Of course, that wasn’t the whole truth.
I decided to paint my bedroom trim mid-morning on Saturday, right after I’d read all about the relaunch of the Deeper Story website. As I clicked around the fresh, new pages, I scanned the expanded lists of writers – some of whom I know well, some not at all. And it felt like I was summersaulting headlong into a well.
I know this deep well. I’ve splashed around in its stinking, stagnant waters before, clawed its slimy, dank walls. “Why not me?” I sighed, clenching my jaw, clicking and clicking through page after page. “Why don’t I ever get asked to join these writer communities? Why don’t I ever get picked? What’s wrong with me?”
I’ll tell you I want to be picked because I yearn for the community, a place to call home on this tangled Web. But that’s not quite true either. What I really want is to be part of a certain kind of community – the cool community, the popular community, the community everyone knows, the one everyone’s talking about. I want to be invited, asked, included. Acknowledged, affirmed. Loved.
I want to be “in.”
I know what you’ll say. You’ll tell me I am loved. I am affirmed. That God already does that for me. That’s he’s all the affirmation I need. I’m “in” with him.
And it’s true. I know it’s true.
But what do you do when you know that’s how you’re supposedto feel…but it still doesn’t feel like enough?
I powered down the laptop, pushed back my desk chair and headed down to the basement to grab the roller, drop cloths, brushes and can of white paint. For two days I painted window frames, door trim and baseboards, inching along behind the bed, caked dust and crumpled Kleenex and used dryer sheets under my knees. While I painted I prayed this verse again and again, a verse I’d read two days earlier and somehow, miraculously, memorized:
Turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross and follow me (Luke 9:23).
With every dip of the brush into the can, I prayed. Turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross and follow me.
With every swipe of paint across the woodwork, I prayed. Turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross and follow me.
With every push of the roller across the tray, I prayed. Turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross and follow me.
By Sunday night, the drop cloths were folded, brushes cleaned, rollers drying in the dish rack. The door frames, baseboards and widow sashes in my bedroom gleamed snowy white. But the pit in my stomach, though subdued, was still there.
Turns out, I can’t paint over the pit. But I can pray over it. And so that’s what I’m choosing to do.