I kind of had a breakthrough in my book since that last post. I've written something like 10 hours and have re-written two chapters. That's a lot for me. It's great, but it comes at a cost.
Since taking the writing class, and reading Million Miles, I've heard a lot about a book for writers called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. When I finish Million Miles, I'm going to buy it and read it. Everything I hear from it is frighteningly true. Including this- every creative person faces resistance when trying to create something good. Resistance is a sure sign that you're supposed to do the thing in the first place. The harder the resistance, the more important the task must be.
And in the past two days, while I've re-written, telling my own story instead of "preaching to the choir," resistance has come. Not in the form of laziness or procrastination or distraction, but pain- just pain. Old pain brought back up from memories of the story and new pain from new words that cause more confusion and heartache. A girl from the writers panel on Wednesday told us that she was writing through some things that were very deep and painful and that as she wrote, she healed. How I hope that is true here.
I thought that my story was about identity in Christ. But it turns out- it's about a longing. I guess that most stories are about a longing, aren't they? The longing is for security, that much I had right, but the longing is also about justice, and that part I did not expect at all. The longing to be claimed as His and defended. God had to give me that longing, and to be honest with you- I wish that He hadn't. I understood insecurity. I knew rejection. But injustice was something I'd barely brushed up against until this story.
We had this question in our BSF lesson that came from Isaiah 59- "How do the themes of justice, righteousness, truth and honesty go together?" And I really just wanted to answer- they are all the things that I long for in my story. You know what, though? I'm beginning to see how you can't really deeply long for those things until they are denied you. Then you crave it like no other thing, and you want to spread it all over the world, too.
The Bible has a lot of hope to offer for people who find themselves in a story where they've been denied justice, righteousness, truth and honesty because it says that when God sees these things lacking among His people, it makes Him really unhappy. And He promises to do something about that, but not until later- much, much later. And that part makes my heart groan. I mean, literally groan.
Last night I went to Chick-fil-a by myself (Andy's off doing something with the Boy Scouts) and while I was there I was so overwhelmed by the pain from the resistance that I had to toss my waffle fries so that I could rush home and groan for God. I heaved giant sobs into my pillow and reminded Him that I have still not been accepted or understood and that I am still in pain over that.
And I was mad that He didn't fix it. I was mad that a God who is "appalled" at injustice, didn't do something about my situation. I was so discouraged that I would have to wait until the end- an end that seems long in coming- for Him to explain what He was doing with me and through me. That's the thing about our stories, though. We can tell them now. We can put as much truth between us and what hurts us as possible, and that might be a good and right thing. But it's never going to accomplish what we want. Because what we long for isn't self-vindication, it's His vindication. We long for Him to tell our story, because when He tells it, that's when it will really mean something. Until then, we're a character with a longing and we're going to have to overcome a LOT of conflict to get what we long for.
God reminded me about someone from the Bible- a man who spent his time deceiving and being deceived. Jacob. And I wanted to read about Jacob wrestling with God, because that's how I felt. Only I didn't really feel like I was wrestling in the classic sense. I wasn't so much wrestling as I was just crying "UNCLE!" to the Almighty and begging Him to heal something I couldn't heal and fix something I couldn't fix. But instead of reading the wrestling story, my eyes glued on a conversation between Jacob and Laban, Jacob's father-in-law. Now, there's two guys who had plenty of misunderstandings and injustice between them. When they finally parted ways for good, Laban made a heap of dirt and rocks or something and said something really weird, "This heap is a witness between you and me today. May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other. If you mistreat my daughters or if you take any wives besides my daughters, even though no one is with us, remember that God is a witness between you and me."
I had just read in Million Miles that, in the Bible, God has people build altars as a memorial. It's not so much that He likes piles of stones and that's super meaningful in and of itself, but that God allows us to build our altars to Him so that we'll remember the moment when He healed or rescued or rebuked. It's a heap of memory more than anything else. And that's what Laban was saying. He was saying, "Remember this moment, Jacob. Because this is the moment that I bring God in between us." I also like that Laban was concerned about his daughters' honor, maybe even concerned about their hearts. I like that because I know my own father is concerned about those things. And I believe that my Heavenly Father is too.
So my mind had been so anxious as I swam in my pain in my bed and the truth crashed in waves and the injustice felt like an anchor tied to my heart, pulling it agonizingly, further and further down. And I thought that I might drown because the Rescuer isn't going to cut me completely loose until Revelation. And then, I asked God to be my witness to all of these things. And He reminded me, "I already am." And I was satisfied with that. Not vindicated. Not yet. But satisfied. Because He is watching over His little girl's heart, watching as it is broken again and again- and one day, not today, but one day, He will fix that. Until then, He remains my witness to this injustice. And when it's the right time, He will do a way better job of telling my story.
Then Daisy curled up next to me and I was warm and sleepy all of a sudden. And grace came and swam me back up to the surface and reminded me to patiently endure. And then, I was asleep.