” she replied, “No! Amie, who cares. Express yourself, girl!” So, I posted it. But five minutes later, this annoying bully in the back of my head began to nag me about it. “So dumb. Go take it down.” I obeyed.
This pattern began to be more recognizable to me. I’d go to speak, do, post, write, share, etc, and this obnoxious voice would begin to tell me all the reasons why I shouldn’t. I thought of how people might not like it or respond well to it. I was paralyzed by the fear of man - commonly known as “people pleasing.” As this realization came into full view, God started bringing opportunities my way to gain my courage back.
“Have that difficult conversation, and be unashamed when you speak. Pray for that person and be unapologetically compassionate. Share your opinion rather than just sitting back and listening to the stance of others.”
And you know what? As I’ve been obedient to this commission from the Lord to stand up to the fear of man, I’ve noticed not all of those conversations have ended with an ideal outcome. Some people haven’t been interested in receiving prayer, and you better believe that not everyone has been responsive or agreed with my opinions. But here is the best part - THAT IS OK!
Because it’s not about pleasing everyone, it is about pleasing the One.
So what does this have to do with writing?
People pleasing has held me back from sharing my words in absurd ways and has robbed me of partaking in one of the things that brings me the most joy. I refuse to live enslaved to this bully between my ears any longer. Which means you might not like the words I’ve written above. If that’s the case - well, that is okay. Butttt, there is also the lovely chance that you do resonate with my words. In which case, my prayer for YOU, whoever you are reading this, is that you’ll have a little extra courage running through your veins today to step out and be unashamedly yourself, whether it’s in something you do, say, post, or whatever!
The world needs the unique expression of God’s heart that you are.
Not everyone will like it and as I’ve been finding that really does not matter.
Written by: Amie Ahrns