Monday, October 27, 2014

Whispered Words

The problem with my blog is that people read it.

It's taken me a little while to figure out what exactly my deal is and why I've suffered from such a terrible case of writer's block every time I've tried to write something in the last few weeks.  Sure, I pulled out a zinger about how working at a church is making me fat, but I've really struggled to write my heart lately. After shoving three mini sausage biscuits in my face this morning at a fantastic event where the whole staff got to hear the incredible stories of how God is at work in missions across the globe, we wrapped things up the best way we know how - with a buffet.

As I snarfed down the jambalaya and eyeballed the cheese tortellini on my neighbor's place with a look that said, "Are you gonna eat that?" I got into a conversation with a co-worker who I really don't interact with very often. She works in student ministry so our paths don't cross much. Despite that fact, we somehow got to talking about me and my writing. This gal was just gushing about my writing talent and how awesome of a writer I am and how she just loves reading what I'm writing and I'm all like.....Whaaaatttt???

That's when it hit me.

They are reading it. All of it.

All the way back to 2008 when I was even more of a mess than I am now.
The posts where I vented about how my toddler was perfecting his audition for the role of Satan's spawn in the upcoming Wes Craven film.
My words of anger, depression, sadness, loneliness.
The seasons of severe struggle and the times when I was so self-centered and screwed up.
The posts from just last month when I was so self-centered and screwed up.

It's all there. Out there for the whole world and all my colleagues at church to see.

In the beginning I didn't care.  Blogging started off as a way for me to share with my family what was going on with the kids - diaper blow-outs, new teeth, first steps, joys and struggles, tears and laughter. It evolved into a way for me to express myself and I developed into a writer.

I didn't become a writer by sticking to stories about baby food, nap schedules, and the super-fun clothes I get delivered to me every so often. I became a writer by describing how I was seriously going to sell my kid to the circus if he didn't get this whole "nap time is for sleeping not ripping all the pages out of your books" thing down. I became a writer when I stopped whispering and started shouting on the page. I became a writer by pounding the keys as the tears came hot down my cheeks as I felt like I had to defend myself against hateful words. I became a writer when I wrote honestly, uncensored, freely and without fear.

I've lost that.

Can I be honest with you now?  Truly honest?

I'm a total fraud.

I do not have my act together.
I am not the kind of person you should look up to.
I am so deeply broken and messed up.
I am incredibly ordinary.

My mistakes make me cringe. My actions and inaction has hurt family deeply and somehow I still find a way to place the blame somewhere other than on my own head. As much as I try to resist the urge to gossip, it is a habit far too easy for me to slip into. I do a terrible job of representing my precious Savior in this world. The words of my mouth are rarely pleasing to Him. The meditations of my heart are even worse.

I used to write about these things and let the clicking of the keys be therapeutic. But now I've become so scared of the reactions to my words that my words have gone silent.

It never used to matter that my blog was public because it never really came back to me. Now I feel very exposed and vulnerable, afraid that anything I publish will be read by my office-mates, the lady at the reception desk with the super-cute scarf, my Operations Director, my Senior Pastor.  To be clear, I'm a huge fan of accountability and I firmly believe that it is a crucial element of effective discipleship, but I would argue that it is most effective, powerful and appropriate within the confines of a small group or friendship where trust has been built and nourished, where grace is allowed to flourish.

If there's one thing I've learned in my years of blogging, it's that grace is often scarce on the Internet.

There are also amazing, supportive communities that shower you with grace (I'm looking at you, Thrive Moms and She Reads Truth), but I think we can all agree that the comments from the notorious Anonymous can be incredibly dangerous and hurtful. I once came very close to deleting my blog because someone told me I should give my kids up for adoption because I was a terrible mother and they'd be better off with someone else.

I am not ashamed of my brokenness and failures. In fact, I have come to the place where I actually boast about them because it makes the gospel that much more personal and powerful. But am I really ready to get back to a place where I am clicking "Publish" every time I put the struggles of my heart into words?

Maybe I don't want to risk the sideways glances, the concerned emails, the seemingly harmless conversations that begin with, "So....I read your blog...."

It's a lot of pressure. That kind of pressure is turning something that used to be an escape into something that looks more like a snare. I don't want to just pick and choose and only blog the pretty things because I don't think that's authentic and it's just not the kind of blogger I am.

Successful bloggers are concerned with followers, affiliate numbers, traffic, sponsors, advertisers and networking. There are so many bloggers that I admire, that are amazing writers, that have the kind of blog that makes me wonder why I can't be more like that. I've tried and tried for six years to become that person and I just can't do it.

So maybe I just need to not be a blogger anymore.

Maybe I need to just cast off this fear once and for all and just become a WRITER. 

Whatever that looks like.

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