A few weeks ago, I went for dinner at the house of a couple from my home church. Prior to inviting me to their home, the wife had told me how she had been reading my blog. She had gone back to the very beginning and was reading a little bit every day. I was really touched that she would take the time to read through the last four plus years of my blogging – that she cared to find out what my last four plus years have been like and so we could easily engage in conversation and be all caught up by the time our dinner together rolled around. Spending time with her and her husband that night was delightful – I so appreciated finding out more about their family and connecting over stories, tea and cheesecake. And I felt understood.
There were several times she brought up particular stories or events that I’d written about on my blog – stories I had totally forgotten about. I remembered how I used to write about more personal issues. I used to write a lot more in general. I feel very much that my blog has become a scrapbook of sorts – random smatterings of quotes from books I’ve been reading, songs I’ve been listening to and were touched or encouraged by and pictures of the things I see. None of those things are bad – but I rarely write about heart issues anymore.
And I don’t know why. I do, however, have a hypothesis.
I think over the last four years I pulled back from sharing my heart often because of struggles (many that just seemed to be repeating themselves) and I thought that either a) people would be bored to hear (again) about that issue, or b) people would judge me, like I’m supposed to be some super missionary or something. Thinking about it now, I’m pretty sure that I’m the only one placing those expectations on myself.
Sometimes I read other missionaries’ blogs and they often only seem to talk about happy things – like life doesn’t present any challenges to them. I’m pretty sure that they have faced hard times but for whatever reasons they don’t write about them. Now I’m getting a bit judgmental and really, that’s not right either. But what I really appreciate – whether it be in the blogging world or with face-to-face contact with people – is honesty and transparency. Obviously there needs to be some discretion about what and when you share but it’s through being transparent and open that we connect with people. And we need connections with people.
Hudson Taylor. Isobel Khun. Adoniram Judson. J.O. Fraser. I could list many more. Each of these people wrote transparently in their journal entries and letters to friends and family. Their honesty in writing about trials and temptations has been such an encouragement to me: to know that these Christians – missionaries at that – experienced these things, held onto God during throughout their lives, and saw the Lord move in amazing ways in their lives and of those around them as well.
I know there are other issues at play here (my need to stop comparing myself with others for one). But I guess my point is that I want to be writing more. Sure I’ll probably still include quotes from books, videos from YouTube or Vimeo, or other random scrapbook type items but I hope that I can begin writing again about matters of the heart, personal convictions and thoughts on life. Let’s see how it goes…