Saturday, April 02, 2016
Why Do I Blog and What in the World Does a Blog Have to Do With God?
The bravest thing you will ever do
is to share your own story."
- Brene Brown, Daring Greatly
Someone recently asked me why I had a blog. The usual questions followed. What did I get out of writing it? Who was it for? And perhaps asked most importantly, was I uncomfortable in being so personal?
You see the wonderful, young and bright college student who asked these questions, Janelle, had been googling my name on ratemyprofessors.com. She wanted to take a class from me and wanted to find out how other students experienced me as a teacher. In her exploration process she also found this blog, Live Every day As If It Was Your last.
Quite politely, and in deep respect, she caught me after a conference at the college that we mutually attended.
I could tell she was a bit tentative and nervous, and she wondered if in asking these questions about blogging she was pressing too far into my life away from the college. However her curiosity won out over her shyness as she wanted to know more about me.
She mentioned, in our initial introduction, that quite by accident she stumbled onto my blog. She said she was fascinated at how complex and yet simplistic I was. I smiled at her knowing that this perceptive young lady was a lot like me. Curious, wanting to learn and know more. Wanting to get past the surface trivia about folks and get into who they really are. What makes them tick? What is their story?
After Janelle bravely put forth her question, I asked her if she wanted to meet at our Student Union Building in the Bistro, the coffee shop, and share a cup of java and some time to talk. She lit up like a Christmas tree and said, "Oh yes, you would do that? I just met you at this conference your club at the college was putting on." I told her that young minds eager to learn, made my day. The coffee would be on me.
So after hearing a bit about her, she instinctively shifted the spotlight on me, paraphrased each of the three questions she had asked and then expectantly paused. She was waiting, almost with baited breath.
So I started with the easiest question first:
Why write a blog? I told Janelle that I am an extrovert who processes everything. Some of that processing, and seeking to understand what the life lessons are in almost each life event, is just in my nature. I am curious. I love learning. I am a teacher and a student of life itself. That's how God made me so in trying to understand and process I do three things.
First, I pray about what is going on. What does the God I know and love and serve have to say about this? I read the Bible. I read Jesus Calling, and I put my life lessons and questions and wonderings in the Almighty hands of the One who made me. I listen for His answers to the questions I ask Him. I pay attention to His nudgings on my heart.
Second, I talk out loud about the life lessons that are on my plate. I usually sort it out verbally with my beloved husband Bert or my daughter Amy. What am I supposed to learn? How am I feeling? I can even be found to process out loud when I am by myself in the car or in the garden. I talk to God out loud and silently. This "sifting" process gives me clarity and intentionality. What am I supposed to learn from this, whatever it is?
Finally, I get my computer out, pour myself a cup of coffee, and say a prayer."Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, Oh Lord my strength and my redeemer!"
And then I start to type, led by God's spirit. Almost always after writing it all out I have a new understanding and new "aha!" that gets reflected.
After sharing about point #1, Janelle looked a little stunned and then asked question #2.
Who was this for? I said that initially I wrote for myself and hoped that at some point my family and grandchildren might read it. I was writing a blog because of God's leading to do so, but also to leave a legacy of who I am and what I believe for my grandchildren. I wanted them to know about more than just my surface level accomplishments and mistakes. Who was their Nana really? How did I feel about God? What were my priorities and values?
The fact that others are interested as well, and that I have made special friends through blogging, is just such an amazing and unexpected gift from God.
And finally Janelle asked even more tentatively,
Are you uncomfortable being so "out there," being so personal? I told her that I had promised myself in writing this blog that it would be honest, respectful and authentic. Congruent, if you will. It had to be personal for my family and grandkids to really know who I was. I also let her in on a secret. The older I have gotten, the more comfortable I am with just being me. If I am respectfully authentic and transparent, then I have been true to myself, the me God means me to be.
After covering that ground, Janelle asked one more thing. She looked even more hesitant to bring this up. "Do you know that you mention God a lot on your blog?" she asked. I smiled and said that since God was in my heart, in my soul and was my Savior that it just seemed right to talk about Him like I talk about all of the other important people in my life.
I said, looking right at her as if she was my own child, "He is everything to me. His love has changed my whole life for the better. My greatest goal in life is to know God, love God and serve Him in this world" And just so you know, I exclaimed, "He loves you too."
And right there, in that SCC Bistro, Janelle and I talked about Jesus, about who He is to me and who He could be for her. She asked if we might meet again to talk more about God. I said, trying not to smile too broadly, that of course I would love to do that.
I knew, then I really knew, why God had whispered in my heart to write a blog and share what was in my heart.
I feel so grateful that I listened to His whisper!
"If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old." ...