My Blog: Understanding My Creative Trap

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This blog can sometimes be the very representation of my walk with Christ. Let me explain. I began this blog because I wanted to write again. I began this blog in a year of my life when I did not write much at all—and definitely not for pleasure either.

I began this blog because I missed writing simply because I could. I missed making sense of my life through the written word.

But, I’ve fallen into a creative trap. I’ve succumbed to having to create content, not because I want to—but because I feel like I need to for my readers.

I do this for a few reasons. I think part of it is I am always afraid there will be that one person who expects content and I do not provide it. I do not want to disappoint this person.

Yet, I can tell my heart is not fully into the post. I am not proud of the post. Or, I feel weighed down by the post rather than encouraged or uplifted.

Thankfully, this does not happen as often as it could. Much like my walk with God, I walk into writing the post with begrudging feelings and possibly even discontent. I feel pressure. I feel a heavy weight of obligation, not willingness.

Yet, it never fails, by the time I finish diving in scripture or singing a praise and worship song or writing a blog post, I feel better. I don’t feel as stuffy. I feel renewed and uplifted, more so with reading scripture or singing than writing my blog.

Now, I am not saying I do not yearn for God’s word or do not want to write a blog post. There are many times when my heart overflows with reverence to know more about Jesus Christ. There are many times when I am beyond grateful God led me to Himself.

But, to me, this makes sense. My relationship with Christ matters most above all else. Yes, I am incredibly grateful I have the skill of writing, but ultimately, it is worthless if I do not use the gift to glorify God.

I think part of my creative trap also houses fear. I do not want to write because of the platform I created for myself—my life. I think there is a reason why most writers tend to be introverts. We think about life a lot. Actually, a lot more than people may be aware of.

When I decided the platform of my blog would be my life story, my heart hurt in a good and bad way. Sometimes, I do not want people to know how I struggle, why I struggle, and to what extent I struggle. But, I could not ignore the call God placed on my heart.

I refused to believe all the chaos in my life did not have a purpose. I refused to believe my story was not one worth sharing. Even so, the decision comes with some fear and trembling.

So, this is where you find me. In the creative trap. I often ask myself, why am I writing this? Am I writing this out of obligation, out of trepidation, or out of overflowing joy? Some days, I do not like the answer, and I really have to reevaluate my heart.

Nonetheless, a year and a half later, I still feel God tugging on my heart to continue this blog. To continue sharing my story. To continue being raw, real, and authentic.

I will keep doing this until God opens another door for me. I will keep creating material and trusting God will use it for His glory and in His timing. I will simply trust Him.

I thought you ought to know where I stand in all of this. I thought you ought to know where my heart is some days. I thought you ought to know the creative trap—why do I do this and what is the root of my material—does exist.

I’ve learned it’s okay. I’ve learned it means I care about what I say and who I say it to. So, even if I’ve never met some of you or barely know you, I care about you. I care about what I present to you. This material is not just about me or for me. It is for anyone and everyone who chooses to or happens to stumble upon my blog.

Blessings,

Renata

Life Update: Reflecting on Recent Difficulties

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It is amazing how quickly life passes us by. It has been nearly a year since I was thrown into a difficulty and began some of the hardest months I have ever known in my short life thus far. I know each time I choose to look back on my life, this past year will always be one of my first reflections.

It does not seem like it was nearly a year ago that God took me through a whirlwind of a season. It does not seem like nearly a year ago that I woke up filled with joy and went to bed more confused than ever. A lot has happened in this past year.

I guess in a way this is a life update. I am in the middle of the despair again. The past few days or so I have been in the deepest of valleys. I hurt. I ache. I cry out. And I just don’t understand. In the midst of the confusion, I have learned a few things.

This past year has taught me that sometimes you never entirely get over things. You simply change and learn to move on. But, you never entirely get over them. They never stop shaping you, whether it be for the good or bad.

I fully believe you can never truly leave the past in the past. Somehow, it always comes back. Yes, there is a fine line between moving on and dwelling in the past. But, some events are so big and life changing that they never leave you.

There are times I thought I left the pit. Then there were a lot of other times, I felt like I was in the deepest, darkest part of the pit.

Every time I thought this recent trial would stop impacting my life and allow me to heal, another part of me felt the pain. Another part of me ached.

This past year has taught me that you can continue to live life among the valleys. But, it is only by Jesus’ grace and loving mercy that you will slowly be able to find joy amongst all the sorrow and confusion. It isn’t quick, nor is it easy. But, it is possible with Jesus Christ.

This past year has taught me that certain trials, and really all trials in life, do not just impact you. They impact everyone you are close with. It may not be in the capacity or extreme as you. But, the people closest to you hurt, cry, and are confused right alongside you.

Trials change us. They just do. I knew the moment I began this trial nearly a year ago that I would never be the same person again. I knew this, as did my husband.

This past year has taught me it will be a long time before I stop meeting with my counselor about this event. That isn’t to say I don’t have good weeks and bad weeks.

I haven’t been overwhelmed by this event lately. However, it does creep back into my life. Each time it does, I know full well what my next counseling session will involve.

No matter where this next year of my life within this difficulty takes me, I know it happened for God’s glory and for the goodness of His Kingdom. Some days it’s been hard to remember. Some days it will be hard to remember in the future, too.

This I tell you: As I continue to try to slowly heal from the pain, I hope and pray I glorify God in the process. It is because of Him that in the midst of it all, I still have so much to be grateful for. I still have so much to praise Him for. Thank you for standing in the valley with me this past year.

Blessings,

Renata

My Sweet Assurance: Jesus Reigns

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This week is a first for me with this blog. For once, I have hardly any ideas on what to write about. I do mean hardly any.

All the ideas I do have require much more time than I have allotted at the moment. With each idea, I consistently come back to one simple truth in my life.

Jesus reigns.

There is nothing grander I can say than this. Jesus reigns.

This past week has been like any other for me. For others, it has been an extreme whirlwind of a week. But, for me, it’s been like any other.

I have a sense of peace and assurance in this truth. No matter how chaotic or calm my life has been, currently is, or will be, Jesus reigns.

Jesus is sovereign.

I find great comfort knowing I do not have to consume myself with the ins and outs of my life. Yes, life can be stressful at times, no doubt. But, God is in control. Always.

It is exciting to me that God has ordained all the days of my life. I have no idea where He will lead until He calls me home, but I do know it will be incredible.

No matter how much crazier my life story may get, it is all part of God’s perfect plan. There is an assurance in a perfect God. He can’t mess up. He didn’t mess up. He won’t mess up.

That’s someone worthy of praise. Someone who chose to make me and give me breath is worth praising. Someone mighty, powerful, just, holy, and righteous.

It’s not scary to know God is all those things and more. It’s revering.

I leave you this: I hold very strongly in my belief in Jesus Christ. I always will. My faith may waver in times of tragedy or uncertainty, but I will never stop believing Jesus Christ reigns over all. I will never stop believing He has my life and the entire world’s plans ordained.

Blessings,

Renata

Overcoming My Insecurities: Cooking

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One of my biggest insecurities in life is my cooking abilities. Yup, I said it. These insecurities do not come from the fact I am a wife and feel the need to be perfect. Although, those thoughts have crossed my mind in times of my deepest negative self-talk.

No, these insecurities stem from myself and myself alone. I had these insecurities long before I met my husband. Growing up, I did not spend much time in the kitchen. The reasons why are not as important as the impact it had on me.

I never really got to watch someone cook. Many of my female friends knew a lot about the basics of cooking at a young age simply from being in the kitchen while someone cooked. I did not have that experience.

I did not think it would matter until I got older, especially when I moved out. When I moved out, nearly everything about cooking was new to me. I mean, I learned how to make sure water does not boil over by using a wooden spoon from a former roommate. That same former roommate taught me the “stick it” test to ensure pasta is ready. You get the point.

I didn’t know much at all. And because I did not know much at all, I instantly thought I knew nothing. I instantly thought I was a horrible, unteachable cook. If I have not mentioned it before, I have an all or nothing attitude. Instead of acknowledging what little I did know about cooking prior to moving out, I told myself I knew nothing, buried myself in a degrading pit, and expected myself to instantly know how to cook. Go figure, right?

Since being married, the Lord has brought women alongside me who can teach me how to cook. Since being married, I have slowly learned to overcome my insecurities. And I do mean, slowly. Very slowly. I cooked with a friend a few weeks ago and was a timid mouse. I had zero confidence in myself throughout the whole process. Yet, I managed to make a delectable pumpkin pie in the process.

My insecurities cause me to be prideful in a bad way. There is puffed up pride and there is self-deprecating pride. More often than not, I struggle with the tear yourself down form of pride. I deeply struggle with the mentality that if I tear myself down, I will feel better or look better or be pleasing to God. But, that is for a post completely of its own at a later date.

Nearly every insecurity I struggle with comes from the notion I am not good enough. Cooking is no exception. Yet, I write this in a week that I chose to make dinner on my own. I wanted to make a homecooked meal. My husband did not convince me. I motivated myself. I sought out to cook.

For me, this is HUGE. That was the first time in my marriage I wanted to cook because I could and had the ingredients to do so. Usually, I start out not wanting to cook, yet thankful I did, in the end. But, this time around, I was thankful and motivated throughout the whole process.

I did not tear myself down in the process when things did not go as excepted either. How I got to the end result may not have been the most conventional of methods, but I made a meal and I enjoyed it. My current cooking experiences are all about getting comfortable in the kitchen. They are all about building up confidence. They are all about overcoming my insecurities one meal at a time.

If I burn some food along the way, so be it. The price of learning to overcome my fears and anxieties is far more valuable than the price of rebuying ingredients to try again another day.

I challenge you: If you feel insecure in the kitchen, cook something small. It may sound cheesy, but part of my motivation to cook more was knowing how extra yummy I could make a sandwich. I had to start somewhere and so do you.

If you aren’t insecure in the kitchen, be the guide and friend to someone who is. The friend I saw a few weeks ago tremendously helped me. She challenged and guided me. She gave me the reigns and let me do the work. She knew I wouldn’t learn unless I did it for myself. In turn, I am able to recreate the dishes I made with her on my own.

I don’t know what I kind of cook I will end up being when I am confident in my abilities. I do know I have a sweet husband who will always support my cooking endeavors—big or small—friends who will continually guide me and challenge me to go out of my comfort zone, and a God who will love me, even if I am a wife who does not always cook.

Blessings,

Renata