“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”
As the question hung in the air I could feel the muscles in my throat tense up and my head began to throb. When we turned to our neighbors to share, I found myself spinning a lie. I have a vision. God is moving my heart and desires in a particular direction. But I was too afraid to share because where I see myself is not where others see me or want me to be. So instead of being true to who God is calling me to be, I just said what everyone wanted to hear.
Have you ever done that? Perhaps you are afraid or embarrassed to share the deep stirring within your soul because of what others will think of you. Maybe you think or know others will take it personally if you desire to live radically different. Or it may be that your deep longings expose the most vulnerable parts of you…better be safe than sorry. So you put on the mask and recite the words. As your narrative is met with smiles, the ache within your heart grows a bit stronger. You may even feel a twinge of anger or resentment.
You’re not alone.
Everyone desires to be truly known. On the surface, it may seem easier to hide or deny parts of ourselves but in the long run, it corrupts our soul, hurts our relationship with God and others, and can even damage our physical health. With stakes this high, how can you be true to yourself while negotiating the road ahead? Write.
The digital age has brought pen and paper nearly to extinction but don’t be so quick to give it up. Writing…the art of physically moving the pen or pencil across the page and pouring out your thoughts, has been shown to be not only emotionally cathartic but also has a physical benefit, lowering blood pressure and relieving anxiety. Writing helps you to clarify your thoughts, process ideas and allows you to give voice to the real story of who you are and where you see yourself, even if you can’t share it yet with others. Some of those writings you may want to keep and others you may rip to shreds. Either way, writing is a great outlet and practice to care for your physical, emotional and spiritual health and helps you give voice to your true self.
Did you have a day that was frustrating and you are feeling the residual effects? Write.
Do you feel like you have a dream inside of you that you aren’t ready to share? Write.
Are you being called to a rhythm of life that others aren’t willing to accept? Write.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Write about that too.
Give it a try. Pull out a pen and piece of paper and let it fly! The idea isn’t to be Hemingway or produce the next best selling memoir, so don’t worry about editing or being critical of what you’ve written. Express your thoughts and desires. Be honest. Don’t hide. Find your voice and don’t hold back. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and you may even have some fun in the process!