“Too long.” “Too thorough.” “Sleep-inducing.”
At least I can rely on consistent feedback.
With every writing endeavor, my first draft is double the ideal length. I spend the bulk of my time getting rid of extraneous verbiage. And that opportunity is a gift I do not receive when I inadvertently take over a conversation with one of my detailed stories.
My goal is to finish a story, paper, email, presentation, or answer to collective smiles and nods. No clarifying questions asked. All bases were covered in a way that nobody would ever desire.
The reason for my exhaustive explanations? I have a fear of being misunderstood.
The Core Issue
We all have our broken parts. One of my core desires, rooted in insecurity, is to be liked by everyone. Or at least respected. I don’t have to be Mr. Popular, but I long to be on the positive end of the likability spectrum.
It used to control my thoughts, where every interaction was pushed through the lens of how I was viewed in that moment. If I perceived it was poorly, the inward spiral began.
“Did she really have to go the bathroom, or am I just uninteresting? That was a dumb question; maybe I should never talk again. Are they laughing at me or with me?”
But now, not the case. I have seen so much growth in my own confidence, caring more about loving others than being liked. Honestly, on a good day, I can even believe the struggle is gone!
So why am I so thorough? (Keep it brief. Don’t over-explain. Deep breath)
If I share my opinions and thoughts, and somebody disagrees with them, I at least hope that they still respect the well-thought out ideas. I’m clinging to the 51% likability goal. The broken desire is lurking.
I’m growing, ever so slightly. Writing less words. Leaving out meaningless details. Caring less about the response.
The Bandaid Ripped Off
But then we started a podcast. And panic set in.
Same core issues, but now I can’t go back and change my verbiage. I will most likely never hear what people think of what I say. I just put my thoughts out there, dangling on the internet cloud forever, waiting to be scrutinized by the masses who do not know me.
I think the intro could be better, so I record it another 41 times. I listen to the whole recording a third time, fearing there is a small detail I missed that could make or break the entire argument. Wait, how often do I use that phrase? Abort mission!!
No, I want God to use my voice. I want to bring clarity to complex issues. I want to speak truth, even if it is not liked. I want to point people to Jesus more than be liked by everybody. But this will most likely be painful for me.
We are doing a podcast on spiritual formation, and how God desires to transform every area of our lives. And the process of creating the podcast is actually a marker on my own spiritual formation journey.
God is still honing an issue that has been a companion my whole life. I am not complete. And yet my voice is being used. That is the beauty and depth of what we are inviting others to explore.
Spiritual formation is a long process, with deeper layers being exposed and transformed by a loving God. It is not easy or safe. But we know it is good. And it is worth it.