Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Getting Rid of the Lines


Fifteen years ago, I went on an interview for a writing position in center city Philly. After my interviewer had spent some time looking through my portfolio, she laid one of my pieces on the table in front of me, and asked if there were anything I’d change about it.

Now it’s important to note that this was many years before God reached out His hand and offered me the sacred opportunity to begin finding freedom from my perfectionist thinking, and walk through life authentically with Him. So in that season of life, I was well versed on interview tactics, such as how to answer the “What’s your greatest weakness?” question in a strategic manner that would essentially highlight a strength. Exude confidence without sounding arrogant – I knew the drill.

And when it comes to my writing, I’ve always been a perfectionist. Not just with the words, but with their context of design and presentation as well. Even since I’ve started blogging, I’ve had to try very hard – to NOT try! (Oh yes, God surely smiles when I have those conversations with Him. Frequently.) So like any other piece of mine, the piece that my interviewer laid on the table I had certainly worked through with a fine tooth comb ad infinitum.

But there was something about the way I designed this piece that seemed like a stellar idea when I started, but ended up being something I didn’t like at ALL when it was wrapped up. My use of lines.

I had created a thick line or bar under each of the subheadings. And during this early season as a writer, my appreciation for simplicity in life began to emerge in my writing. And that meant lots of white space, lots of room to breathe on a page. And for me, it also meant implementing a minimal-to-no use of lines. (I’m actually incredibly line averse now. That's right, I’m quite skilled at going from one extreme to the other, thankyouverymuch.)

So back to the actual interview. When she asked me what I would change about that piece, I broke my own rule {at the time} by revealing my humanity and gave her an immediate answer:

I’d get rid of all the lines.

It was completely out of character for me to be so transparent in an interview. But oh, what a foreshadowing of what was to come. Because you know what? It recently occurred to me that I’m making the very same change here on my blog. I’m getting rid of the lines . . .

In my early posts, like blogophobia and i am the older brother, I got my line feet wet. I had seen other bloggers strikethrough their words in order to say what they really felt, but what most people wouldn't want to admit. And the words in strikethrough always offered me a great “I can so relate to that!” laugh. They still do.

So after feeling a little more comfortable in my strikethrough skin, I found it a handy tool as I struggled to take a retrospective look back on 15 years in The Fixer-Upper Marriage. I was able to share my struggles – safely behind the lines.

And then came my strikethrough frenzy in because pride cometh before the fender bender. Apparently, there was no holding me back at that point. I mean really, just look at it – it’s practically the attack of the strikethrough font! So much wrestling through thoughts and feelings that I shared . . . well, sort of. At a safe distance, of course {behind the lines}.

And I didn’t realize it at the time, but just like the piece that my interviewer laid on the table 15 years ago, that blog entry was the one that the Lord laid on the table in front of my heart, and asked me how I’d like to make my writing better.
Because I started getting rid of the lines.

Okay, so I still pulled ‘em out a couple months later when I shared my less-than-stellar mom moment in flying shoes & dysfunctional status quos.

But for the most part, the lines are disappearing here at Truth in Weakness.
I’m not hiding behind the strikethrough, anymore.

And I don’t know about you, but just like I love lots of white space on a page, I am loving the emotional breathing space that we’re gaining as I step out from behind the lines!
Room to exchange even more freedom together.

But it's hard to get rid of the lines, isn't it? To risk being that vulnerable? Solid yellow lines get cemented into our hearts telling us that we're only safe within the lines (or behind them). So out of fear of our soul colliding with another and ending up crushed in pieces on cold asphalt, we do not cross.

But I've said it before, and I'll say it again:
The best of friendships are based on truth, not pretense, and offer a safe place to be real and vulnerable.

However, I've also reminded us that as we boldly take steps toward authenticity, we are not defined by how others respond to us in our vulnerability. Our identity must be anchored in Christ alone or else this whole transparency thing becomes one big threat.

So what lines are you still hiding behind, friend? In what areas of your life is it hard to let go of the lines? Oh, how I understand. Because I still have my own lines in life. But with my soul resting safely in the loving arms of Jesus, I’m continuing to get rid of them.
One strikethrough at a time.



Linking up with Beholding Glory for Faith-Filled Friday

23 comments:

  1. I love this line (heh!): The best of friendships are based on truth, not pretense, and offer a safe place to be real and vulnerable.

    So great to see you and your writing grow and mature! I'm thrilled to see no strikethroughs in this post. :D

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    1. thanks, joy -- i appreciate that encouragement. and btw, wanted to mention that i usually link up in the morning, then read & comment in the afternoon. so if i seem MIA on the other blogs, i haven't gone rogue -- you're just beating me to the rounds. of course, the "good girl" in me had to clarify that b/c the thought of ever being misunderstood is too painful to bear (bleck!!). oh wait, that shows how green i am as a blogger, doesn't it? well, ignorance is bliss, so i'll enjoy it while it lasts. ;)

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  2. I


    Like


    White


    Space


    Too!!!

    And

    I

    love

    you

    dearly

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    1. HAA!! you crack me up . . .
      and i love you dearly, too, friend. honored to be called your friend. and i'm rejoicing over all the goodness the Lord has just up the road for your family!! ((hugs))

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  3. Lines? What are those? I have no lines, thankyouverymuch! :)

    Heehee.. Although I've never done the strikethrough before, I do enjoy them on other blogs.

    I think my habit of choice is putting new phrases on different lines and bolding them. I love to bold things. Bolding is fun! Now please don't run to my blog and count how many things I've bolded.

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    1. Hmm.. I had an LOL at the end of that and it got cut off!

      LOL :)

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    2. oh yes, i'm a sucker for the hard return plus bold -- PLUS italics! AND a color change! . . . LOL! so in reality, i've probably simply transitioned from the one to the other. i mean, if i'm not gonna do the strikethrough lines, then i gotta throw the rest of 'em in there, right? ;)

      i was challenged when my sister, lily (who wrote the recent breathe! post here), was "talking out loud" about some formatting questions i had re: her post. and she made a passing comment about not wanting to be others' Holy Spirit, even in the formatting. that she wanted to let the Holy Spirit cause whatever part of the piece He wanted to pop out in the reader's heart & mind, rather than her making that call & prompting it through formatting. and i really, really appreciated that insight.

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  4. I love your comment that our identity must be solidified in Christ or our 'transparency' becomes a threat. I am one who, because of growing up a Third Culture Kid, had closed my heart off to opening up. It has only been in the last few years that I have opened my heart to let people in. That led to being hurt. But, it has been my identity in Christ that has allowed me to continue pursuing relationships.
    Thank you for visiting my blog and for your encouraging and sweet comment.
    I have an On Your Heart Tuesday blog hop that opens tonight and would love to have you link.

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    1. i'm so honored to have you stop by, shanda. and i would have never guessed that opening up is a newer venture for you (because the way you so beautifully pour out your raw authenticity on your blog). such sacred evidence of the Lord's powerful work in your life!!
      and thanks for letting me know about your blog hop! i was delighted to join you all last night, & truly enjoyed surfing throughout many of the other bloggers challenging and inspiring pieces.
      blessings to you, sweet sister,
      tanya

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  5. Hi Tanya - you certainly have a way with words. Such a great blessing. So glad to find you. I'm your newest follower
    God bless
    Tracy

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    1. oh YAY! i'm so honored to have you join me for the journey, tracy!

      and i gotta tell ya -- you totally drew me in yesterday with the sold sign pic & story about your various moves -- b/c my husband is a real estate agent. so i have second-handedly been a part of others' buying and selling journey for every day of my entire marriage. i know it's completely different when it's your own experience (& we've certainly had quite a journey of our own as well!), but the reality of the challenges & triumphs of that incredibly-significant realm of life is, well, part of who i am. (wow, i have never ever thought of it that way! thank you, Lord!)

      thank you so much for the gift of your transparency, tracy.
      sweet blessings to you, fellow sojourner,
      tanya

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  6. Wow it really was providence that led you to that post I wrote about being a broken vessel. I am exactly like you. I wrote that post and deleted it several times before I finally pushed the publish button. I am so good at living behind the lines and putting on the good face. Good enough to dig myself into a nasty little hole and leave myself feeling rather icky inside. You are so right about living a more transparent life. It was just what I needed to read. I love it when God puts exactly what we need right in front of our eyes. He is so cool like that ;D

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    1. i truly appreciated that you had the courage to trust the Lord by pushing the publish button!! b/c there are SO many who feel so broken & shattered on many days (including myself!). and in your sharing, you offer others an invaluable gift -- "permission" to be human, to hurt & be broken, & to be real with each other about it, rather than suffer alone in silence. AND to remind us all of the Hope we have, that "in the hands of the Potter we can be beautifully remade!!" so i rejoice with you in the courage He gave you to share, friend!

      sweet blessings to you as you seek to get rid of the lines, too, fellow sojourner,
      tanya

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  7. I am glad we are blog friends. :) I love this post! Learning to be vulnerable... And for the beautiful way to remind of truths - like this one, which you keep repeating to me ;) "as we boldly take steps toward authenticity, we are not defined by how others respond to us in our vulnerability. Our identity must be anchored in Christ alone or else this whole transparency thing becomes one big threat."

    Thanks, friend!

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    1. the more i bump into you in this blog world, jamie, the more times i end up with a smile on my face. really, your heart instantly drew me in with the very first post i read of yours where you were struggling with how to be transparent while maintaining relational integrity. and then everything since then is just an expansion of the original appreciation i had for you -- like the other day when i read that you, too, have an aversion to coffee!! :)

      and all this truth in transparency stuff? you say i keep repeating them to you, but in reality, i'm repeating it all to myself!

      hugs to you, my wonderful bloggy friend,
      tanya

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  8. Hi Tayna:

    Lots of food for thought here. Causes me to ponder what lines I'm hiding behind.

    Thank you so much for visiting me at Reflections of His Grace.

    Blessings,
    Joan

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    1. hey there, joan,

      thx so much for visiting truth in weakness recently. and i'm honored that the Lord used my words to offer you food for thought re: the lines we hide behind in life.

      (abd apologies for not dropping you a note sooner! b/t spring break & a sick hubby, i've had the blessed opp to breathe more life into my two guys than my blog lately.) :)

      would love to have you stop by again sometime.
      blessings to you & yours,
      tanya

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  9. This is great! It would seem it would be easy to be transparent in writing because we aren't face-to-face with people, but blogs can sometimes be "everything is perfect" in my world. I, too, am learning to let go of the lines. White space isn't so bad. lol :)

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    1. hey friend! always great to "hear" your virtual voice.

      i've def. found what you said to be true -- it's much easier for me to be transparent in my writing than in person. b/c if people don't share my love of digging down to the dirty core, or if it's new territory & they (understandably!) don't know how to respond, they don't have to! LOL. (and i don't have to see that perplexed look on their face. hehe) besides, when i write, i have time to think before i speak. but hey, i figure that it's the first step, right? the more i practice it here, the more i'll practice it F2F.

      that being said, i don't think we're called to spill our guts in every relationship, either. God has designed transparency to be a freedom-filled gift among kindred souls, not to be a chain around our necks. so praise God we're bound only to Him, not to transparency!

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  10. Hey Tanya! So glad that I could find you at Laura's...I am up to so little blog visiting these days as I am preggo sick and preparing to move overseas so...just a run-of-the-mill season, eh?

    I liked this post and seeing the perspective of someone with an 'official background' in writing. I was a Math/Spanish major though I always loved to write, but I think not pursuing writing as a career {at least early on} was a way of helping my writing stay just that...my writing--my heart:} And then after an 8 year silence I started to blog and I've found the truest voice in vulnerability and I can't go back:} I've probably shyed away from the formal publishing process, in part, because of the editing and fine tooth comb-ness that can just kill me & the passion to just write. So, there, there's my response...

    so nice to visit...blessings always!!!:}

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    1. hey there, abby -- what an honor to have you visit recently. my visits to your blog have always left my soul filled with life-giving Truth, so thank you for that gift that you so freely share.

      and i could relate so much to what you shared about intentionally not pursuing writing as a career -- that's exactly how i feel about my love of photography. i never wanted to risk having the formalized process & accompanying pressure taint the passion. and it's probably worth noting that my writing career was in technical writing -- so essentially fact-based instruction. and while i still love life's little opps to write clear & concise instruction (whether helping my folks navigate a task on the computer, or leaving a note for my son re: a new chore), what a thrill it has been to invest in people's SOULS by pouring out my heart on the screen, hashing out in words my desire to run to the Cross amidst the big & little stuff of life.

      and speaking of the big & little stuff of life! blessings to you & yours as you embark on your wonderful opportunity to take the message of the gospel overseas! and a big CONGRATS on the precious new life the Lord has blessed your family with!! and i hope your preggo sickness starts to let up a bit for you.

      take care, abby, & i look forward to continuing to sojourn with you,
      tanya

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