I have been complimented and admired for that by those who have particular challenges that I don't have. They see me as heroic when I am not at all heroic, just madly in love with a guy who happens to be a good egg. I believe these things I commit myself to are good, I embrace them, I love them, and grace flows over it all. If people only knew how unimpressive my part in the whole thing was, they might notice that my primary struggles are slightly less visible to the naked eye but not the less troublesome.
So, spiritual challenges come in different ways. And there's no doubt about it that we can sometimes be very good at hiding the less visible afflictions that prove the most disruptive to personal spiritual growth.
What does this have to do with blogging? Good question... where was I? Oh yes...
I found myself challenged yesterday to examine my purpose for blogging. I first laid out all of the noble and practical purposes and then I dug deeper until I got a little squirmy. Because I had to admit that most of what I write could just as easily be expressed privately to my husband, or my diary, or my God. It doesn't really have to be written here. What is it about me that wants all of you to hear my words? *squirm*
When I first started blogging, it was largely mercenary. I was very active on Etsy and other selling sites and it seemed that all the sellers I knew were starting a free blog. I didn't have any idea what a blog was but it was free and looked interesting, so I began. It was marketing really. And I don't see anything wrong with that. Legitimate business marketing is defensible enough. But my motivations changed very quickly.
The next stage of my blogging journey was a transitioning into a more personal expression. I didn't feel comfortable just marketing myself to sell something, as if I were a brand that everyone should love. I quickly discovered that I was far more comfortable letting my work sell itself through customer word of mouth (which it did fairly well) and separately exploring the new blogging venue as a way to share what I love in life.
The operative word there is "I"... it's still all about me. What I love. What I enjoy. What I dream. What I feel. What I think. It can easily become a huge ego trip. The temptation is to allow the purpose to rest largely on that foundation while laying out a host of noble reasons over the top to cover the ugly.
I continued to blog for a while with a remnant of the original intent in my heart. I had a lot of non-Catholic followers who were good friends from various seller venues. I love them dearly and was afraid of losing their affection if I came across too strongly with my Catholic faith and so I edited accordingly. I eventually got over that fear pretty completely and lost many of them (thought not all) and still maintain respectful, loving relationships with the others.
I do not have a single reason for continuing to blog. I can say something admirable like: I blog for the greater glory of God. Impressive, but if I am completely honest, not always completely true...
Sometimes, I am on fire with love of God and want to share what is in my heart.
Other times, it just feels really good to write out my thoughts and have someone affirm them.
There are moments when I am moved by frustration to address injustice.
And days I really just want someone to listen to something I thought of that struck me as kind of clever. I have written in order to promote my husband's book and my Etsy products.
I have shared personal photos and stories about my children because I am so grateful and proud of them.
There have been many times when I have been eager to share a good book or a useful product or recipe.
I have blogged simply for a moment of quiet distraction.
Or simply because I enjoy the physical act of typing and having somewhere to put the finished product.
I have written eagerly about my healthy lifestyle changes hoping someone can benefit as well.
I have also written in some dark moments when my heart was heavy and weary... just to reach out to the world or to remind myself of what is good and beautiful.
Occasionally, I have written specifically seeking accountability.
I have written also in anger and pride.
Each and every blog post I have ever written was written in order that I might be heard.
That makes me squirm... because I know that I have not always submitted my ego, my ideas, my writing, or my hitting of the "publish" button to the inspection of my heavenly Father. I have not always discerned well because I have not always discerned at all. And that is truly a walk of spiritual danger.
Everyone who blogs does so because they want to be heard. Otherwise, we would keep it to ourselves. It is whether or not we are placing that motivation entirely in the hands of God that makes all the difference. Scary stuff, really. Lord, have mercy.
I have toyed with the idea in the past of shutting down the blog and have actually done it briefly on a couple occasions. I'm not inclined that way today. I think I have enough noble motivation to justify it on the whole. But as always with a life of faith, there must be a constant call to conversion and renewal, and a continual discernment.
As a Christian, I must be able to truly and quickly say that I blog for the greater glory of God and then be willing to subject myself to Divine inspection at every moment. How is that different from our daily calling as Christians? It's not. It's just that speaking out in a public way presents certain unique spiritual dangers that must remain in our conscious daily discernment.
Blog on, Christian soldiers! I love to read your beautiful, thoughtful, and challenging words. And I will continue to pray that your keyboard is a constant source of joy to our Lord. If you could remember me in your prayers as well from time to time, I would be most grateful.