It’s a common misconception that the hardest thing to do is hold on when really, true strength comes in letting go.
Up until this morning I believed in suffering. If your work is in the creative realm, if you are one of those melancholy people, if you are a musician or a painter or any one of the brooding types it is especially important that you read this, writers in particular. As I said, up until this morning I believed in suffering, suffering for my art, for the words I write, sounds very deep I know. I don’t say this to be dramatic I say this because up until today at nearly one in the morning, I totally believed “what’s bad for your heart is good for your art.”
My personal goal with the words I write is to make people feel something. I believe if I can do that, I’ve done my job. This is why I believed I needed to hold onto my pain because the nonfiction novel I’m writing is full of past memories and I thought that if I didn’t cling to them, my readers wouldn’t feel what I went through. Although I love the Hemmingway quote: “There is nothing to writing, you just sit at a typewriter and bleed.” Writers do not have to suffer for their stories. I thought my pain would make the words genuine, that if I bled onto the page people would feel things as deeply as I did. I thought if I let go, that if I consciously made the choice to embrace life’s present season I would lose all that happened.
My walk with God bears strong resemblance to the biblical scene where Jacob wrestles the angel, I’m constantly sparring with God even though I always tap out, and He always makes me feel like the champion. Having a bleeding heart was my latest wrestling match and I write this now because I have officially tapped out. I’ve surrendered yet again and let God be God. My whole life I considered memories to be dangerous, I thought that you could never have just the good part. I suppose that is true but only if you want it that way. To my fellow scribes, you don’t have to drain a vain to write a heartfelt drama. You don’t have to feel all beat up and cut open, it is possible to separate the good and hold onto it. Step one for me and this true story I have in the works is not to hold on to what was-to the best of times-as I originally thought. On the contrary, I first had to let go. That’s step one. As for me I know I can’t do that alone, I’m a savage when it comes to loyalty and if left to my own devices I let what/who I love become my slavery so I need God to set me free. How is it possible to mend a broken beating heart? Say a prayer; realize what God wants for you. Know that His plan does not include guilt or shame, only love in the purest form.
Step one: choose to let go in order to look back fondly. Allow God to pluck the splinters out of your heart. Letting go comes in levels and it’s a process. As you allow God to heal your heart in a way nothing else can you’ll become aware of just how much damage has been done, it would be scary but with Jesus you are not ever left alone nor forgotten (Hebrews 13:5). First I had to let go of the pain I was foolishly clinging to and then I had to pray away the sadness, like I said, layers. I’m not sure how things will be in the future but I do know the more I choose to let go, the clearer I see the parts of the past worth holding onto.
In reality, if I had gone about writing my stories with an achy breaky heart I would have bled all over the paper and the writings would’ve been incomprehensible because nobody can read a bloody book. The lie I believed, as a writer was that suffering is necessary for sincerity. The truth I needed to know and now have-thanks be to God-is that healing is necessary for hearing. When a heart is healed by the One who made it, it’s easy to see that memories are not meant to be mourned and the past is an array of seasons worth celebrating.
Both pictures are lyrics from the same song. Which of these words are you going to live by? “Give up the ghost stop the haunting baby.”-Ella Henderson