It would be good to do a bit of a check-in. Not as Susan Pettigrew but as Bronwyn Angley. I set out to write the story of Esther/Myrtle with questions . It would be smart to write down some of what I’ve learned thus far:
- I’m learning what it’s like to be a Christian writer. I’ve read about other Christian authors, like Francine Rivers (Redeeming Love, a re-telling of the book of Hosea) or Hannah Hurnard (Hinds’ Feet on High Places) who describe their creative process and some of the things they struggle with as they write. Francine said after she became a Christian she couldn’t write for years and she believed it was because God had to change her from the inside out first (something to that effect… don’t quote me though). Hannah talked about her journey writing another book and how every step of the way was challenged in some form or another. Joseph Campbell (who is not Christian) and Blake Snyder (don’t know if he was or not) also talk about the emotional challenge of telling stories. How writers often have to go through some transformation of their own as they work through their characters and the plot. I don’t remember all the reasons why but it’s kind of inevitable. You can’t write from another person’s point of view without empathy so it makes sense that we would have to learn and feel what our characters do, too. In all these cases, the writer becomes an instrument of the story where he/she/they, essentially, get “used.” It’s less about us trying to manipulate the story and moreso, about us learning to let go. We have to let the story teach us something rather than the other way around. For the Christian writer, it means letting God teach us so we can explain things better. And that is easier said than done.
- Most of my lessons have been about shame and worth.
- NOTE: In comparison to the many problems of this world, mine are very small and I have way more good things to remember than bad. However, these moments shook me up at the time and shifted my point of view so I think they are worth mentioning.
- When I began writing the story, a thing happened online that caused a lot of conflict in a group I’m apart of. There were some tough conversations (but meaningful ones) that came out of it. I made a lot of mistakes but I learned a lot, too. One of the lessons I had to re-learn is you can’t please everyone and even if you could, they’ll likely find something to criticize about you later anyway. I learned that I need to stand my ground but have a soft heart and listen.
- I had a major flare-up of acne after I got home from Saskatoon. I believe it was a mix of hormones and a reaction to something I ate but after talking with a pharmacist it could be something else so I need to got to the doctor to get it checked out. Anyway, the point is I’ve never had a flare-up quite this bad and it hit my self esteem harder than I thought it would. I was reminded that I need to give as much time (if not more) to spending time in God’s word and in prayer as I do getting ready in the morning. I’m off balance in this area.
- I’m learning that if I have a low sense of self worth, I’ll accept poor treatment from others because I think it’s the best I can get.
- I’m learning how to not take things personally. I’m not good at this yet but I’m learning.
- I’m learning to trust God’s timing and not rush things. I’m learning to keep my eyes on Jesus, not on dudes, not on my reflection, not on my work ethic, not on my performance, not on my sins, not on others’ sins. Just Jesus.
My heart has been so restless lately. I suppose it’s because I’ve been jumping around trying to find my worth in things that offer no real sense of comfort. Tonight my heart got focused again, found a place to land and call home.
I don’t think this check-in was the thing that caused me to find home again but I do think it was the method in which I realized it.