Tuesday, December 30, 2008

from the archives: in the beginning, blog

I wrote this way back in the early days of blogging, as I started to realise what an absorbing, obsessive, self-promoting world I had potentially let myself in for. I took a day off blogging, and spent time praying and reflecting.

Some things haven't changed: same ministry, same temptations. Some things have changed: I have learned to pray about what I write, and those I write for, you'll be glad to know. But what really stands out in this post for me is the power of God's word to shine into the dark corners of our lives.

So what did I discover yesterday as I read the Bible, prayed and reflected about blogging?

I read 1 Corinthians 1-3 and was reminded:
- that God works through the foolish and weak, not the respected and wise;
- that I should discard "eloquence" and "human wisdom" in order to speak of Christ crucified;
- that those who "boast" should "boast in the Lord";
- that I am nothing - only God can make people grow;
- that the ministry I do will be tested on the last day. If it's worth doing, I will see the good results in heaven; if it's worthless, e.g. aimed only at my pride, it will be lost.

A blog is perhaps the ultimate exercise in egotism: me presenting my life & thoughts uninterrupted, daily (as if it were worth that much attention!), partly (let's be honest) in the hope that others may read it and be affected by what I write, and perhaps even (now I'm being really honest) bolster my ego through their admiration and respect.

I started this blog to get my thoughts on "paper", to reflect on things, to practise writing, to plant the seeds for future seminars and articles, to receive feedback about my ideas, to keep my brain fresh after a day with kids, to find a ministry which suits my family life and energy levels, to fill my over-active mind with helpful thoughts, and to encourage anyone who got around to reading it. Noble goals? Perhaps.

Oh, and to have fun too - and it has been a lot of fun!

But I've realised that, unlike when I lead a Bible study or seminar, I've barely prayed about what I write, or for those who read it. I've been neglecting reading the Bible, thus ensuring that most of what I write comes from my own head rather than from God (not that the blog has made me neglect the Bible, I'm pretty good at doing this on my own!).

It's easy to focus on trivialities - is my blog entertaining? is it clever? is it well-written? how many people are reading it? do they like it? - rather than on important issues - is it Biblical? is it Christ-centred? does it glorify God? is it helpful for me and my family? is it encouraging to others? The same temptations which face every Bible study leader, teacher, writer, and mentor.
So I've made a pact with myself: to read the Bible and pray for myself and you before I blog.

I've also decided to put sensible limits on my blogging: after all, my family and relationships come first. So if you notice a sudden drop in the quality of my blog, perhaps you should praise God that I'm giving more time to my family!

Blogging is no different to anything else. Whenever we minister to others - whether by leading a Bible study, mentoring someone, or speaking to someone after church - it is God's word and his gospel, not our wisdom and eloquence, that helps people to grow.

If I am proud, how it humbles me to know I am nothing, and God's power is everything. If I am discouraged, how it encourages me to know that God works through the weak. As long as I speak of his word and gospel, even in "weakness and fear, and with much trembling", he will powerfully change lives: of that I can be sure.



charissa said...

I found this blog very interesting. I have been drawn to blogging for a while and the more I read excellent blogs like yours and Nicole's the more enthusiastic I get. But I feel like most of my motivations are about self promotion and receiving praise from men. I had determined that many of the reasons I wanted to blog, like practicing my writing and being more reflective could be achieved by keeping my own private journal. So I found your reasons for blogging helpful to think about and your warnings challenging. I know that the discipline required to blog regularly would probably be beyond me, not to mention coming up with something worthwhile to say! I think I'll leave it in your very capable hands and stick to my journal for the time being. Charissa

Jean said...

And I found your response very interesting! Thankyou for your insightful reflections - and all the best with your writing. Blogging can be confusing and overwhelming, so I think you've probably made a wise decision for now ... who knows what God has in store for you? :)