It has been over 3 1/2 years since I started blogging and sometimes I still wonder why I keep writing…
It has been a steep learning curve for me…and while I have learned and grown in so many ways, I still get frustrated. Posting still pushes me out of my comfort zone. I still have days when I question if this is what God wants me to do or if this blog makes any sense or helps anyone in any way.
AT THE CROSSROADS wants to be a place where we can share our stories within context of a caring and committed community Hearing stories reminds us that we are not alone, that we all have “stuff,” and that God can use brokenness, pain, and hurt for our good.
In the next several weeks several women are going to tell their stories in this space. They are going to be real, raw, and honest in sharing their past mistakes, lessons learned, and things they wish they knew.
I am one of those women and will launch this new series THINGS I WISH I KNEW… by giving voice to a part of the journey that led me here to the crossroads and this ministry.
Have you ever thought about what you would go back and say to yourself with the knowledge and experience you now have? Hindsight really is 20/20.
So in an effort to be transparent, vulnerable and open with you, my readers, (who mean the world to me!) I want to openly discuss what I wish I knew about writing and blogging before I began down this path.
1) It’s lonely.
It’s hard for me because I do not see you and cannot interact with you.
I am a teacher and a speaker first. Writer and blogger second. I feed off of the interaction with people. I get my energy and inspiration from looking at people’s faces, watching their expressions, hearing them laugh or sigh, and listening to their responses. Here in cyberspace, you are invisible to me. I am writing into the void. I know you are there (at least I hope so!), but I struggle with wanting face to face connection. I’d much rather sit down with you over a cup of coffee and talk about life. Sitting alone in my office (with the exception of my faithful black Lab, Nelly, at my side) can make me feel disconnected and isolated.
2) It’s hard work.
This has become a part-time job for me (without any pay or benefits!). On any given week I spend 10-15 hours writing.. And when I am not writing, I am reading and researching. I also spend time working on my speaking and teaching. I love all of it, but I honestly did not realize how much time and commitment it would take when I first started down this road…I saw it more as a fun hobby. I did not take it as seriously as I should have.
I am also technologically challenged. Yes, I know this has been a recurring theme if you have followed me for any length of time. But it literally cripples me at times. I learn how to do one thing and get so excited and proud of myself only to learn that there are a million other things that I don’t know how to do…and should be doing. It is hard work for this old dog who prefers pen and paper to learn all of the new tricks social media offers.
I am finally getting professional help in this area (no, not a psychologist…but a coach and web designer!), so look for new and improved changes in the coming months.
3) It’s scary.
I hesitate each time I have to click the “publish” button. And then I sometimes have panic attacks afterwards. Words cannot be unwritten. When I share my writing with the world, it is out there, and I cannot get it back. I fret over my grammatical errors (do not judge just because I am former English teacher!), my typos, my tone, my voice, my style, my content. I know I am not great writer. I struggle with what to write and how to write it. I want my writing to do something, be about something, and make a difference in people’s lives…and I wonder if it does.
There is a lot of competition out there too…and sometimes it feels pretty cutthroat. I get daily emails about how I should write better headlines, use more power words, offer my readers incentives, display better images, grow my subscriber list…and on and on. I constantly wonder if I am doing enough and it fills me with self-doubt. I read other blogs and realize how funny and witty they are. How they always have something new and fresh to say. How they make me feel, think, laugh & cry…and, from my perspective, I just don’t measure up. And on many days, fear keeps me from trying.
4) It’s not about me.
It’s about God and it’s about you. I have found great freedom in acknowledging this. It it precisely because I am too weak, too confused, too self-conscious, and too preoccupied that God has to show up. I have learned for me to be effective, I need get out of the way and allow Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to speak in and through me. Through writing He gently guides and corrects, allowing me to walk closer and depend more fully on His leading. It is a beautiful thing for which I am most grateful.
I used to worry about being original (but as Solomon reminds us, “there is nothing new under the sun”). I do not worry about that so much anymore. I understand that what I share may not be new, exciting or even important to everyone, but if it truly comes from God it will accomplish His purposes (not mine!). Writing is one way of figuring out the path the God has for me and how I can learn from those who have walked or are walking along with me. I try to be true to my voice and my perspective…and hopefully it speaks to someone out there.
5) It’s rewarding.
Some of you were pretty concerned that I wasn’t going to get to anything positive, weren’t you?) Many of you may also be wondering, so why in the world does she even do this?
I write because it challenges and stretches me. I blog because I truly believe God is calling me to do it. I am compelled, driven, and duty-bound to remain faithful. That is why I keep coming back even after getting knocked down.
Yes, it’s lonely. Yes, it’s really hard. Yes, it’s scary.
It is also out of my comfort zone at times. It causes me to doubt and struggle. People often don’t get it or don’t get me.
But the payoff is huge. Really.
And it doesn’t come from the outside. I refuse to measure my success by how many people read my blog, or like it, or repost it, or share it. (Thankfully I am too ignorant to even understand or follow all of those analytics!)
The reward…the true measure of validity and efficacy of what I do…comes when God speaks to you through what I have written.
When you tell me that something I shared was exactly what you need to hear that day.
When you connect with me and let me know I am not alone, totally off, or crazy.
We we link hearts, minds, and souls (despite the void) and encourage each other.
When you are inspired and challenged to love, grow, change, or serve.
When I see you walking in grace and truth and making a difference in your corner of the world.
Let me tell you…there is no greater joy than for me to see God working in and through your life as He does in mine.
And if He uses this little blog to do that in any way…well, then it is my privilege and pleasure to continue writing.
If I knew these things, would I have started blogging all those years ago? Maybe. Maybe not.
I just know standing on this side of these lessons, God uses it all for His glory and our good and for that I can be truly grateful on this #ThankfulThursday.
He uses ordinary, messy, and broken people of which I am one.
Continue to join us next week for guest posts by people who will share their stories of what they wish they knew or what they want us to know. How cool is that? God has brought so many amazing women into my life through this ministry. Women who have strong voices. Women who are making a difference where they are with what God has given them. Women who are not afraid to share where they have been and where they are going. These stories will inform, enlighten, touch, and move us to look beyond ourselves and our corner of the world to see things from a different perspective. You won’t want to miss their stories!
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