That thing.

It’s 12:28AM. I have done this a handful of times, at least: mark the time of when I am writing. It is usually when I write late at night. I think that’s perhaps because I’m aware of what I should be doing–sleeping, instead of staying up writing. But should I? Should I really be sleeping when I have this burning desire to write, even if it means not getting as much sleep as I could?

I have long been obsessed with this concept of “should,” and doing whatever it is I “should” be doing at any given time. The tiring and confusing thing though, is figuring out whose voice determines what the “shoulds” are. Because there are multiple voices vying for my attention. And I wish I could say it was always God’s that wins out. But sometimes it’s society’s. Or my own. Or this person’s or that person’s.

Lately I cannot get away from this one, pressing should: write. Write a book. Blog. But girl, whatever you do, write. It is, I believe, a gift and passion and calling all balled up into one thing that flows onto computer screens out of fingertips furiously clacking keys, that spills onto pages out of pens pressed and swirling, squiggling, sliding across line after line.

They say the thing that keeps you up at night? Do that thing. Pursue that dream. And the thing that keeps me up at night–I know because I mark the remarkably late time–is writing. And maybe that means something, to pay attention to the things you’ll lose sleep for. But I think the things we lose sleep for are the things buried deep in the soil of our souls, by the One who formed and fashioned them. I think they are God-planted dreams. And I think sometimes we see them making their way to the surface when we sacrifice sleep and other things to do that one thing. I think, also, sometimes God tries to coax that dream to the surface, too, by giving us nudges that spur us to water it and give it some sunlight. I think that because that’s what He’s been trying to do in me lately. And those nudges have come in different forms. A thought, a feeling. Encouragement from friends. And it’s encouragement I’ve needed because that seedling has been ignored for far too long.

I haven’t blogged in a year. A year. I got sick and lost my job. I ended relationships and started new ones. And much of the time, I didn’t feel like writing. I didn’t want to expose my mess to the world. And other times I just got caught up with life, as they say. I moved and started a new job, and began working toward an ASL Interpreter certification. Writing fell to the wayside, got put on the backburner, and [insert every other cliche implying negligence].

But then I started thinking about how busy life had gotten–so busy that I hadn’t made time to write. I started to question if I ever would again, if my current life path would ever allow time for that. Oh sure, if I made time for it. But would I? And if I didn’t, would I regret it?

Yes. A resounding yes. I would regret not giving writing everything I could. I would regret not ever trying to write a book. I would feel as though I wasted a God-given talent and passion, and opportunity to share what He’s taught me through this medium in such a way that others can relate and learn, too. Yes, I would regret it. But what would it look like to start writing again? And how would I ever get from where I was, to publishing a book? I didn’t know. I don’t know. But I know I want to try, and trust that if this is in fact a God-planted dream, He will bring it to fruition in His way and in His time.

I believe He has already begun to do so. First, the questions, and the tugging. Then, talks with friends. I text back and forth with a friend about a current struggle. She tells me I have a way of putting what I’m thinking and feeling into words. I have not told her about my dream to write. I meet with another friend for coffee. I tell her my current plans of pursuing interpreting–but how I question if it’s what I really want to do, and how what I really want to do is write. She then tells me that before I even say a word about writing, she thinks to herself, “I bet Tamara’s a good writer. She should write a book.” Then I see my counselor. I tell her my dream of writing, but that I’m scared of failing. She tells me she’d love to read a book about a girl who grew up with Deaf parents. We talk about the fear of failure, of leaping. But writing won’t pay the bills, Tamara, I tell myself. Hence the sensible career, interpreting. We talk about doing both.

And then I read a blog post by another writer I admire, Ann Voskamp. She invites Jennie Allen to share her blogspace. Jennie writes about big dreams, dreams she dared not dream on her own. I tremble as I sense God whisper to me through it that I have got to let Him bring the dreams He has planted in me to light. But that will never happen if I never clack keys and bring a pen to paper. I admit, I am scared. I question who will want to read the words of a single 27-year-old who lives in a dorm, when there are already so many other voices out there commanding their attention.

And then I just remember. I remember the teen girl who doesn’t yet know her worth, doesn’t understand the weight of the precious price that was paid for her (do any of us ever fully grasp it?), who looks to find her worth in all the wrong places, and I want to write for her. I remember the college-aged girl getting ready to graduate from her Christian university without a fiance or even a boyfriend, feeling rejected and lonely, and I want to write for her. I remember the CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) who wrestles with her identity, knowing not which world she belongs in–Deaf, or hearing, or if it could be both? And I want to write for her. I want to write to her, and tell her that I know all of the pain and confusion and thrill and joy and wonder of what she is seeing and experiencing and learning. Tell her that I’ve stood where she’s standing, gone where she’s going. So there are times when I’ll want to say, “Hang in there. You’ll get through this.” And there are others when I’ll want to run ahead of her and beg, “Stop!! Don’t go down this road any further! I’ve gone down it, and there is only hurt waiting for you at the end. Turn around now and RUN the other way!” I remember all the girls who I was–amand think that if I could help them see more of Jesus, especially in the midst of their mess, then it will all have been worthwhile.

I remember that this is what keeps me up at night–this God-planted seed, germinating.