“The writer’s job is to tell the truth.” Those sage words of Ernest Hemingway have guided the pens of good writers for decades. While in a writing slump Hemingway once encouraged himself with these self-directed words, “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”
Anyone who has read this blog more than three times might note that I readily and frequently admit that I’m a mess. My days are sometimes a long string of over-introspection marathons: what’s wrong with Sherrie, what’s broken and needs fixing, what needs to be addressed before she can really live the life God has called her to. I write about my life in a way that might cause some people to wonder why in the world I would, not only expose, but publish my underbelly like I do. I’ve talked about my shameful childhood, my failures, my martyrdom, my mental illness and my pursuit of God.
One of the reasons I’m so raw with what I share is because I want my pain and my losses to be repurposed into a giant arrow that points people to HOPE. I can’t bear the thought that the road paved by my experiences will be of no value to anyone following behind.
As I take steps toward my dream of becoming a viable writer with a relevant message many obstacles crop up and I can become lost in the forest. There are many days, like today, that I just don’t know what I’m doing. I am afflicted with an acute case of Second-Guessing Syndrome. Some days the direction I felt so sure of yesterday feels like a mocking vapor today. Poof! Just kidding—you can’t do this!
We recently took a long road trip to see new places and even with GPS and a good map we felt lost and disoriented at times. One morning we were facing the goal of heading into a well-known city with a bazillion points of interest. Before we embarked on our journey the obstacles loomed larger than life: we’re in an RV, how would we maneuver the city streets, what if we don’t get the sequence of stops in the right order, where will we park, what if we get towed, at which point should we start, what if it rains, what if we get lost, etc.?
I’ll do just about anything to avoid the possibility of an anxiety attack so I’m sometimes inclined to bail before I begin.
When the details of pursuing my goals pile up around me and I’m afraid taking the next step will cause me to fall and break my neck—or otherwise make a complete butt-in-the-air fool of myself, this is my truest sentence:
That’s it. Some days that’s all I know for sure. And thankfully, it is enough. I sit with that one true sentence and breath it in slowly, rhythmically. I let it settle over me and work the hyperventilation out of my soul. Before long I’m adding another sentence of truth:
One by one, the sentences accumulate into that unalterable simplicity of Truth that all other truths are subjected.
Friend, no matter where we are in pursuit of our goals, in the fulfillment of our purpose, in the brave telling of our stories, in the development of our skills, or in the healing of our wounded-ness—let’s allow TRUTH to renew our thoughts and re-direct our paths.
Hemingway had it right; when stuck he simply talked truth with himself. What is the truest thing you can say to yourself right now?
I want to be brave and vulnerable enough to allow God to weave my story into His BIG FAT REDEMPTIVE STORY! No matter how many times I trip over the jabillion details or succumb to fear or muck about in confusion—I go back to my one true sentence: I am His.
Whatever season of life you are in, whatever seed of purpose He has deposited within you, wherever you are on your path, if you feel like a small child lost in the crowd, if everyone feels like a stranger, if no one even notices you’re afraid; take heart! You are His and He won’t leave you unclaimed in the Lost and Found room at Grand Central.