"How much of the stuff that surrounds you every single day is actually vital to your path, and how much of it is in the way?" -Rob Bell, How To Be Here
I wrote my first blog post in 2008. It was mainly a way to document my mission trip to Tanzania, Africa. It was mainly so my mom would know I was alive.
Throughout college I blogged about random things - it's actually pretty painful to look back and read some of the posts I wrote. But, I also wrote about things I was learning about myself and politics and friendship and romance (or, the lack thereof). Blogging became the way I learned to make sense of all the moving parts.
During my three years in Seminary, I think my blog saved my life. I was intaking information at such a rapid rate, that sometimes I wouldn't be able to sleep because I was caught up in thoughts about creation or heaven and hell or the nature of God or the ways the Holy Spirit worked or how being a woman pursuing a career in ministry was actually terribly difficult or how I sometimes thought God was withholding things from me. It was really a mixed bag, but it was the place I felt safe. It was the place I emptied my brain and peeled back the layers of my heart.
I also worked as a Content Writer for a large church, and was able to "write for a living" for a bit, which is a crazy thing. However, during that time, I lost a little bit of the umph I had felt in previous years when it came to writing on my own, for my self. They warn you about that.
So flash forward through a year or two of very sporadic writing here and there...and we land in the 25th year of my life. The year of the dating. Oh boy did I write during this time. My hilarious dating stories (mainly mishaps) became fuel for content like never before. I also was dealing with such significant confusion and pain in relation to love and dating and sex and it was in the words of a blog post that I sifted through truth and came to some conclusions about what I thought about it all. It was healing to write about experiences and then have countless ladies (and some men!) commiserate with me, cheer me on, challenge me. It was a good season for blogging. Well, blogging about relationships. However, every time I sat down to write a post about something other than dating, my brain went dead.
I was doing tons of interesting things - seeing more theater than I ever had and reading more books than I had in a while and listening to more podcasts and consuming so much that I should have thoughts about it all. But for some reason, I couldn't out thoughts on a page about anything else besides the terrible date I went on or the reason I think Christian dating is the literal worst.
Something inside me was broken. And once I stopped writing about dating (which, just kind of happened when I start seriously dating someone) I also just stopped writing. There have been a few times I've mentioned to people close to me that I want to start writing again. After they encouraged me to "DO IT!" I would sit down an re-read some of my old posts, you know, to get me in the mindset again. To bring back to memory the ways I used to share my heart on the internet. But then I would get overwhelmed and distracted and nostalgic for all the feelings I felt back then and I wouldn't be able to write something new.
It was a frustrating cycle.
I read a book yesterday by an author that I like named Rob Bell. It's called "How To Be Here" and it's all about being creative and just "doing the thing" and awakening yourself to the life you want to be living. It's not my favorite book he's written - but it was something I needed to read in this season. He challenges readers with a question in the book: What are the experiences where I felt most comfortable in my own skin?
I thought about this for awhile, and one of the clear answers for me was writing. When I write, I am more fully myself than ever. When words are pouring out of me, life is pulsing through my veins in such a tangible way. There's nothing like it. There's really never been anything like it for me. But I've been getting distracted by my past self, the baby college version and the Seminary version and jaded, cynical dating version. I've been clinging to some idea that I have to somehow recreate something about those seasons in order to write again. And that's simply not true.
Here's the truth about the present Lauren: I love Jesus with my whole heart (even when he pisses me off). I'm 27 which means I am an old lady. I am in a career I love. I love Netflix. I want to teach one day, but am unsure when (and frankly, if) that will happen. I am single. I am a struggling over-committer with far too many things on my calendar at all times and far too many people who graciously put up with me being all over the place. I love theater and reading and Disneyland. I have some incredible friends, near and far, who remind me that the world is good.
All this to say - I am not who I was in the past, and so this new blog is my way of shedding that skin and deciding that archives don't define me. This new blog celebrates the present. While I am thankful for past, I don't want to be held down by it - creatively or in general. I'm finding my new path.
Come along for the ride with me.
LAUREN REBEKAH //