I am just going to go right out there and say it, blogging is not for the faint of heart.
I have friends who have dreams of writing books and starting blogs, and they talk about it with rainbows and unicorns dancing in their eyes. And that’s great… but that hasn’t been my experience. And this last week, was proof.
“What’s been the response you’ve received from your writing?” A friend from college asked me awhile back.
“It’s been amazing!” I told him,”…and terrible!”
He looked at me cockeyed, searching my face to see if I was joking.
Writing has been painful. The cost of authenticity has been great. Over and over, God has asked me to write, that’s clear. Not to write a book or anything fancy, just to put my truest self out there, in life and on this blog, and amid the (very real chance) I will be criticized.
And boy, have I been criticized…
Two years ago I wrote a post that we refer to around here, as ‘the post that accidentally went viral.‘ with a barrage of complete strangers, swinging their fists and casting cruel-amounts of judgment.
One commenter said this, which still to this day is fresh in my memory (the cruelest words always are, aren’t they?) He called me “Judas,” and went on to declare what a disgrace I must be to God right now, after having written such a post.
A plethora of others, would go on to correct my (many) grammatical errors. 700+ comments would soon follow suit…
I felt so unworthy.
…But God promised to be with me.
Everything will be fine, He said. Just keep writing.
And with bated breath (and after a good couple of panic attacks), I listened.
Another time (and more recently) I wrote about growing up with a father in full-time ministry. About what I wished he would have known. And how had he known it, how I believe it could have saved our family.
I had nightmares the night before it posted. Even still, nothing could have prepared me for the tears that would ensue in the produce aisle, when I received a phone call while at the grocery store telling me that my aunt had emailed my husband’s boss, a well known pastor, to tell him, I was ‘too young to know anything about Jesus’ and that she wasn’t even sure I was a Christian.
I was humiliated…
Again, God promised I wasn’t alone, and that everything would work out. Just. keep. writing. And again, I (somehow) found the courage to sit down at my laptop once again, and write.
Which brings me to last week, when my husband (so graciously) shared his side of the restorative process and owned his greatest failings, only to be publicly shamed on social media (by a friend of the family no less!)
“You are only sorry you got caught …a coward who was cornered,” they expressed, diminishing my husband’s progress. Going on to say, that they now saw him differently as a husband, father, pastor and friend. And that others would likely do the same.
As I read their words, I could feel my blood running hot and furious through my veins! At first, I thought I was pissed (what-with my blood running hot and furious, and all) but I realized that wasn’t the case at all…
I was heartbroken.
But of course again, God promised to meet me in my heartbreak. Reassuring me He would be with me and that even though it doesn’t feel like it right now, everything would be fine.
But before God could instruct me to ‘keep writing’ like He always does, I told Him His promises wouldn’t cut it! Not this time, and not after what happened….
If God wanted me to continue doing what He was asking me (and with it, constantly having to dodge hurled criticism) I would need more than just His promises to get me through!
Interestingly, Moses demanded the same thing…
Moses knew what God was asking him to do (to lead the people of Israel to the Promised Land) But like me, Moses often felt unworthy in that calling, and at times experienced anger and criticism while trying to fulfill what God had asked him to do.
God also made him a lot of comforting promises along the way saying, “I will personally go with you, Moses…. everything will be fine for you.” Exodus 33:14
But one day, (like me) Moses wasn’t having it anymore! He demanded something more from God…
“Then show me your glorious presence.” Moses responded to God’s promises. (vs 18)
I don’t know about you, but there are moments in life where clinging to God’s promises just wont cut it. Like Moses, I need proof of His presence.
We desperately need to know God is in this with us; knee-deep in the trenches and combatting criticism alongside us. Not just throwing promises, like fairy dust, down on us from heaven.
It got me thinking this week, what if the strength we need to continue doing what God is asking us to do, was available to us — if only we would ask for it? After all, that’s all Moses had to do.
So that’s exactly what I did this week!
I begged God to show me He is in this with me — on this blog, and amid the ever-flowing judgement and controversy. I asked Him for His strength because for real, sometimes being authentic BLOWS and secretly, I’d rather spend my time doing much more enjoyable things; like exuding perfection and being the most popular person in the room.
…But unfortunately, that’s not what I have been called to.
And while I often question why God would call me to something that on the regular, makes me want to cry. What I do know is this: It’s up to me to seek God’s strength when I don’t have any of my own, to plead for God’s purpose when I don’t understand what He is doing (and why on earth, He is asking me to do it.)
When I need proof God is with me in this, His presence is available to me – if only I would ask for it.
….And so long as I stop just settling for His promises.