I apologize for posting this so late in the day. I’m five weeks post bilateral mastectomy and do not yet have back my rhythm of life. But, better late than not!
I have not been sharing my writing for very long, so while I see God providing opportunities, for the most part the pruning and planting of this particular vineyard has yet to produce much fruit. I very much feel God is still establishing my ministry in life. I trust He will redeem my experiences and learning to build His kingdom. Yet the process of growth is valuable in itself, so let me share a metaphor for my writing in this season...
I am presently on a strong antibiotic. While it is successfully treating the infection at my surgical site, there are some uncomfortable side effects. One side effect is diarrhea. So while I feel better and I am regaining my appetite, the nutrients are flowing right through, so I am not benefiting from the food as much as I could.
However, not all side effects are negative. Because I have this particular side effect of the medication, I am shedding retained water and possibly even some fat. In other words, I am losing weight!
Weight gain has been a side effect of another medication I have been on, so for three years I have been losing the struggle to maintain a healthy body weight. Now, having shed some pounds through surgery and side-effects, perhaps I can regain the energy to exercise before the weight settles in again. One thing leads to another and a new cycle begins, with new life patterns.
I think my writing is like medication. Writing helps me redeem pain, and nourishes my soul. But writing has side effects.
One of the side effects from writing can be negative self-talk. “I only won that contest because not many entered.” “Their encouraging comments are just because they are being kind to the new kid.” These kinds of thoughts cause the nutrients of feedback to flow right past. We easily accept the negative, yet quickly discount the positive. This false humility can be identified by taking the comments to God and asking for His view. Listening to feedback can be helpful only when we truthfully accept both the positive and negative.
Another possible side effect of writing is that eventually the words are shared. One never knows where the writing may end up. This opens one to the possibility of criticism, not only of your words, but of yourself. Putting yourself out there is scary, yet is the only way to share healing with others. Talk about the pain. Share the experiences. Encourage one another. God asks us not to heal and minister in isolation, but in community.
Some side effects from writing may not be negative. Perhaps, as the writing nourished my own soul while I wrote, it will also nourish others as they read. Maybe someone will be encouraged and able to deal with or shed their pain because I laid my own pain bare.
As I continue on with writing for my own healing, I will trust the side effects of my writing diarrhea will be positive, not negative, and will be used by God to build His kingdom in some way. As I learn the craft, share the words, and strive to glorify God, perhaps new exercise routines will be established to bring greater health to myself and to others.
Writing is good medicine that can help heal all ailments.
Marnie writes from Northern BC. Check out her blog, Phosphorescent.