Hi friends and welcome to the Arise, Beloved blog. We have an amazing team of writers behind this blog and our desire is to speak truth into the lies that cripple us and shine light into the darkness that isolates us because we believe that now, more than ever, the Church desperately needs women to be restored so that the world can be set ablaze. Our hope is that you find comfort, solace, and peace in knowing that you are not alone, you are not too far gone and there is ALWAYS hope to be found.
By Marianna Schmiesing
For a long time, I called myself a writer, but I didn’t actually write much. After college, I got into the habit of saying that the academic approach to writing killed my love for words.
But in truth, I was afraid.
I’m afraid of a lot of things. People. Teenagers. Loneliness. Large groups of women. Women my own age. Crowds. Parties. Parties with no snacks. Missing out. Jellyfish.
I was afraid that I wasn’t going to be any good. That I wasn’t going to be original, engaging, or even understood.
But perhaps more terrifying was the thought that I might actually be good.
It seems like such a strange fear. Why should anyone be afraid of success? Isn’t that what we want? Artists desire recognition, affirmation, and hopefully, we would love to earn a little $$$ through our art.
But with success comes expectations. With recognition comes a standard. If I wanted to be great, I would have to consistently be great. I didn’t believe that I could live up to that.
Yes, I might like that brief shining moment. Then I would amass a fan club consisting of my mom and about five other people. But having a fan club implies that other people are looking at you. They expect something from you.
I like to please people. I don’t like letting people down. And I want perfection (in certain areas like writing—not areas like showering because I didn’t do that today).
People tell me that they’re watching. “I read your blog post!” & “You’re inspiring!”
I die a little inside whenever people tell me that because I don’t believe that they should think that way because I’m really not that great.
I doubt everything (sometimes even existence). I still don’t fully understand what real love looks like. I wait until the last minute to write anything because even now I don’t know what I’m trying to say.
I have so many questions and very little answers.
For example, when I went over my journal from the past year, all I saw were questions.
Why would we want to go to heaven?
How small is a mustard seed? Is my faith even that big?
What does it mean to be a woman?
What am I allowed to hope for?
And then, after wrestling with these questions, struggling through them as though I’m crawling through a mud pit, I find something somewhat satisfying, stow it away, and promptly forget it so that I have to struggle with that same thing in about six months.
Why am I allowed to forget?
Why am I allowed to dream?
When I returned to writing, it really wasn’t because I wanted to. I was very sad, perhaps even flirting on the edge of depression. I was heartbroken (although I didn’t realize it at the time) and hurting in a way I had never experienced before. I was suddenly and fully faced with my own brokenness, my own weakness, a huge, disgusting slop of my own emotions, and in all that, the frailty of the human condition.
I had to write because that was the only way I could find clarity. I had to process everything in my heart because it was spewing out into my life in messy ways. I had to return to that thing that really grounded me.
Writing and God.
For also, in all of this, I prayed. Sometimes the praying just looked like sitting. And staring. And crying. There were a lot of questions, and there was even more writing.
In the middle of all that, I asked, “Why do I have so many questions?”
On April 30, 2019, I wrote:
I look at others who just know, and I wonder ‘Why?” I wonder why I was not blessed as much as they were, why I am still floundering in confusion and darkness. Why do I question reality almost every single day?
But then I look at my life. Have those questions ever stopped me from going to Mass? From praying? From continuing to seek and go further?
Maybe it is that God allows us to have these unsettling questions. Because, if anything, these questions have only deepened that longing and increased that search.
Life moves in circles around a central point. I’ve seen my own patterns of behavior repeat over and over again. But these circles are not stationary. After each wave, after each life lesson, after each round of questions, testing, and struggle, you move a little closer to that central point, a little closer to truth.
It’s okay to question. It’s okay to have earth-shattering doubts. Those uncertain times invite you in, invite you to ask, invite you to come to know this person in a new and personal way.
Because how do we come to know somebody?
We ask, “Who are you?”
We ask, “What do you love?”
We ask, “What are your dreams?”
We ask questions.
Knowing that, I don’t have to be afraid of expectations, standards, or having people interested in what I have to say. Even if I wanted to maintain a steady understanding, be a constant flow of pithy truth-bombs—that’s not going to happen.
Because I’m going to get sad again. I’m going to retreat into myself again like a soul-searching turtle. And I am going to ask questions. Maybe the same questions I asked years ago.
But now they’ll carry a little more weight. They’ll be a little more intentional.
And so will the answers I receive.
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Copywrite 2020 Arise, Beloved