If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.
– Stephen King
I can’t really blog about blogging more without you noticing – or not – how much I actually have or haven’t blogged in the past months. But, although it is not nearly as much as I would like to be blogging (at least once a month to keep you updated on my monthly resolution progress of course!), I am glad that I am writing more and publishing more, because I have always found it difficult to know what to write within an online environment that is exposed to everyone and the world.
When I was younger, I would write diaries and stories and dream of keeping them safe so that one day, my own children could read beyond a life of their own, perhaps even recognise a bit of themselves within those lines. Yet at the same time, I didn’t want to reveal the bad things about me. I didn’t want to let it be known how badly I dealt with some situations, or the feelings I held towards certain people, or the pathetic dreams I would treasure in my tender mind. So I have always hesitated to be truly open in any of my writings.
Nonetheless, there comes a point in all of our lives where we will experience deep pain that goes beyond our understanding. And when that time came for me, I didn’t feel like I was properly equipped to deal with those situations in a godly way. But it soon became clear to me that I was not alone in this, and that the whole point of Jesus was so that our relationship with God could be one of continuity in which we return to Him again and again, despite falling and failing in our many sins. As a result, I felt driven to write about my growth in my own faith so that others might know that they are not alone in their struggles, and to provide a space of encouragement and practical knowledge about how to apply biblical gems to the struggle that is life.
And so this blog was born, though initially it does not show any real practical wisdom as that pain hit me with its full force. Part of me feels shame and fear that I might come across in those initial posts as being weak and foolish. But that would defeat the whole purpose – by grace I am saved because of my weakness and foolishness.
Lately, I have started reading the Word for Today again – it used to be part of my daily routine; a result of my young passion for a faith I had known all my life, but which was fully sparked up after heading off to Uni, joining the Christian Union and reading the book of Romans with a small group of people who explored and explained each verse with me. Laying down the Gospel in the simple truth that it is – namely, that Jesus died and rose again for my sins, had a profound effect on me. I look back on those days (though they are not that long ago) with deep fondness and envy, and wish their simple trust and eager faith back.
For, not long after that time, my spirit was crushed following a number of events. My faith was not gone, but I questioned our practices as Christians, and I resented anything that had ‘Christian’ written all over it, perceiving it as cheesy and hypocritical. It’s taken me a long time to realise that it does not matter what other people’s hearts contain – it is for God to deal with the heart. A worship song may not have been sung in earnest, but that does not stop me from being earnest in my own worship, whether it be through that song or on my own. At the end of it all, it is for us to deal with our own selves. We are responsible for our own behaviour, and we must always be conscious of what effect our behaviour has on other people, even if we cannot control others’ behaviour and attitudes. (1 Corinthians 8:9).
So I have slowly started trying to get back into a routine of praying (which, for a long time, I have found incredibly difficult and monotonous), reading the Bible, listening to worship music and talks, and learning from different sources about living a life for God. Just recently, the Word for Today had a series on knowing God’s Will, and it indicated that we need to read the Bible in order to know what that is. It seems so obvious, but something I need to be reminded of again and again. It’s a bit like the quote above from Stephen King; if we do not read (and learn), we cannot write – whether that be this little blog, or the story of our short lives.
And so, I have come to view writing for this blog as a kind of responsibility. I must seek inspiration, knowledge and truths about life and God to be able to reflect anything of value. I will start by trying to read more books – most importantly, the Bible. I will observe people and the relationships I have with those around me. My writings should be testimony of what I am learning, not just fanciful thoughts and dreams – though they may be part of a greater learning process. And I want to be honest – brutally so, in order that I may deal with my many (hidden) faults and perhaps reveal a little bit of normality to those who feel alone in some of their struggles.