About twenty years ago, I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I had no idea how to get there. Sure, I wrote for my family and friends (you needed a last minute poem or graduation speech? I was your girl) but I wanted to do it for a living. That was different. It was competitive. It was confusing. It all seemed so mysterious. I was totally stuck.
It was during this time I discovered the wonderful Julia Cameron and her revolutionary book, The Artist’s Way, which forever altered my career and personal path.
The Artist’s Way – Journaling and Dating Toward Personal Freedom
Designed as a twelve-week program, this book covered the basic principle that that creative expression is the natural flow of everyone’s life. It insisted on daily journaling and taking onself out on “artist dates” once/week for four hours. Cameron’s book spurned me, along with other doe eyed writers throughout the world, to commit to ourselves as artists.
Dating oneself was lovely, but journaling was the big push. She insisted that you write first thing in the morning, when you were fresh. You had to write for twenty minutes straight. If you couldn’t write anything but “I have nothing to write” then you’d write that for your entire session. Usually after one artist date – something unique and different and exciting – you’d discover something new and then have something to bring to your journals.
Interlaced with combo of practicality and new age woo-woo talk, Cameron grabbed my “I wanna be a writer” limp pulse and turned it into an “I am a screenplay writing amazon” pounding heartbeat. I was drunk on power – the power of my own limitless potential.
And that was good.
Until it wasn’t.
Because, as I’ve mentioned in other blogs, life could only be about me for so long. Eventually, with the demands of family and kids, I didn’t have time to go on leisurely dates with myself. (I was lucky if I could go to the bathroom alone.) My personal journaling for pleasure and goal setting was replaced with writing for pay.
Looking back, from the perspective of someone who is back to journaling again, it’s easy to see the big hole in my prior writing exercises.
I had written from my heart, but I’d failed to see God’s.
It wasn’t until recently, with a new career shift yet again, that I’ve realized how much I missed writing down my thoughts. But even more to the point, I’ve realized how important it is I transfer the worries, rants and raves in my words and hand them over to God’s Word. In doing so, not only do my oh-so-big problems seem small compared to my oh-so-big Jesus, but there’s a heck of a lot of gratitude filing my pages as well.
“Thank you, Jesus, for my ability to gain new writing gigs to cover braces”… “Thank you, Jesus, for not giving me too many opportunities. I’m realizing that money to spend on me is not as important as Monopoly money exchanging hands with my babies on a quiet Monday evening.”
Be Your Own Christian Woman – Everyone Else is Taken
Lest anyone think I’m turning into St. Andrea, patron of Bible thumping, I’m a big believer in balance. There’s more than one way to be a Christian woman. For some, it’s making homemade organic baby food, logging in hours at the local co-op or volunteering at Sunday School.
For others, it’s full time work as a major exec in a corporation. It involves a maid and a cook. For me, it’s somewhere in between. I don’t want to be a stay at home mama, but I do want to be a present mama when I am home. Part-time work while writing on my personal website is ideal for me. Freelance writing here and there for others is a lovely boost to my income some months. Perhaps I’ll even teach my own writing course again from home. I’ve taught four in my previous life, and I can do it again!
The main thing I want to do, however, is keep writing. Because in writing every day – just for me – I can remember that who I am is important.
She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. – Proverbs 3:15
Yes, I’m a mom. And yes, I’m the bread winner right now. But if I all I do is work, I’ll forget what I’m put here on the planet to do. Sometimes I don’t even know what that is, but in writing it out and giving it to Jesus, He’ll remind me.
Giving God the Credit Before I Begin Journaling
Some people like to write to God every day in their journals, and that’s awesome. But not me. For me, I like to write just to write, but I do pray first. It gets things off my chest, but it doesn’t leave them in a state of whining or confused panic. “I hate looking at my kids’ messy room I’M GOING TO DIE FROM THE PIGSTY” is totally self-indulgent if left to its own devices. But when I ask God to lessen my frustration, I’m quickly filled with peace that my kids have a roof over their head. And often, I’m reminded to set boundaries with my kids to clean up their own darn room!
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6
I don’t know where you’re at with your life, but would you consider a journal? I can’t say enough about how effective it is to write down your feelings – no matter how silly they seem. Because really, ladies, God will remind you when it’s time to derail the pity train and transform your woes. But sometimes, it’s just good to get it down, get it out, and MOVE ON. And then we get on with more important things – like love and joy and helping those in our community who aren’t as fortunate as we are. And really, folks, there’s so many.
She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. – Proverbs 31:25
Who is with me?
Leave a comment: Let me know if you’d ever consider writing a journal. Leave a comment here, at my FB Page, or my personal email at Andrea.Paventi@Gmail.com.