An overwhelming sense of stop

One day last August I just stopped writing. I also stopped playing Words with Friends. It wasn’t something I planned. I just stopped. No explanation. No excuses. Two things I did that occupied a lot of my time, I just stopped.

This has happened to me before. I make a decision—even life-changing ones, like when I dropped out of college—on a dime. There’s no changing my mind. There’s no warning, at least to an outside observer. I just stop. My Dad does it, too. I come by it honestly.

This is perhaps the most profound way I experience God talking to me, this overwhelming sense of stop. And, believe me, I know that what I am describing as God could be my stubbornness, my bipolar disorder, my I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude when it comes to following what I think it right. It could be those things. Or something else.

But I think it is God. It saved me from dying in a car crash when I was seventeen. It’s like every cell in my body stops doing what they are supposed to do and issue a simple command: stop. I can’t do anything but listen.

This time around, God shut me up for a while. I left the church I served as a pastor for five years and I did not write a single thing about it. I finished my doctorate and wrote neither jot nor tittle. I found my dream call and nary a peep was issued from someone who in the past has written multiple blogs simultaneously.

I’m not the person I was six months ago. Not in some rather significant ways. I’ve found my work and my call, and the words are returning. But the blog is going to change. For a while there, I got too wrapped up in the craziness that is our national political reality. I spent too much time on Twitter, too many hours reading hot takes about hot takes. Once again, an overwhelming sense of stop.

I’m done with bullshit. My reality is now heroin overdoses, domestic violence, chronic homelessness, systemic poverty; but I’m surrounded by some of the most giving, dedicated people who believe in local solutions involving local participants. And I’m realizing that if I can’t see God clearly here; if I can’t be real with people about what hope realistically looks like in a place that’s seen as a dumping ground by those in power, I believe in a fairy tale.

That’s the new blog. That’s all I care about now. This place and the role I have been called to have in it. I’ve gotta bear witness; I have to process the only way I know how: transparently and unabashedly.

The blog is back, baby. Tell your friends.

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