Whisper Loudly

I remember being deeply inspired by Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. In it, she teaches a technique called “Morning Pages,” where writers and artists are urged to create their work as if no one is reading or watching. I remember watching the adolescent eyes light up from my eager students when they knew for certain that no one would read their Morning Pages. We scribbled out pages and pages, sometimes filling an entire class period with endless pages that no one would ever read— and they would staple the pages together firmly covering all areas so that none of the contents could be read by anyone—ever.

It was liberating, absolutely inspiring to see the students take on such a task. I have no idea what any of them wrote—ever. I cannot remember what happened to all those Morning Pages. It’s possible that some were returned or never turned in; it’s possible some were thrown away when I cleaned out my files to move on to a new school. — Honestly, I have no idea.

But tonight I find myself thinking about those pages because I am writing in a way that completely contradicts what I used to teach. Whereas I used to teach others to write as if no one will ever read what they’d said, now I am writing as if everyone will read what I’ve said. And here I am finding myself doing the exact thing writers are not supposed to do: questioning whether what I have to say will be good enough. Who will judge me? What will they think? What will they think? What will she think?— But now I even find myself wondering what I— my own slightly older, hopefully wiser self— will think of what I have written when I glance back at the page a month, a year, a decade from now.

—The temptation to hold every creative thought captive in my own head remains the strongest urge I have ever battled— Because what I know is true, the very point I proclaim repeatedly to students, friends, family, even to my little 7-year-old aspiring artist— the very point that I know is true— it is the same thought that holds me back from gaining momentum in the creative world: Writers write.

Likewise, teachers teach. But I am a teacher who writes sometimes, and sometimes I am a writer who teaches. Can the two be one in the same? Is it possible that a writer does more than write? —That a teacher does more than teach?

At the risk of sounding sappy, as I inevitably will, I sit here wondering whether what I teach really matters? I wonder whether what I write really matters?

But I have come to a place in my life where I have an immovable faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I have come to an understanding that part of my job as a woman is to teach other women— and I am so in love with the Word of God—And so the Lord fills my heart with gladness— a peace that surpasses all understanding— Dear Child, Sister, Daughter, Mother, Grandma—use your words to teach what is good, what is right, what is beautiful— to teach the joy and the life found only in Christ Jesus. Write the words; sing them; paint them. Speak the words— to others, to the world—shout from the front porches; exclaim from the rooftops— whisper in the darkness of the difficult days—because what you whisper in the darkest place, at the end of yourself—this is the truth you will always believe— whisper loudly: “Christ is King, and His love endures forever.”

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