I read a blog post from a friend recently about finding your voice when writing. I have had a blog since 2003 (Xanga in those days). Back then I had many fresh new ideas and I viewed the internet as a place where I could explore themes and thoughts with a measure of distance. It was a sort of laboratory for thoughts and ideas that had been rattling though my head.
Back then, I felt like my life was always on display - my blog was just another way others could view and understand me. When I became a Youth Pastor, I got in the habit of airing my thoughts and feelings publicly to groups of people. As I had time, I maintained my blog as my laboratory.
As my time as a youth pastor started winding to a close, I found myself becoming more reclusive with my inner workings. I had learned that what I said online could impact my everyday life. Heaven forbid someone read my thoughts and base their entire perceptions of who I am on that blog post! I was worried. Worried that my faith journey would frustrate or confuse friends and family. That sharing my private thoughts online could lead to people I cared about misunderstanding me. Maybe it could even hurt future chances of getting another ministry job. So I stopped posting my thoughts online. The internet makes a pretty crappy journal.
I still read many, many blogs. I enjoy reading the musings of others now. These blog posts have the power to inspire me, challenge me, force me to look at perspectives different than my own. The best bloggers I know seem to have found a way to share the private thoughts of their hearts in a way that is true to who they are as people and the gifts and callings they have been given.
Sometimes when you're on an inner journey, it helps to write things out. To interact with those you know and those you don't know about your ideas. For me, I have been learning the beauty and sacredness of keeping my mouth shut and listening (for the most part). Its been refreshing not to have to share, defend, explain, or fight for my thoughts and opinions with anyone other than my wife and close friends. I'm no longer preaching. I'm no longer teaching. No one hangs (or pretends to hang) on my words any longer. Its been freeing.
But I love to think. I love to interact. I love to grow and learn from others. I value the gifts and insights that God has given me. And sometimes, I have something to say. Recently I have been thinking a lot about blogging again. To put myself back out there. I have things to say, and lessons to learn.
Next month, my journey takes another turn with the birth of my first child. I'm going to be a daddy. This thrills me and terrifies me at the exact same time. I look forward to sharing my continued journey with all of those who would listen. It's going to be an exhilarating year, that's for sure!