Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Day I Was Published. (And Why I Need to Get Thicker Skin)



Two weeks ago I had my very first article get published at RELEVANT.  It is such a tiny step in a lot of ways - there are so many wonderful writers in the world who get published all the time.  But this first time was special to me.  It was special, but it was also a bit crazy and scary.

It was a very normal day.  I did laundry.  I ran to Target.  I got a migraine.  I picked up the toddler's food off the floor.  I skipped writing to huddle in bed watching Sherlock and tried to get rid of the shakes that accompanied the migraine.

But at the same time I was watching the article and seeing as people read it and responded.  It absolutely astounded me to see my words valued and see that my story resonated with people.

Most amazing to me was the fact that men (PASTORS, even) shared my article.  I know it is silly since I'm both a feminist and an egalitarian, but it is still a surprise to me when Christian men think I have valuable thoughts and bring something to the table.  That's sad, right?  I so deeply want my (imaginary) daughter to grow up feeling valued and important in Church and to know that her words matter.

When the article went live, I knew, of course, that I would get negative comments.  What I didn't know is how much they would sting.  I didn't know that sharing my story gave people permission to comment on my marriage and my life and make assumptions based on what they read.  But that's what they did.

A few days after it was published, one of the negative comments was still bothering me.  Every time I thought about that comment, it was as if those words were being etched into my heart.  I cried in the car, feeling vastly misunderstood and mostly worrying about the negative words affecting my family.  My husband had read and approved the article before I submitted it because I knew that this story wasn't just about me.  But had I made the right choice in sharing our story?  

As I drove, I kept listening to Aubrey Assad's song "I Shall Not Want" and the line where she asks to be delivered "from the need to be understood."  It resonated with me that day as I just wished I could sit down with those negative commenters and tell them all the bits of the story that didn't fit in the article.  I was sure they would understand then.  I needed them to understand.

The image of the negative words being etched into my heart wouldn't leave my mind.  But then, in an uncharacteristic Charismatic moment, I felt God tell me something.  I was suddenly sure that those words weren't allowed to remain on my heart and burn their way into my life.   My identity is found in Christ and he has already told me what he thinks of me.

I know that the more I wrote, the more negative comments I will receive.  And I also know that I need to let them go.  Writing has connected me to God and has been a way for me to "work through my salvation with fear and with trembling."  Writing has connected me to people, both other writers and people who have resonated with my story.  And, truthfully, I've always been a writer in some form or another.  In the past it has just been in the form of journals.  I am healthy and happy when I write.  And that is the reason I continue to write.

2 comments:

  1. Callie! So fun to discover your blog today (from a facebook post from Chelsey Gordon). Just wanted you to know you have another reader!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Rachel! I'm so glad you found it (and commented)! I was just thinking of you a couple weeks ago because I kept seeing Grace Church in the news! I'd love to catch up if you want to find me on FB or email me!

    ReplyDelete

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