What I Miss

Another Lent and Easter has come and gone. Growing up old school Lutheran, the church seasons have always been one of the ways I mark passing time. We start with Advent, then Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, and now we're in Easter. 

I went with my mom, sister, and her mother-in-law to the church where I grew up. If I remember correctly, the last time I had gone to a service there was last Easter, since I was working during Christmas. I still go to church, but at another location. 

As I sat in the pew and sang the old familiar hymns, I couldn't help but wonder when the last time I was genuinely joyful to be at a service. I could't remember.

In fact, I can't even remember the last time I legitimately prayed. Not just praying with the congregation on Sunday morning or with my family over meals. Really sat down and had a conversation with God.

If I'm being brutally honest, I think it was back when I lived in Missouri. I moved away from there going on three years ago.

Even when I worked in the church, I could see it happening to me. My personal Bible reading was becoming less frequent. My prayers were shorter. The songs I sang were half hearted. The years after I graduated college, something began to change in me.

Don't misunderstand me. It's not a crisis of faith- per say. I still believe. In fact, in ways I believe in Jesus, grace, faith, scripture, forgiveness, etc. more than I used to. I also don't want you to take this as me not loving the church congregation I'm a part of. I do. It's a wonderful place, I love going, and I love the people there. It's what I need right now.

But praying? Having joy in worship? Reading my Bible just because? It's just not there, and I don't know why. 

And I miss it. But I also don't.

I don't miss the guilt I used to have about worrying if I hadn't prayed or read my Bible enough. I don't miss feeling like I had to be sitting in the church building every single Sunday or else I'd be a bad Christian. I don't miss feeling the obligation to run around everywhere yelling about Jesus and how much he loves you and wants you to convert and be baptized RIGHT NOW. I don't miss telling teenagers what I felt the synod wanted me to tell them.

I do miss the joy though. I miss going to a service and not critiquing everything I see or hear. I miss the curiosity I had about scripture and wanting to dig in more and more and learn all that I could. I miss wanting to go to a Bible study or small group to talk about faith with my friends. I miss the days when I could pray saying "Papa God" and not feeling like an idiot for saying it. I miss when I could journal for pages and pages on my thoughts on a certain verse. 

I know my faith isn't dependent on how I'm feeling, or how much I pray, or how much I read. Thank God!

I also like how my views have grown and changed and matured. I'm glad I'm not the girl I was back in high school and college. 

But I do miss the joy. 

Challenges

Here we are. Week two of blogging again. I'm not going to lie, it almost didn't happen. Already I have a case of writers block. I have a few post ideas lined up, and a few favorites from my old blog I want to revisit, but I didn't want to pull them out quite yet. Which means... needing to think of something to write about. Particularly something that isn't just a "Currently I'm..." or a tag or something.

Not that there is anything wrong with those. It's just too early to fall back on them at the moment. That's part of the challenge though. Thinking of something worthwhile to share, but also something I'm willing to share. The Internet is forever you know.

Another part of the challenge is figuring out how I want to let people know a new post is up. Ultimately, I'd love for me to get on a regular once or twice a week basis so people know when to come to my site and check it out. However, that might take awhile and who knows if I'm that reliable. 

Right now, I don't want to post it to Facebook. It's just a little too public for me. I have plenty of friends I'd be find with reading this, but there are other people I'm not so sure. If they happen to come across my blog, that's one thing. But me putting it right there in their laps makes me nervous. Yet, if I'm writing things and letting them out there for all of the world to see - should it matter? 

Last week when I first hit "publish" I ended up talking to a friend of mine from college who also has a blog. Hers is very open and honest and she has it all out there on Facebook for all to see. She said it made her nervous too, but has been happy with how it's gone. She said now that it's out there, she feels much better. Maybe it'll be the same for me. I might see how this goes for awhile though before I make that move. Anyone else have thoughts on this?

These challenges are good though. If something is worth doing, I think it needs to have a challenge. That's how you grow and push yourself and become better. Starting from scratch is hard, but hopefully in the end it'll make be a better blogger and writer. 

So, there we are. Week two. It's not much, but it's something, and it's what's on my mind. 

Also, I've figured out how to add social media, Bloglovin (kinda), and an email subscription to this site! You'll find it all in the footer. Slowly but surely I'm figuring this whole Squarespace thing out. Hooray!

In The Beginning

When writing, beginnings are the actual worst. 

There's so much pressure on how you start things. You have to hook the reader in. Grab their attention. When you send pages of a manuscript to an agent or publisher, usually they have you send in the beginning of your work. The first chapter, or 5-10 pages, or something. If they don't like those first few pages it goes in the trash. 

Okay, I don't know if it actually goes in the literal trash. But you get the idea.

Beginnings are kind of a big deal.

A blank page, or in this case, screen, can be one of the most intimidating things in the world. I'm much more likely to procrastinate and focus on something else, anything else, when I have a blank page in front of me. If I have something there already, it's much easier for me to keep going. It's the getting started that gets me. 

For over a month now, I've had this page on SquareSpace all set up for me to fill it up with words and pictures. I had this idea of starting blogging again, but this time going from scratch. From the beginning. 

Part of me thought I should go back to my old blog. Everything was already started! The page was up. I had followers. (Well... some followers.) There were already posts there, I just had to go back to writing more of them.

But, I knew deep down starting over was what was needed. Something new, simple, and without other strings and obligations. No gimmicks, not selling anything, no niches, tags, or pressure. Just me and the page. 

I wondered if I should do it at all. I don't have advice to give about anything. I can't tell you how to get a job, how to make money, what to cook for dinner tonight, or how to craft something you can sell on etsy. All I have are my thoughts and random things going on in my life. Things that will probably bore everyone. 

I miss blogging though. I miss writing just for the sake of writing and clearing my head. A friend of mine from college has been blogging lately and I love hearing about her life and what's going on. It's awesome, I feel like she and I are closer now than we have been in awhile, and it made me realize how much I used to love sitting down on Xanga and later Blogger to talk about my day and the ideas going through my head without worrying about how many followers I had or if I would ever "make it" as a blogger. 

Not that I don't want people to read. Let's be honest. Obviously I want people to read or else I would just keep a diary. I have no idea if anyone is interested. I might not be transparent enough. I might be too transparent. Who knows. But, I want to write. 

The thing was, the beginning. 

I have tons of ideas and I have several saved drafts of what I want to write about. None of them fit the bill for the first post though. That gosh darn beginning. 

Yet, it has to be done.

So, here we are. 

The beginning. 

I feel like Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens should start singing "The Start of Something New" or I should quote the book of Genesis or something...