“‘Extra, extra!’ My dear friends, I submit to you the fledgling project my tedious mind’s eye has watched lose its fuzz for pin-feathers and linger in the nest. Yes, this feels overdue in many ways…”
Welcome to [From the Inkwell]. At last. I’ve decided to start by sharing a little more about my reluctance to push this “fledgling” out of the nest. But first, what exactly is this project? To cut to the chase (and you can expect more on this later), Christ is my only hope in everything I do. Not only is He my only hope for this blog being anything worth reading, He is my ultimate hope for bothering to write at all. I earnestly desire to gain more of Christ for myself and for you, reader, through taking the time to think and write clearly, truthfully, and beautifully.
As far as I can tell, my wariness to begin a blog of this nature was rooted in two fears. I’ll tackle the first one in this post and write about the second in “The Lingering Fledgling (Part 2)” another day. So, here is Fledgling Fear #1: I am afraid of that incapacitating strain of pride commonly known as “perfectionism.”
Frankly, my inborn perfectionism will threaten the fruitfulness of my time spent writing here. People have told me that “the perfect is the enemy of the good.” I usually need to hear this; I know what they are driving at. But surely there are clearer ways of talking about “the perfect…”
Once upon a time I strove for perfection, not caring what it cost me. Then I despaired, learning that the cost of “the perfect” would always be beyond what I could muster to pay. Whoever thinks he is perfect has yet to feel the warmth of the sun on his proud brow. Then, I rejoiced, for I learned that “the Perfect” has come and has paid what it costs to be found in me. And now, being found in Him, I strive for Perfection, not caring what it costs me.
For me, overcoming the fear of perfectionism often starts with simply remembering that pride (the root of perfectionism) is a universal heart disease, with its only cure the gospel. Perfectionism is not a neutral “personality type.” My fears related to perfectionism, whether I realize it or not, are always due to something gone sour in my relationship with God. I fear when I am not trusting Jesus and resting in the fullness of the gospel.
Dear Soul: God is perfect, and you are made in His image for fellowship with Him. Your first parents set the course of drastic deviation from the perfection God originally created. In your pride, you are dead-set on recovering the lost ground on your own. Wake up! You are delusional. You have forgotten God’s promise that in the day Adam and Eve ate of the fruit, they would surely die. Fool! Instead of trusting God’s word, you continue to believe Satan’s primal garden lie. “You, my charming friend, will be like God.”
Self-exalting perfectionism. Oh, what a morbid enemy of the soul!
Back to the lingering fledgling. For years I have known, correctly, that pride is a miserable companion. However, to avoid its suffocating presence, I have sometimes gone to confused extremes. I love to write. Thanks to Mom, I started keeping a journal in kindergarten, and ever since, I have scribbled ideas for essays, novels, poems and songs. Fiction, non-fiction; words for adults, words for children. I’m better at some of it, but I like all of it. Some of my scribblings have become completed works. The feeling of having written a complete piece (and yes, I am the one who defines “complete,” until my critics take over, of course) – this is one of the best feelings in the world. I am so thankful for the creativity and determination God has inspired in my mind and heart over the years. I don’t want to neglect to say this here, because I’m going to say something rather discouraging next. I am easily smitten with my own work. More to the point, I am easily smitten with “Christina, the writer.” I mean sinfully smitten, of course.
Many times over the past several years when I would begin to write about something, the nausea of pride would loom in my consciousness and appear to me as the inescapable outcome of continuing. It was probably a correct premonition at times, but instead of focussing my attention on fighting the darkness in my heart with prayer and the truth of the gospel, I would usually just stop writing. How silly, and how sad! Think about it. Joy perishes in the heart long before a joyless pen can bear joyless words. Words, after all, are the overflow of the heart, and the threat of pride (and its attendant misery) is as present for the human heart today as it was in the Garden of Eden. Laying aside the pen brought me no hope, let alone victory and joy. Only Christ brings my heart hope and the strengthening vision to fight for joy in Him.
I really hope you enjoy [From the Inkwell], dear reader. I’m looking forward to writing on many things, LORD-willing. There are so many deep and wide truths to think on and affirm, over and over and from different angles. There are, as well, so many sweet and whimsical truths to weave into minds and hearts with words as choice as the finest honey. I pray that through this blog, where writing features, you may yet know “Christina, follower of Christ” far better and more fondly than you know “Christina, the writer.”
With thankfulness on this sunny Monday,
Christina Faye Hall
“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!” Psalm 30:11-12