I kept thinking about my friend’s words to me the night before as I was driving toward the intersection of Highway 84 and Decoto Road. He said, “Tim, you should be a writer. You should write a book.” It was not the first time he said such things to me, but like the previous few times, I brushed him off. “I’m a nobody. Why would anyone want to read what I write?”
But I was at a crossroads in my life, just like this intersection that I was driving towards. At the time (which was two weeks ago), I had just submitted my resignation letter to my boss. I didn’t know (and still don’t know) what to do next. I just felt a change is necessary. Pragmatically, I knew I needed to stay home a bit more because my wife had been busy taking care of her dad, who just had a 3rd stroke in the last couple years, let alone recovering from two bouts of cancer. Spiritually, the church we started three years ago went through lots of challenges, and yet we’re seeing God’s hands guiding us to learn to embrace our brokenness and walk a journey of weakness where His strength is all we could rely on. Going through all those storms in life, it’s not been easy. I decided to take a risk by quitting my job, to take some time to sort out why I don’t feel passionate about the same things as I did before. The winds of change is in the air and I’m ready to go for a ride.
I thought and thought about my friend’s words. Did I brush him off too quickly? I used to write in this blog for a long time, in fact from 2005 to 2013 I wrote quite regularly. But after a while, I wasn’t sure why I was writing, or who I was writing to. So I stopped. But recently I was surprised when I heard from a friend that he had a friend who knew about me from this blog, and that he enjoyed my writing. And yeah, I’ve thought about restarting this blog a couple times during the last 4 years. But is that why I should write?
As I drove up to the intersection, out of the corner of my eye I saw someone among the growth of bushes and short trees on my left hand side. Since I was stopped at the red light, I looked to my left, and to my astonishment, I saw a homeless person doing something that I haven’t done seriously in a long time: he was writing some words on a cardboard. It just happened that this intersection was a popular spot for homeless people to panhandle, and I’ve also helped a few fellows before. But I’ve never caught sight of one of them in the act of writing on a cardboard.
As I drove past the intersection, this realization came to me: He was writing because his life depended on it! Not only am I ashamed that he’s written more words than I’ve written in some time, but even more importantly, he’s written much more weightier words than I’ve written in a long long time, because his very survival depended on how he crafted his writing.
That day I’ve decided to restart this blog. I’m not writing to get donations from you (although that would be nice 😀). I’m not necessarily writing to get fans (although any feedback would be welcome and it would encourage me very much!). But because I have a tendency to work out what I believe in writing, almost like I’m engaging in an internal battle of arguments. It was basically the equivalent of “talking to myself” according to what Martyn Lloyd-Jones said in the book “Spiritual Depression”:
The main trouble in this whole matter of spiritual depression in a sense is this, that we allow our self to talk to us instead of talking to our self. Am I just trying to be deliberately paradoxical? Far from it. This is the very essence of wisdom in this matter. Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problem of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. Now this man’s treatment was this; instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself, ‘Why art thou cast down, O my soul?’ he asks. His soul had been repressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says: ‘Self, listen for a moment, I will speak to you’. Do you know what I mean? If you do not, you have but little experience.
The main art in the matter of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself. You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself. You must say to your soul: ‘Why art thou cast down’ — what business have you to be disquieted? You must turn on yourself, upbraid yourself, condemn yourself, exhort yourself, and say to yourself: ‘Hope thou in God’ — instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way. And then you must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do. Then having done that, end on this great note: defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man: ‘I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance, who is also the health of my countenance and my God’.
So I’m writing again, because my life depends on it. I’m writing to allow my inner voice an avenue to worship the God who I trust to continue to guide the journey of my life into something meaningful, just as He’s faithfully guided me all these years.
My wish, also, is that my words will be life-giving, not just for me but for also you, my readers, as well. So I invite you all to come along for this ride! I’m curious for what the coming days, weeks, and months will bring, because I have no idea where God will bring me (and my family), but I trust that wherever we end up, He’s faithful and trustworthy to carry us through.