A couple of years ago, we went on a family holiday to Universal Studios in Florida. If you’ve ever been to any kind of theme park, you’ll know that the queue is part of the event. A bad queue is not fun and will involve getting progressively hotter in the Florida heat, a good dose of moaning and A LOT of snacks (the most important thing you will ever take to a theme park is as many snacks as you can physically carry in your backpack).
A good queue, on the other hand, will effectively build up the anticipation and excitement, so when you reach the front, it makes the ride itself even better. We spent a lot of time in both types of queues. The best queues were the ones where you could see the ride long before you got to the front. The Rip Ride Rocket rollercoaster is like that.
The start looks like this:
(Image from wikipedia)
Our middle daughter (then aged 9) was super excited about this ride. But as the queue crept forward, and the anticipation built, her courage failed. She lost her nerve and decided it was too much for her. We ducked out of the queue (me: secretly relieved) and sat on the other side to wait for the others. The problem was, of course, that once my daughter watched the others having the time of their lives on this ride, she regretted her decision. She wanted to do it too!
Of course, darling, if you’re sure! (me, in a high-pitched, not-showing-any-fear-in-front-of-my-daughter voice). As we climbed into our car, we clutched each other’s hands and chose our soundtrack for the ride (I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor seemed appropriate). Our car then climbed upwards at 90 degrees. Giving each other our best brave grins (and mummy wondering if this was really such a good idea), we finally reached the top. The car pauses to give you a couple of moments to properly regret your decision, then let’s you go.
My brave 9-year-old and I shrieked, laughed and sang all the way through 3,800 feet of loop-the-loops and corkscrews at a top speed of 65 miles per hour (thanks, wikipedia). And when we finally came to a stop, she turned to me, face shining, and said, ‘That was amazing, let’s do it again!’.
You may (or may not) have noticed that I haven’t written this blog for over two months. There are a few reasons for that, but it boils down to the fact that I lost my nerve. I ducked out of the queue. A few things happened recently: someone in my audience questioned why I write this blog and how it fits in with everything else I do, I launched an online course that only sold two tickets and our youngest has had some minor health challenges. All these things have affected my general mental health and wellbeing. But I wonder whether they were just catalysts – things that took away the guide ropes alongside the queue, rather than things that pushed me out of it.
You see, I KNOW I love writing in this space. Being vulnerable and authentic is important to me and it’s what I encourage others to do, because I know the benefits are huge, both for the person being vulnerable and their audience. I also know writing in this way is an important practice in my life, and the more I do it, the easier and more natural it becomes. In fact, the more I put my writing out there, whether that’s social media content, blogging or emails, the more I enjoy it and the freer I feel.
But it also requires nerve. Being vulnerable takes courage – I feel exposed, and there are many things that are outside my control. It takes time, too, and it’s easy for me to say; Well, I don’t have time to blog every week. I have so many other things I should be doing.
So, what I am doing back here now?
First, I looked at my priorities.
I ideally wanted to narrow them down to 3 (3 is always a good number for this sort of thing, I find), but the best I could do was 4. So here they are, in order of importance:
- My relationship with God. I want to understand more of who He created me to be and the relationship He wants to have with me.
- My family. My husband and children are so incredibly precious and I have the privilege of sharing life with them and caring for them.
- My writing. I know for sure this is my main superpower! Not in an arrogant way, but in the way I feel so at home and alive when I’m writing.
- My health. Physical, mental, and emotional. My body is where I live, so it needs to be in the top 4.
Writing a blog falls most obviously within priority number 3. But I also write about my faith, my family and my health. I started an Instagram account earlier this year which serves a similar purpose but focuses on priority number 1. (It’s https://www.instagram.com/coffeeandspacewithjesus/ if you’d like to follow me).
I remembered how much I enjoy writing in this little corner of the internet. Blogging is a lovely, gentle way to pour out my heart on the (virtual) page. I’m a word geek so I love the way words feel when I put them together and experimenting with images and analogies. This blog gives me another space to explore and indulge in my words!
An audience of one
I have often said I write for that one person. This is what I mean: I can look up the stats on how many people read this blog, but sometimes there’s one person who will let me know that they’ve found some encouragement in what I’ve written. Or perhaps my words have resonated with them in some way and made their day a little brighter. That’s the one person I write for and it makes it all worth it.
So many benefits…
Finally (4 is the magic number today!), I know that showing up here each week is hugely beneficial for me for many reasons. Writing helps me process the hundreds of things whirling around in my mind, so I can think more clearly and seek to understand how things fit together. Being in this space every week allows me to practice vulnerability and builds my courage and resilience. It also helps me commit to a habit (if you’ve read other posts, you’ll know I’m a big fan of habits and practices). And it also helps you to get to know me a bit more – the ups and downs, rough and smooth and backs and forths of life. And I hope this shows you that you are never alone, whatever you’re going through in your life.
So, I have stepped back into the queue. Not for a 51 metre tall rollercoaster, but for the practice of showing up here each week and sharing my heart with whoever would like to be here with me. If there’s only one of you, that’s cool.
And here’s my encouragement to you today: Is there a queue you would like to get back into?
What is it, and how can you take a small step back towards it today?
Let me tell you, it’s good to be back in the line.