Sunday’s Scripture readings had an unexpected connection and similarity that struck me very deeply as I was praying with them. Isaiah, Paul and Peter all refer to this very human reality: That we all feel unworthy when we “bump” into God, or God’s invitations, unexpectedly.
The truth, of course, is that none of us is worthy of the relationship that God wants to have with us.
There is a deep irony in the reality that self-awareness and recognizing the truth about ourselves is part of the journey that brings us closer to God. As we journey deeper into that dark inner landscape of our sinfulness, we discover aspects of ourselves that we’ve avoided facing. And yet, it’s only when we face the truth about ourselves that we can bring all of ourselves before God, and experience God’s unconditional acceptance of us, as we are.
The good news is that God wants a relationship with us anyway. In God’s perfect vision, there is plenty of darkness in us. But God also sees the light.
This is a very powerful realization for me also as a writer. It is in the nature of a writer or any creative artist to have great ideas and then to dare to pursue them. But it is also in the nature of a writer or artist to sometimes fall far short of our big dreams and visions. Indeed, sometimes it is impossible to fulfill the potential of the really great ideas.
As artists, writers, communicators for Christ, we have to live with the bigness and littleness of who we are. Sometimes we swing back and forth between the two. I know when I’m in the middle of intense writing, I think one of two things: either what I’m working on is great or it’s terrible. This is very common for a writer–and I’m guessing, for any form of art or communication.
The truth about my writing is, of course, somewhere in the middle. My writing could always be better, could always be improved. But sometimes what I’ve written is enough to communicate what I want to convey. Sometimes it touches people. Sometimes it captures in words an insight that I’ve been struggling to express. For me as a writer, what’s most important for me is not to be fooled by the swinging pendulum. Yes, dare to dream big. And yes, dare to bring that vision into reality. But don’t be surprised that it’s not perfect. Just keep working at it to make it better.
The more I reflect on it, the more parallels I see between the spiritual journey and the creative journey. The beauty of both is that it’s not a one-time deal in which we either sink or swim, fail or succeed. God’s desire to be close to us, God’s desire to work in and through us, is not going away. God renews his invitations to us daily. Real success is trusting in that graced invitation and responding every day.