As one of my first posts since my blogging hiatus (I think it’s been since May that I last posted something of significance) I thought I would explain why it has been so long.
Previously when my posts started getting few and far between it was because my life got busy, or I had trouble thinking of things to post, etc. This time however, it had much more to do with fear.
Perhaps fear is too strong of a term. I did develop a wariness, however. I have frequently heard people discourage bloggers suggesting various reasons why blogging is a negative thing, sometimes because they simply cannot understand the concept of writing things about your life to an unknown audience. Others however, have suggested that it could harm my career, or provide ammunition for people who may at some point take it out of context to attack my character or work, or even use it to attack other people in my name.
Then there is the fact that it is very easy for a blog to become a personal venting ground that ends up bringing numerous by-standers into a disagreement that should be between individuals, or simply lends permanence to what was a temporary feeling that was eventually dealt with.
There were all these possible “dangers” and abuses that are evident, and some that have been reiterated to me by people who have reason to be concerned.
And then of course there is the fact that one of my own posts gave me a very real example of how easy it is to be misunderstood over the internet. A friend who I admire greatly, read my blog, and thought that I was making a distinction between Christians and “everyone else” when I used the word “others”, and ended up reading a blog that was very judgmental and discriminatory, when that hadn’t been my intent at all. I had meant to be talking about love, grace and understanding, and because of different circumstances and the filters it was being read through, it came across WAY different than I’d intended.
As I read my friends reaction to my blog, I was glad she had said something to me about it, even though her tone was angry, because then I was aware of how it came across. It made me worry though… If she had taken it that wrong, how many other people had read it and been offended or gotten the wrong idea, and NOT said anything to me? The idea was horrifying to me. Here I am, trying to grow in love and share my experiences and thoughts, and I am instead turning people off simply because it is done in a forum where I cannot tell if they are taking offense or what they are taking offense with! There is definitely something to be said about face to face encounters… It’s way easier to clarify what you mean because you can SEE how the person is taking it. They also have less permanence – someone isn’t able to print your words out and attack you with them (of course, the written word is nice in some ways, such as when you can go back and clarify what you said EXACTLY and what you meant by it).
So, basically, I took a hiatus because I take the dangers of being misunderstood, and misrepresenting or being misrepresented very seriously. Especially in light of the fact that on the internet there are so many people of so many different backgrounds to read your writings. People read things through the filters of their experiences. There is no possible way you can write something that everyone is going to understand. Even just limiting it to two groups – for instance, traditional church-goers or others who are seeking truth… So much is packed into their beliefs, convictions, pasts, etc that it is impossible to know how things are going to be taken. It seems so silly to even try to fit anyone into groups. Every single person’s interpretation of any given thing will be affected by their own presuppositions. For the world-wide-web, the ramifications are astounding.
How can that be contended with as a blog writer?
As you can tell, I had a lot to process. In light of all the concerns, it would almost seem wisest not to try.
Except… I have always seen something beautiful in blogging. They are like real-time autobiographies written before the author had time to gloss over the difficulties and mistakes, or had the benefit of hindsight to understand the benefit of their struggles. You get to be a part of someone’s emotional, spiritual, and even familial evolution. In a sense, you get to live with them, learn with them, even contribute to that growth… It draws me.
It also helps that, for me at least, one of the things that has contributed most to my spiritual growth has been from hearing about other’s lives, their struggles, yes, even mistakes. Sometimes in person, sometimes through the internet.
The idea that I could help others, encourage others by sharing my life, the lessons I’ve learned, online… It makes me feel that if this is something I could do. It is something that I should do.
I believe that God wants us ALL to be able to learn from each other. Always. Every single person has a unique view, a unique voice… a unique approach. If we are willing to listen to each other, to look past our misunderstandings, we could learn so much from every person that we meet. In person yes, most definitely!
But online is another place, at least for me, that I feel I should be sharing.
I’m still not sure entirely how it should work. I am going to be praying about it.
I don’t know… I guess I just wanted to say that as much as this can be a creative outlet for me, I still take it very seriously, as with all my interactions.
Just out of curiosity, what do you think of that? How seriously do you take each of your interactions? Do you think you are giving up what it is you have to offer? Are you being patient and purposeful in learning from those around you?
Wow. Just challenged myself with my own questions there. Time to go ponder…
Until next time,
May God Bless your socks off