In a Writing Funk

by Elouise

I’ve been in a writing funk this afternoon. The kind that catches me off guard, unprepared.

I spent the morning doing much-needed grocery shopping. I went early because snow was coming. Now it’s here, along with snow plows and salt trucks. I’m back in my warm house, dry, comfortable and clueless about what to write and about this funk I’m in.

It’s the kind that opens the door to self-doubt, second-guessing, insecurities and all the other little demons that come out to play. All they need is a crack in the door or the window, and they come running. All wanting attention at the same time.

Earlier today I read the February 20 entry in Amy Carmichael’s Edges of His Ways. It’s a selection of short readings, one for each day of the year. I don’t read it every day because I like her poems better. But this one came to mind just now as I was describing those needy little demons.

Here’s what she says about Fragrance. She’s thinking about fragrant ointment or oil such as that poured out on Jesus’ feet.

Have you ever tried to get something out of a bottle without taking the cork out first? Some people remind me of bottles with the cork in. There is something truly good inside but it is corked up. It cannot get out for the help of others.

Do you feel sometimes like a corked-up bottle? It is a stuffy uncomfortable sort of feeling, but some manage to get on like that for months on end, to their great loss, and the loss of all who have to do with them.

Dear corked-up bottles, do go and get uncorked! There is only One Who can take out the cork of self-love, or shyness, or sleepiness, or whatever it is that keeps you from pouring out for others all you have been given. He Who was always sweetness poured forth [Jesus] can uncork your bottle, and then all you are and have will be used in the joyful service of others.

Amy Carmichael, Edges of His Ways, published in 1955 by the Christian Literature Crusade, Fort Washington, PA

When I think of myself as a corked-up bottle, I have to admit I have an assortment of corks. I’ve already mentioned pride in this blog. Also, as I recall, self-consciousness. And then there’s always that good old standby—being an introvert! Oh, I almost forgot the overwhelming desire to go to sleep. And fear that I’ll run out of things to write about.

According to Amy, there’s only one cure. Jesus. Why Jesus? Because Jesus has already poured out for us all the fragrance he had to offer. ‘Wasted’ on us, and on people just like we are. Maybe so we can ‘waste’ ourselves on living and telling the good news?

Here’s how I see it: Better to get uncorked on behalf of myself and others, than to uncork in myself those needy demons that don’t know truth from lies.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 21 February 2015