"Bury your fear in faith. Otherwise you bury your talents." ~Ann Voskamp, A Holy Experience
In the mid-winter bleakness fear overtook my heart. I considered the word transparent and suddenly I felt naked and unprotected against the elements of pride and vanity. Fear of failure and of the possibility of hurting others with my words gripped my heart with its icy fingers. For three years I pounded out my life on this keyboard for all the world to see and to know me, to really know me. Was I really writing for God, I now wondered, or was I writing for myself? And suddenly I began to feel very uncomfortable with the somebody that I was and that I put on display for the world to know. I found that when I would run into people I hadn't seen in a while I'd have nothing to tell them because they knew all about me from reading my blog. I felt a strange sort of public loneliness and emptiness. And then Lent came along so I decided to take my words and my desire to be known into the desert of privacy for a time.
And when I walked away from this blog, the devil came along. He tempted me to quit writing for good by telling me that I was self-centered, that my reasons for writing weren't valid, that I didn't really please God. He convinced me that I had made on idol out of myself with my words here. He pointed out that there are plenty of far better Catholic writers in the blogosphere to which people could turn for inspiration and information than me. He whispered in his disgustingly evil yet surprisingly believable voice that I would be better off deleting Imprisoned in my Bones and all of the words it contains and never writing again. And so little by little I began to delete posts here and there. More than half of what I wrote in January and February is now gone.
I believed him when he said that my writing wasn't really making a difference in the world, that I was only wasting my time. He pointed out how much more time I had for truly good things like caring for my family by giving them more attention, caring for my body with exercise and caring for my soul with prayer. He made sense and I easily fell for his lies. But the devil is so good at poisoning souls with despair and I could not let him have his way with me. It's true that without this blog I had much less anxiety in my life, but, without this blog I felt like an empty, shallow shell of the Anne who loved to write and share her faith, the Anne who believed that she could make a difference in the world simply by writing about her experience of God within the Catholic faith tradition.
Thankfully, I was not alone in my lenten battle against the devil because Jesus was always right by my side offering me His abiding love and grace, inviting me into the safety and warmth of His Most Sacred Heart where I was warmed and strengthened and encouraged. And He has brought me the conviction that I should continue to write, but maybe not so much. I will continue to spill my soul in a public fashion in the hope that someone, even if it's only a single someone, will be drawn to a deeper love of God through my humble words. And I will do my best to always remember that whether or not I am known, whether or not I am too transparent in my words and whether or not writing satisfies some deep need within me, the only true and holy reason for writing this blog is to share my faith with you. And if through my words I am able to inspire you to love God more fully, to pray more deeply and to live your faith more truly, then it will all be worth it. So here I am on the other side of lent laughing at the devil with a Risus Paschalis, a hearty Easter laugh. Jesus lives and I just have to tell you about it!
My prayer for you, dear reader, is that you were also able to cling to the love of God and resist the tempter during your sojourn in the lenten desert, however you may have experienced it. Let's laugh and be joyful together, my friend. Let's cast out fear and be blessedly transparent as we share our gifts because we live in the light of the risen Savior and he will make all of our deserts blossom with love!
Wishing you a joyous Easter!!! Like the Easter Candle, let us mingle with the lights of heaven, transparently spreading the joy, hope, peace and love of the Risen Christ to all!