Skip to the main content.
Donate Need help?
Donate Need help?

writers-block_ellieA few weeks ago, I had my worst case of writer’s block ever. I asked for prayer from pretty much everyone I knew, and many of you were kind enough to pray for me. I’m grateful. The July edition of the Mission News is out. Yay! (Seriously, I think confetti and cartwheels might be in order.) The words never did flow smoothly, but one morning, I woke up with a fragment of an idea and, bit by painful bit, it grew into the newsletter cover story. block-thumb

Illustration: writers-block_ellie

So, thank you for entering into the struggle with me.

Unfortunately, here’s the thing about deadlines…there’s always another one. But, before moving forward with the August newsletter, I thought it might be a good idea to ponder what happened last month. Why was it so maddeningly difficult to do my job?

calvin-hobbes-writers-block

Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson

At first, I thought it was the enemy, that he didn’t want me to tell the story. The enemy and his minions may have been distracting me, shooting holes in my confidence, giving me a painful crick in my neck, but ultimately, God is so much BIGGER than Satan, and I had so many people praying for me. I don’t think the enemy was my main problem.

My second suspect was my own pride. Sometimes I psych myself out in my desire to do a good job. Yes, I want to do excellent work for God and to honor the person whose story I’m telling, but when I’m totally honest, I also want people to think I’m a talented (OK, amazing) writer. For me, the answer to combating pride is to put my fingers on the keys and force them to move – punching out letters, which turn into words and sentences and pages and pages and pages…of not very good stuff.

At this point in the process, I was becoming borderline (a tad bit past borderline?) obsessive – upset stomach, insomnia, neck and shoulders stiff with tension – and my thoughts were spiraling downward: You’ve lost your creative touch. You’re never going to get this written. You’re going to lose your job. I approached the computer with dread and did the only thing I knew to do – try harder.writers-block 3


None of the resulting pages and pages did justice to my subject – this beautiful, complex woman who had graciously/kindly/ painstakingly shared her life with me. Starla put her story in my hands, exposed secrets which would have been easier to keep to herself. She trusted me. I really didn’t want to let her down.

At some place way past the eleventh hour, God met me. I can't put it into a neat package for you (or for myself), and that's the whole point.

"Marketing," as an industry, is all about neat packages, but people's lives don't have crisp corners and frilly bows. I may be part of UGM's marketing department, but ultimately, I work for God, and his primary concern is not open rates or return on investment. He's way more concerned about the state of my heart: Am I compassionate? When I listen to Starla share the trauma of her childhood, is my heart wrenched? Do I suffer with her? And, bottom line, do I believe that his love can make a difference? That there is healing and wholeness no matter how deep the wounds?

Those are the questions with which God calls me to wrestle - on deadline and off. As my counselor told me recently, I am the guardian of the stories. The stories matter. The people matter. The truth matters. My real job is to tell the truth.

~Barbara Comito, UGM staff writer

Expo '74's legacy: A reflection on homelessness in Spokane

3 min read

Expo '74's legacy: A reflection on homelessness in Spokane

As we continue to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Expo ’74, I want to take a look back in time. As a high school student, I heard about how the...

Read More
Life Recovery Commencement: Freedom from addiction

6 min read

Life Recovery Commencement: Freedom from addiction

Freedom From Addiction Every June, we invite the community to Commencement, a celebration of the incredible successes of the individuals who’ve...

Read More
Gratitude In Action: A heart-to-heart message from Phil Altmeyer

2 min read

Gratitude In Action: A heart-to-heart message from Phil Altmeyer

Give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) I’ve always marveled that one of the things God wills for our life...

Read More
Hypocrite

Hypocrite

My teenage daughters told me the other day that they grew up thinking “hypocrite” was a bad word, akin to calling someone a curse word. Funny how our...

Read More
The Blog Post You Don’t Want to Read

The Blog Post You Don’t Want to Read

By Barbara Comito, UGM Marketing Director Who would ever read a blog post on Total Accountability? My staff said they wouldn’t. (So I changed the...

Read More
Dreams that grow into forests

Dreams that grow into forests

Group gathered on a foggy Saturday to dedicate heart-shaped tree park. This blog post is a little different for UGM. It’s not really about the...

Read More