I haven’t written anything for a while, and to be honest, I had to try really hard to convince myself to write right now. It’s easy to blame it on being too busy, because it’s definitely a hectic time of year for me. However, I soon started to realize that being too busy was becoming less and less of a fact, and more of a convenient excuse. It’s true, and it gives me a way out. Sounds like a win-win to me.
The truth of the matter is that I’m not too busy to write. It’ll take me maybe fifteen minutes max to finish this post. Yet, I tell myself that I don’t have the time to do it, or that there are more important things that need to be done. I never really thought about why I find excuses to not do the things I love (partially because I never realized I was doing it), until I read the blog post of a friend of mine this morning. Her post was about her passion, her absolute favorite thing to do, which is cooking. As I was reading it I found myself thinking about how wonderful it was that she had something she was both extremely talented at and loved to do. I caught myself thinking “I wish had something like that”. Then I thought about this little blog I write on from time to time, and how I used to write nearly every day when I first started it, but now only submit a post every few months. I love to write. It’s one of the talents I know I have been blessed with. So, why do I never do it? Sure, I’ve started a book or two and I run a couple blogs, but soon enough I start to pay less and less attention to them until they’re nothing more than unfinished pages and empty goals.
Writing isn’t the only thing that I’ve quit on before I really got started. My first love was music. I played flute from the age of nine all the way through high school. I taught myself how to play piano, and in high school I picked up three more instruments. Yet, as soon as high school was over with it all came to a halt. I stopped writing songs, the instruments in my house started to collect dust, and my music books were soon moved up to the attic. I tell myself that the spark was gone. That it was fun while it lasted, but that it’s not what I want to do anymore. I tell myself that I just don’t have time.
It’s a cruel and vicious cycle that I have trapped myself in. Whenever I get passionate about something that I might actually be good at, I run away from it. I make excuses for myself and push it to the back of my mind. I don’t think I’m the only person that does this. Remember when we were little and people would ask us what we wanted to be when we grew up? We didn’t limit ourselves to what we thought we would have time for or what seemed realistic, we set our goals high. We were excited to grow up and be what we wanted to be. How many of us are actually doing the things we said we would? I bet not very many. Now of course, we grow up and get a better feel for reality, and we do what we need to do to support ourselves and our families. That’s okay. What isn’t okay, is when we stop doing the things we love, the things that make us who we are, because we’re afraid of what will happen if we decide to make a commitment to it. We become afraid of what will happen if we utilize our talents and try to make something come out of them. Will people judge us for wasting our time? Will we not be as good as it as we thought we were? Or even worse: what if we are even better at it than we thought? What will we do then? Surely we can’t dedicate any more time to a mere hobby. After all, we have to work and run errands and do all of the important grown up things we’re supposed to do. I’m the queen of making excuses to not do the things I love to do. However, I think we’re not just letting ourselves down when we don’t utilize our talents. We’re letting God down. Every single person is blessed with their own unique abilities and qualities that make them who they are. What if we’re given these talents because we need to learn how to make time for ourselves? Even scarier, what if we’re given these talents because they’re what we are meant to do?
I’m not saying that I’m going to crank out a book within the next year and a blog post every day. To be honest, I probably won’t ever write a book and there will definitely be days where I don’t write at all. But, I’m going to make an effort to make time for myself. To express myself in the best way I know how: through pen and paper (or, in this case, keyboard and screen). I challenge you to do the same. What makes you feel alive? What’s something that you love to do, but maybe tell yourself you just don’t have time to? I dare you to do it. Time is only a barrier if we tell ourselves it is.