I’m big on resolutions.
I know some people don’t like them at all, and I’m not saying they’re for everyone, but I like me a new year when I can pause and say: “Here’s to a new shot!” and then I like making a list of things that I want to work on. I know that not everybody feels this way about resolutions, because every new year when I gather with friends and say “Sooo….what are everybody’s resolutions?” they all start to groan. Perhaps you are groaning as well.
Earlier this week I decided to look in my journal for my resolutions from last year. They were:
- Eat less meat.
(Total fail on that one – but I will not give up! This year I will not just check vegetarian cook books out of the library but USE THEM!)
- Drink less calories.
(She types as she sips her Pepsi….)
- Start a blog.
Well, if I do say so myself, one out of three ain’t bad.
I was hesitant to start a blog, for a lot of reasons. The main one was that I felt like I didn’t really have much to say. Now, for any of you who know me, of course I always have LOTS to say…but I felt like I didn’t have anything SPECIFIC to say, no particular message that I had to bring to the world. The blog actually started as a means of follow up from sermons. I realized that a lot of people from our church often couldn’t make it on a Sunday, and the blog would be a way to help keep people from Mount Hamilton connected. But it’s turned into more than that, which has been quite a surprise to me. As I look back on this year of resolutions, and blogging, here are a few of things that I learned/surprised me/delighted me about this blogging journey:
- Non-MHBC Readers. I was shocked when people outside of the church started reading it. I thought it would mostly be MHBC folks wandering in, and I’m still surprised when friends from high school or neighbours or friends of friends tell me they read it. I am also shocked that I have a regular reader from somewhere in Brazil (Hello!). Now, don’t get me wrong, this blog does not have some huge following. Rachel Held-Evans I am not. Still, I’m honoured. I’m touched every time somebody tells me they took the time to read, or likes or shares on Facebook or comments. This brings me, however, to lesson/thought/surprise number two…
- You can’t pick your audience. Sometimes people tell me they read a blog, and I’m like “Yelp! I never pictured YOU reading it!”…and then I try to think of anything I might have said that might freak them out or that they would disagree with or that would make me seem like one of those “crazy pastors” they would want to avoid. This was actually the other big reason I wasn’t sure I wanted to blog: I didn’t know if I could handle the criticism, potential controversy, or judgement that could come with it. I had to learn about halfway through this year to just let God do what God was doing. I would write what I felt like I should write and then I had to (homage to popular 2014 song…) “Let it go…let it go….” and set the blog free to the universe. Yes, some people wouldn’t like it. Yes, some people wouldn’t like me. Yes, some people would maybe think that I was trying too hard. But it is what it is. And, mostly, it has been so cool. The really fun thing about not picking your audience? When someone totally unexpected says: “I really appreciated what you said on your blog about….grieving…hope…God…” And it’s about something that I never would have talked to that person about otherwise. I thought God was going to help with sermon follow-up, but He had a totally different thing in mind. It has been a shocking/slightly scary/delightful surprise.
- The blogs people read. Over the year I have developed a bit of a knack for predicting what blogs will be most popular. The most popular posts by far are the ones where I am the most vulnerable, honest, and real, or where I write about a controversial or emotional topic. For example, one of my lowest posts was “Twelve Thoughts on Twelve Disciples.” I knew it would be when I posted it. My three highest? By far? “Thoughts on a One Year Anniversary,” “My Rant About Dying With Dignity,” and “What Grief is Like.” Perhaps you sense a theme.
So the thing is it would be easy for me to get sucked in, to seek the likes and the hits and the jump in the statistics section. I know how to do it. I know there are topics that make people more eager to read. But the thing is, some of my favourite posts are ones with the least number of views. When I write something, I want it to be because it’s something I’m feeling, and sensing is worth sharing – and not just because I want a higher viewer count. It’s tempting to get sucked into the desire to make the blog popular. God has used this blog to teach me that, like with all things, I am just called to be faithful. Not flashy. Not exciting. Just faithful. As I go into 2015, and a second year of blogging, I resolve to do the same: write because it’s on my heart, share because it means something to me, be open and honest so we can learn together, pause from writing when my life feels too busy, let it be what it is: another way to share where I see God and journey with a whole lot of cool people together.
My other resolution for this year? Work on my posture. I know, it’s not that exciting, but it’s actually a big deal for me. For any of you who have wondered, yes, I am aware that I slouch. I don’t know why, and I don’t know when it started, but it actually takes a pretty conscious effort on my part NOT to slouch. Basically, I have realized that when it feels, to me, like I’m walking around doing a back-bridge, or as if I’m prepubescent trying to stick my chest out as far as I can, that it actually looks normal. It’s hard to get my brain around, but it’s true. So here’s to a year where I straighten my shoulders, and (I type with great vulnerability, because I’m actually really self-conscious about it, and if people point it out to me then I can’t pretend that people don’t notice…) welcome you to remind me to do so, too.
Happy New Year, Friends. Thanks for helping make at least one of my 2013 resolutions happen!