One night, a while back, as I was getting ready to wind down for the night, I had this sudden rush of mild panic. My heart fluttered, and I took a quick breath in as the wiry electric sensations of anxiety spread from my hollow feeling chest to my limbs. A demanding voice in the back of my mind pushed forward and screamed at me.
“You need to write!”
Now, for most people, this is not the screaming you hear before bed, but for me as a minister/writer/blogger that voice pops up every once in a while. Blogging is a part of what I do. It is writing. It is inputting into people’s lives. I even have a few testimonials about how one of my blogs helped the reader in some way or another. To me, it is ministry.
But the other night, when the voice began to nag me, I wasn’t in the mood. I opened my laptop, paused for a moment, and slapped it shut.
“I don’t want to,” I said. So I went and got a glass of ice water, plopped down on the bed, and began reading. That’s when a thought came:
Why don’t I want to? I asked myself.
“Good question,” said I.
Actually it wasn’t only a good question – it was the question. Why wouldn’t I want to do something I loved?
Was it the work involved? No. Sure, when I write it feels like it takes days to get going, but once the sails fill, I’m along for the ride just as much as I’m steering the ship. I’m often just as surprised as my readers.
Was I tired? Nope.
What was it then?
The reason I didn’t want to write was the same reason I am struggling in a few other areas in my life. I didn’t want to pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) because I had attached this joyful action to other actions that I hate. I write because I want to share my thoughts and hopes with the world, but somehow I got caught up in all the work involved in getting readers. The improper and poorly managed correlation between writing and administration had left a metal taste in my mouth. I had grown weary of the rat race, the hamster wheel, the chasing after the wind. Writing got sucked up into all that, and because it became a duty rather than a joy it lost its savor.
As Mark Twain said in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer:
Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, and that Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do. And this would help him to understand why constructing artificial flowers or performing on a tread-mill is work, while rolling ten-pins or climbing Mont Blanc is only amusement. There are wealthy gentlemen in England who drive four-horse passenger-coaches twenty or thirty miles on a daily line, in the summer, because the privilege costs them considerable money; but if they were offered wages for the service, that would turn it into work and then they would resign.”
― Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
No longer love, but law. Demand in place of desire. It’s the whip on the back of the painter.
Let me say that again.
No. That is no way to live.
From your Christian walk to your blogging, is there any hobby that you once loved but you now associate with pain? If so, stop and examine it. What happened? How did it go from fun to avoidance? What stole the love of it? Why don’t you want to? (For some reason I feel the need to interject intimacy in marriage here… nuff said)
That is the question to ask. Why don’t I wanna ______? (Fill in the blank.)
Trust me, doing things you hate will only last for so long. We must deal with our want to before the whip steals our love for life and the things we find in it most tasty. The thief is crafty. He uses many ways to steal the abundance from our days.
As I pondered, I realized I do wanna blog, but not to draw people in, but to speak my heart to my readers. I want to talk about my failures and lessons so that someone can identify with them and grow. I want to launch people into their dreams.
That’s why I want to blog.
And oh, how I love to write fiction! I love simple stories based on deep truth. They are so important! Morals and proverbs are delivered through story. Hope is shipped into the human heart through Frodo reaching Mount Doom. The opposite is true too, moral collapse first arrives in the form of a movie or book.
That why I want to write books and make video! I want to see good enter one heart at a time!
And what about spiritual life? Why did you pray to begin with? To connect with God. To know him more, not to check another mark off your reading plan.
So what’s the result of all this thinking? Since I’m identifying and making the needed adjustments to my want to, desire is once again brewing. As I return to my first loves they are returning to me.
So now let me ask you: What is it that you don’t wanna do that you once loved? How can you change your thinking to recover what has been lost?