"My husband is my most ruthless critic," said best-selling author Madeleine L’Engle who wrote A Wrinkle in Time. "Sometimes he will say, 'It’s been said better before.’ — Of course. It’s all been said better before. If I thought I had to say it better than anybody else, I’d never start. Better or worse is immaterial. The thing is that it has to be said; by me; ontologically. We each have to say it, to say it our own way. Not by our own will, but as it comes out through us. Good or bad, great or little: that isn’t what human creation is about. It is that we have to try . . ."
The above paragraph encourages me whenever I begin to write a blog post. Which is a good thing. Because really, what do I have to say that hasn’t already been written about before? And by better, wittier, more pithy writers than myself? There’s nothing new under the sun, right?
Even now, as I struggle with putting down words to this page, that quote comforts and reminds me that God created each of us unique. And yes, we live in a fallen/broken world where we face suffering, afflictions, trials and tribulations in various degrees, not to mention our own brokenness. But if we allow him to, God redeems the broken and painful parts of our personal history (Romans 8:28) so that we can tell our story (testimony) to others who may be encouraged in their own life’s journey. We each have to "say it," in our own way. In our own "voice." Because someone who might not relate to my words might really resonate with yours – infused with your own personality and experiences that are unique to you. And it doesn’t have to be written words in a blog. It can be in a song lyric and/or music you compose, in a painting or drawing you created, or a photograph that you took. Or a video log (vlog).
If we are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26) and God is Creator, then there is a part of us that creates too. What does that look like for you? Many in my family are artistic and find joy in painting. My mom also creates a beautiful garden, using her yard as a "canvas." I have a number of friends who write blogs (love their unique "voices" in writing!). Remember: "Better or worse is immaterial." We each have to "say it" in our own way, infused with our own personality and experiences, as God created us to be.
Of course, to share your writing (or any artistic creation) can be a scary thing, because it places you in a vulnerable position to be judged or misunderstood. But it also brings great opportunity to connect and heal. Words, especially, can be powerful – they can be used to build up and encourage, or they can be used with the intention to tear down and destroy. With great power comes great responsibility (thanks, Spidey!), and I take that seriously when I blog. Which brings me to the "Three Bs."
My son graduated from elementary school last week, and the school’s "Three Bs" for the students to remember and follow are good reminders for me as I write this blog, too: Be Kind, Be Safe, Be Responsible.
- Be Kind. As Pastor C taught in his recent sermon: "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loves us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (Ephesians 4:32-5:2, ESV). Sometimes it’s tempting to be unkind with words. May I always err on the side of kindness (unkindness seems to run rampant on social media).
- Be Safe. While I’m sure the school meant this to remind students to be physically safe by making good choices, I am relating this to my previous blog post about being a "safe person" for people to trust. I strive to dwell (be present) in grace and truth with my words.
- Be Responsible. Attribute quotes appropriately, do due diligence in research, proofread for typos, and aim to meet deadlines (I need to work on this one!).
If you are part of Hope Chapel Honolulu and feeling "nudged" by the Holy Spirit to volunteer to write a blog (or a guest blog post) for this website, why not give it a try?