I was speaking with a friend at work yesterday about our journeys along the path of spiritual growth and our “calling.” Specifically we were talking about the work we are doing as writers. I am a published author working on my second book and she is a budding writer on the way to being published for the first time. Neither of us ever planned on this path but find ourselves drawn to it.
And, as with anyone on the path to their calling, we noticed that the closer we get to achieving our goals the more we have doubts, guilt, and distractions. First, we have doubt about the worthiness of our stories. Afterall, we’re just ordinary women with ordinary stories. Well, that’s what we tell ourselves but in reality, everything in life that changes your heart, mind, or soul really is a big thing. Isn’t it? Second, we feel guilty for sometimes spending our precious family time on writing, or conversely spending too much time working or playing or whatever instead of concentrating on our writing. And third, there are the distractions. These are the things that creep up in every day life, such as illness, homework, cooking, TV, that next good book, grocery shopping, Facebook, yep, even blogging.
Why is it so hard for us to make progress just when we’ve found the thing we love or feel drawn to accomplish? Some people call that the devil. You know, the closer we get to God and his work, the harder the devil will attack to keep us from it. Others call that our own inner insecurities. All the stories of how we are not enough coming to the foreground of our consciousness to trip us up on the path. I don’t think the label is the important thing. The true important thing is how to get on the other side of doubts, guilt, and distractions in order to keep moving. Are they all really bricks creating a wall or are they just a curtain of illusion?
First things first, we have to recognize all of this as our “story” and not as the “truth” at all. Life is, after all, about living. No one thing gets top billing all the time and that is okay. Letting go instead of clinging to our stories of inferiority and unworthiness is not always easy but it is critical. If we judged ourselves with the same leniency and grace we give to others we might not tell these stories at all.
It was a good conversation in the end. We found ourselves encouraging each other and giving ourselves the much-needed break that is called for. We will continue with our living and writing on a better track for having examined our “problems.”
How about you – what do you do when you find yourself tripped up with doubts, guilt, and distractions?