I remember a Sunday last summer – at least I think it was summer, because we had two services at the church – when a children’s ministry teacher caught up with me between services and told me I had to preach longer in the second service. See, I had the privilege of preaching the second (I think) message in a sermon series we’d just started, and I have a way of being pretty…concise.
And then I stumbled upon my old blog, and I realized I’ve come a long way! Ha!
Here they are for your reading enjoyment. DISCLAIMER: I was young, I don’t agree with everything I wrote back then, and I laugh at them, so feel free to laugh at them yourself!
But I’ve been musing on this question of why I write, and so I’m treating the present post as a bit of a prompted, open-response type.
I started writing back when I was 18, I believe. I kept a journal because there was a lot in life I needed to process. I was young, working a job that someone else got me, trying to figure out whether or not I wanted to go to college, trying to decide what I wanted to do in life in general, but especially within the church. Sometimes it seemed like I was surrounded on one half by some people who wanted me to stay in a rut with them and hang out with them every second of every day, and on the other half by great men and women in the faith who saw it necessary to call me up to bigger and better things. I really needed some honesty.
I treated my journal initially as straight-up, one-on-one time with God. The journal was basically my prayer. Journaling, upon reflection, is where I started to believe I could really, really be honest with God and tell Him exactly what was on my mind, irrespective of whether or not I was right. Then, as I began to experience how freeing it is to be honest with God, I decided I’d take some of these thoughts (definitely not all) public and start a blog.
It’s so funny to read them – in some ways it breaks my heart, in some ways I’m encouraged and I realize that these were some very formative years, and in others I’m just forced to laugh. But regardless of my response, I realize that I’m glad I did it, because from 2008-present, I have a record of some of the things I’ve learned, some of the things I’ve been through, and I can see just how gracious God has been. It’s amazing, really.
So the first two reasons I write, to summarize, are to be honest with myself, God, and others, and to provide a record of what’s been going on, and it can subsequently serve as a testament to God’s grace.
Third is that, quite simply, I enjoy it. I enjoy the process of taking an idea, something I’ve been thinking for either months or maybe for a few minutes, and banging it out on the keyboard or in my journal. But that leads me into my fourth (and for now, final) reason:
I write for response.
Not selfishly, I’m not saying I write to get a rise out of people or that I write and depend on other people to read my blog. If nobody read it, I’d still do it. I love when I write something and someone comments and says they’d never thought of something that way; I love when I write and someone says it was helpful; I even love when someone says they disagree or if they have to correct my thinking; I love when I write and I find out that people have been reading because they’ll send me a message of encouragement or a message telling me how encouraged they were by something I wrote; and I love when someone simply tells me their thoughts were provoked. I’m good with all of that. I love writing, and I love people, and I love when writing has an impact on other people.
So I keep writing and keep writing.