It’s funny what we tell ourselves we can’t do. There are many occasions, especially in college, when we say, “I can write that paper in one night,” or “I can study the night before.” The outcome of these I’m sure depends on the person.
Yet the fact is that behind all that, there is a part of us that doesn’t believe in ourselves. I’m currently taking a creative writing class, which I actually dreaded coming in to the semester because it’s not my strong suit. However, during the first half of the semester when we dove into short stories, I found that I really enjoyed the creative outlet. You can make anything happen in your story, and the more original, the better. It’s definitely a different way to write than for a newspaper, and I appreciate the ability to express myself in a new way.
When I told myself that I couldn’t write creatively, not much came out of that. Yet the further we got, the more I realized that I am capable of writing fiction. Maybe it’s not the best fiction the world has ever seen and assuredly not the best in the class, but it’s mine.
The same thing has happened over the past couple weeks since midterms, as we dive into poetry in this class. I’ve always thought myself the world’s worst poet, though I’ve never tried my hand at anything besides the haiku and anything that rhymes (I am, in fact, the world’s worst rhymer), and I seemed to be proving that by coming up with absolutely nothing, or at least nothing good, thus far.
People told me to draw from deep inside me, write about my experiences, blah, blah, blah. (No offense to the people who said that) When I mentioned that some of my memories are shadowy, one friend told me to write about that.
Then something happened at the Port the other night. I took out my journal, like I usually do, and I began to write. Somehow, after I had written a bit, I knew that I was supposed to write poetry right then.
I then spent the next hour writing a poem in the Port. And I haven’t been so completely absorbed in anything in a long time. The product is far from finished, but I feel very proud of what came out of that time. That was definitely the Holy Spirit!
My point from this long story is that sometimes our doubts in ourselves are so deep-rooted that we don’t realize that they even exist. I never knew how ashamed of my “lack of poetry skills” I was until I was forced to come up with something for class. However, the Holy Spirit was working that night, and I know that even if He doesn’t work in quite the same way again, I’m at least not completely terrible at poetry.
We can’t let those doubts and those insecurities rule us. Though we’re all far from perfect, you might be surprised at some job, hobby or sport you turn out to be skilled in. Trying new things you believe you’re bad at can only prove that you’re exactly where you thought you were, or that you’re better. Not a bad deal.
College is the prime time to try your hand at many new things, because it’s not quite the professional world yet, thus mistakes are made and accepted. It’s also beyond the level of high school, so clubs, departments, jobs and intramurals are run with greater finesse.
So join an intramural team. Audition for a play or a musical. Apply for a job. Sign up for a chapel ministry. Put in your name to be household coordinator or club president (consider praying a bit more for these than some of the others). And above all, take a holy hour. It will change your life more than anything else I’ve said here.