Sunday, December 28, 2014

Why I Write

As I’m sure you are well aware, the internet has no shortage of bloggers. The ones who seem to generate the most interest are those who shout the loudest and invite the most controversy, often by grabbing you with a shockingly blunt headline. I sometimes ask myself where I fit in amongst the madness? What would I need to do to go viral? Everyone who writes wants to be read, and it’s easy to become discouraged when I consider that much of what I write here on this blog will not be read by more people than can comfortably fit in my parents’ living room. Sometimes, I’ll admit that I have asked myself if it is really worth it. Why spend so much time and energy writing for so few people? Should I employ shock and awe tactics to draw in more readers? I don’t think that’s what I’m called to do. So I provide this as an answer to the question and a reminder for myself: Why do I write?

1. It gives me something productive to do.
There are plenty of ways I find to waste time, and writing is not one of them. The more time I spend writing, the less time I am wasting away. Of course, this point in and of itself doesn’t prove its productivity, but by the time you reach #7 you should agree.

2. It exercises my creative muscles.
There is something satisfying in taking an idea and seeing it realized. I often have a general idea of what I’m going to write about with certain key points established in my mind, but a lot of pieces fall into place through the writing process. Often times things go in a slightly different direction. A good reason to write is because what you set out to write doesn’t already exist. I see no point in writing an article about something everyone else is already talking about with the exact same perspective. If I’m going to write about something, it’s going to have an angle that I haven’t seen elsewhere. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist, but simply that I haven’t seen it put in words. It should reflect the unique perspective of the writer.

3. It cements my beliefs
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, most of my writing is a reflection of my beliefs, particularly of my faith in Christ. I find that through the writing process, I challenge myself and the positions I’m taking to see if they stack up to the truth test. As I’m simultaneously writing and investigating what I’m writing, I’m either confirming what I set out to write, or making modifications to get it right. My objective is to give the clearest explanation of what I believe, so that anyone who happens to read it will get my drift. Hopefully they will agree, but at the very least, they should understand where I’m coming from. This process of “checks and balances,” so to speak, helps me to confirm for myself the points that I am making. It helps me to remember those things for future reference as well, in case they should come up in everyday conversation. I find that I am growing more certain of my beliefs, and more confident in sharing verbally with others as a result.

4. It’s a way for others to get to know me better.
Everyone who knows me can tell immediately that I’m an introvert. I tend to keep my thoughts to myself, but writing helps me to break out of my comfort zone. People who read my writing may be surprised to see that I have such developed views about really important topics. Seeing what I focus on in my writing reveals what I focus on in my mind. These things are important to me. So important, that I feel compelled to share.

5. It brings my faith out to the light. 
The most important thing I can share is my faith. My whole life I have shied away from speaking up about my beliefs. I have struggled with a fear of rejection and persecution. Through this blog, I have put myself out there so that anyone who I know who has a Facebook account can see (if they so choose to click on the link) what it is that motivates me. Whenever I see my friends in person, I know there’s always a chance that they have checked out my blog at one time or another. They have at least seen my Facebook posts, which in themselves should make it clear that I am a Christian. This also gives me confidence to be open and honest in personal conversations.

6. It might introduce one person to the Gospel.
The greatest reward for all the time invested in writing would be to know that just one person came to know Jesus Christ as a result. It may not happen directly, but it could even be that something shared here helped a fellow believer who then was able to pass along what he/she learned from reading. Perhaps some words of encouragement helped a Christian who was struggling with doubts or a particular issue that they didn’t know how to address. I believe that as a believer, the Holy Spirit can use me to speak to others. That doesn’t mean that I’m infallible by any stretch, but something that God has put on my heart could be just what another person needs to receive at a particular moment.

7. It is obedience.
If the Holy Spirit is working in me, and I feel a calling to write, then writing is obedience. It would be wrong, and dare I say, a sin to not share what God has put on my mind. This can be a little scary though, because there are certain topics I’ve been hesitant to approach for the fear of offending others. I need discernment to be sure that what is on my mind is from the Spirit and not the flesh. I need a good dose of humility and grace. It’s easy to begin to believe that I really know what I’m talking about and to take credit for any wisdom that gets through. Those of us who are believers are all a part of the Body of Christ, and as such we each have different functions. I believe that teaching through writing is a specific function for which I am called to serve at this point in my life. For others who read this, you may or may not be called to write. If you are, I encourage it for the reasons listed above. I feel I have grown a lot in the years that I’ve been doing this, despite the fact that my audience has been shrinking. The flesh has been discouraged at times, but the Spirit is pressing me onward. I hope and pray that those of you who read have been encouraged and strengthened in your faith. At the very least, I know I have. Thanks for reading!

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