On Fridays a bunch of brave writers gather here to all spend 5 collective minutes writing on a single prompt. It is here that fear falls away, because scared is the new brave. There is safety in this community that rallies ‘round you – whether you’re having an utter confidence meltdown and are sure you can’t write anymore, a catastrophic parenting meltdown and are sure you can’t mother anymore, or just an epic almost Friday breakdown and are just not sure. These women – they’ve got you. This blessed, beautiful place where we open our hearts and let words and tears and the inner workings of our lives bleed and flow and dance across the virtual pages. Yes, this community opens wide and invites you in to share. Come and visit and read. You will be blessed.
This week: Mess
Quiet now my heart. I know it’s been a while, but this rhythm is nothing if not familiar. Already the frizz and thrum of my phone has come alive like a throng of embrace in a room I might have walked in to. That’s just what it’s like – coming back to the Five Minute Friday community after a month-long sabbatical. These are my people. This is where part of my heart will always hide.
Already though, I’ve felt the hedge in my words. My fingers hover over the keys instead of flying. Pausing makes you thoughtful. Introspective. Aware. Simmering in the wise words of other women – ones you look up to and listen to; sinking yourself deep into the roots of specific scriptures and letting yourself germinate like a seed – it makes you less likely to go slap-dashing across the page just to see the ink spill. At least it does for me.
This time away has been so good. There is so much I want to say. But I am pausing here in the white space; lingering in the margins before diving in full force because of some of the things I saw in the stillness. Without the distraction of the next prompt and the next page to fill, I stood face-to-face with my reflection and looked into eyes that did not want to look back and meet mine.
I wish I weren’t so critical? Have you ever felt that way? Not only of myself, but of everything around me. I used to find comfort in saying that I set the bar high for everything - including myself. I wasn’t asking for any standard I wouldn’t exact from my own flesh. But really, where did that exacting get me? Into a big pile of critical mess – that’s where. Wrapping myself in my idea of integrity and exacting my idea of perfection, control, and justice until there was nothing but an unattainable measure of my own making. Brilliant.
This is otherwise known as a hot mess.
Until somewhere in the quiet and the stillness, words trickled through that allowed me to see that exaction is taxing at best and only damaging in the long run. That it is not my job to set the standard or the bar. And that perfection is nothing but a hamster wheel in disguise – running nowhere and leading to exhaustion and immobility.
What I need – what you need – what we all need, is grace.
He never said, clean up this mess and come to me.
He just said come.
Just as I am.
Just as you are.
Tonight’s prompt was inspired by Kristen Welch’s new book, Rhinestone Jesus. You can read my review and enter to win one of two copies if you click over here. I hope you will. Blessings and grace to you friends.
How to Join
Want to know about Lisa Jo Baker, how Five Minute Friday got started, and how to participate? All the details are here. No editing or second guessing. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community.
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