I Am NOT Eloquent


I wanted to write this article with a sense of confidence. I wanted to be witty and colorful and entertaining. After about three or four “garbage attempts” to dress up my point, mountains of analogies, and English degree standbys in hopes of grabbing your attention, I decided the best way to approach this article was to just write, plain and simple. After all, this is the point I’m trying to make.

“I am not eloquent” Exodus 4:10

Of all the human responses to God in the Bible, I relate to Moses’ response the most. There are those people whom God calls and without hesitation they say, “Okay, I got this, use me.”  I wish.

But no, like Moses, my response is, “You want me to do what now?”

My journey with writing has been all over the place, in elementary school it was fiction, in middle school it was poetry, in high school it was non-fiction, and in college it was that was not a term paper. I have always enjoyed reading about experiences similar to mine, but in the better and more beautiful words of other writers, authors, and wordsmiths. Until now, I have always written for myself or for a grade. This is was one of the first times I have been asked to write for others and the request was exciting but daunting.

Anxious to get started and a smile that could not be wiped off my face, with coffee and a comfy couch, I began to work. Opened laptop, opened Word and just like that my smile vanished. I pecked at a few phrases, read through a book of my favorite quotes, Googled writing tips, stared at the ceiling, went on Facebook, checked Instagram, played solitaire… Three hours later I had one quote, two status updates, 5 likes, and 44 words towards an article, all part of my highly efficient writing process.

The ambiguous “They” say that to write well, you must read much. I am sure that is true, but here is what happens when I read much, I write less. All those amazing “Greats” seem to have pretty well said it all. They did not leave much to improve upon. Yet here I am, just in case, like a lifeguard at the Olympics.

My sophomore year of college was rough: mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally—the four horsemen of exhaustion. At the apex of my apathy I called my mom and told her, I quit, that I was not going to turn another thing in and that I was probably already failing a class or two. Her beautifully simple encouragement was, “At least fail trying.” I wrote these words on a sticky note and it has been on my desk ever since. In the turning points of life, some people need to hear that they can accomplish anything, for me, I needed to hear that failure was okay provided I did not quit before the end, or in the case of my writing, don’t quit before I began.

I think sometimes when opportunity knocks we demand to see credentials. Then out of uncertainty, we start to make excuses and bar the door with reasons why we cannot accept. At least that is how it feels for me. Like Moses, I pile on excuses and think surely there is someone more qualified for the job, so why not use them.

The rest of my Exodus reference goes like this…

Exodus 4:10-15

But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” But he said, “Oh. My Lord, please send someone else.” Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses and he said, “Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do.

He says to us, “I know your abilities; I gave them to you. I know your fears. Trust me.” And when we do not, when our fears outweigh our faith He still does not abandon us.

There is a quote from a show I love that says, “When you can’t run you crawl and when you can’t do that you find someone to carry you.” Sometimes faith is like that. Recently I had one of those late night chats with my ceiling and said, “God, You opened this door. You’re going to have to carry me through it. I am willing but weak.”

When God calls you to do something He calls you to do it, but He stays with you every step of the way and gives you a friend, a boss, a mentor, an Aaron. We still have a job to do and it is a job that only we can do but He gives us help and confidence and occasionally, when needed, a kick in the pants.

So once more with feeling,

I will at least fail trying.

Emily Matteson, a bamboo farmer, aspiring travel writer, and a millennial

with a fresh voice on important matters.


QUOTE: I don’t often feel like a beloved child of God.

But I know that that is my primal identity

and I know that I must choose it above and beyond

my hesitations.

—Henri Nouwen, Theologian

EVENT: February 17, 2019  (6:30-8:30pm)

Heart of the City Lecture Series with Eric Metaxis

Thanks to Art Lasovsky for the photo from Unsplash

Emily Matteson