breaking in the marching boots

I'm sitting at a strange table, overlooking the Pedernales river. It's low. Drought has reached her claws into much of central Texas, and we see it most in the summer when we begin to shed our clothes and return to the water. Every time we're shocked at the way the rivers and lakes struggle to maintain their depth. 

But like most things, despite how the sun dries and crusts over the earth, there's a certain beauty to limestone stacked against the green of a tree. And so I'm sitting here, staring out the window, thinking of depth and unexpected beauty and how so much of this weekend has been restorative for me and my writing.

We spoke of burn out yesterday. I shared how quickly I can fall into the trap of comparing myself with other writers and their platform (ugh. THAT WORD). I see someone write about something and how it's worked for them and assume that I can come here to my space and write the same way on the same topic and not anticipate any type of questions or lack of authenticity. 

I know what I'm called to write: the holy and broken.

And every time, when I forget this, when I ignore the calling, when I study the way other writers move within their sentences, I become less of me and push against the clear voice of the One who gives me words in the first place. I burn out. I lose all desire to write. I feel gritty and bitter and resentful with all of these other people who have massive readership and wonder why bother? 

A few months ago, I was working through an art journal spread and I was struck with the mental image of thousands of women cresting a hill, marching together toward a specific purpose. I spoke with a few people about it: this army of women camped inside my heart and pushing my words up and out and emboldening me to speak truth. But I cringed whenever I got to the army part because who wants to hear about an army of women? Because issues. Controversy. Stereotypes.

But. In the midst of other women sharing their hearts about their message and words that capture who they are and the habits they can implement to prevent burn out, it hit me.

This vision of women marching? They aren't an army fighting against something. They are fighting for eachother. 

And this is what I want this place to be—it's why I dreamed up Rebel Diaries, why I finally laid claim to this purpose to speak Truth into women, why I get so tied up in knots when I hear women speak lies that are so prevalent in our society. It's what I hope for Story Sessions and what I pray over the women taking my course. 

So today, when we gathered together after way too much wine and lavender liqueur the night before, one rested her head on the shoulder of a woman next to her. Another went and brewed more coffee. Words were whispered and sentences were soft and blinds were closed until we could open up and see the sunshine without wincing.  And one woman looked at another and said, "I want to speak this Truth over you..."

Another grabbed the hand of the woman next to her and said, "of course you responded this way. And you're brave for doing so." And we stumbled through our words and we pushed through the tension and we asked the tough questions because we knew there was something in it—something close to magic and foreign to formulas and marketing strategies and platforms.

And in the end, I'd like to think there was a little bit of healing happening before our eyes. It felt a little bit like the stretching into the skin of who we're meant to be in the first place. As if these women were breaking in their boots for the long march ahead.

Posted on April 27, 2013 .