When I first met my husband, I was into long-distance bicycle riding. I was also very busy writing short stories and submitting them to contests. Early on in our relationship, my husband realized that whenever I got stuck on a story, I would get a powerful urge to go oil my bicycle chain. After all, it almost always needed doing!
But was it the most important thing that needed doing? No.
So, when I want to do something –even something productive– instead of writing, my husband asks me if I’m “oiling the bike chain.” That shorthand cuts through a lot of crap!
Now that I’m writing full time, I find that I have numerous and distinct urges to oil the bike chain. In this chapter of my life those fall into two main categories:
(1) Finding out about ministry-related jobs and applying for them.
(2) Starting the Clutter-Clear business.
Why? In the case of ministry, I crave the steady paycheck and the title. It is not easy to know who you are, once you no longer have a title. It rattles me to not have a steady income. It was a little addiction I didn’t even know I had: I was addicted to being somebody and getting recognition and reward. “I am the pastor of such and such church.” Now if somebody asks what will I say?
At least ministry is something productive I can do, something which needs doing. Like oiling that bicycle chain.
In the case of starting a new business –which doesn’t have any particular cachet or income– I think the appeal is that Clutter-Clearing simply seems easier than writing. Throwing things away is relatively easy, but throwing words away? Yikes.
I find that as a writing project nears completion, I am besieged by doubts. What if it’s not good enough! What if I fail! What if my words are finally published and make me look like an idiot!
For me, right now, writing and editing is the task set before me, and it has it’s own spiritual challenge. Can I move through my anxiety to completion?
Hmm, I wonder about that bicycle chain . . . .