While listening to a Hope*Writer's podcast recently, I was reminded of a reason why people should blog: to practice writing words that you can't take back. If I'm honest, that's the aspect of blogging that terrifies me, but it's also the most thrilling part.
We live in a world where many people are afraid to share their creative thoughts, ideas, or writing. It often boils down to fear of man, but the fear we face in day-to-day life often trickles into one's blogging life.
We're afraid to share honestly, of writing posts that people might criticize, or even just sharing a post we've poured our heart into writing. However, persevering in blogging means practicing the discipline of writing words you can't take back, of putting your writing and thoughts out there for the world to read and potentially laud or reject. It's terrifying to write words and put them out there for people to read, but it's worth it.
Personally, I think that people that enjoy writing should have a blog, because it grows you in a number of ways. Here are three reasons why I think people should blog and practice writing words that they can't take back:
You Grow As A Writer
When you practice writing words that you can't take back, you inevitably grow as a writer, because you'll start writing a lot of words that you can't take back. And if you can't take your words back, you'll start thinking more about your craft, word choice, building tension, creating a story arch, etc. It encourages you to try new things with the freedom of putting your work out there, even if the response is critical.
You Bless Your Readers
What you write could encourage, equip, or enlighten that one reader - the one that visits your blog regularly and benefits from your content. You might only have one blog reader, but you can still bless the one you've been given. That one post you're afraid of posting because it might not be "perfect" might just greet a reader at the perfect moment.
You Choose Love Instead Of Fear
It is written, "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love." (1 John 4:18) If we know the love of Christ, we don't need to be afraid. No amount of criticism, rejection, discouragement, or fear can overcome the love of Christ. Like the Bible says fear ultimately has to do with punishment, but perfect love, the love of Christ, casts out fear. So choose to love and bless others, as Christ has loved and blessed you, instead of worrying and becoming fearful of what others might think.
This post is particularly aimed towards those that blog, write, desire to blog, or are fearful to share their writing. I hope this encourages you to share what you write and to practice writing words that you can't take back. I'm practicing writing words that I can't take back by writing this post. I wanted to bless and love others by writing about this topic, and I hope it serves its purpose. So let's practice writing words that we can't take back together.
"Meditate on Jesus, who is the ultimate meditation of God. Look at him loving you. Look at him dying for you. Look at him rejoicing in you. Look at him singing over you (Zephaniah 3:17). Look at all that, and he will be a delight to you, and then the law will be a delight to you, and you will be like a tree planted by streams of water. You'll bear your fruit in season, and no matter what will happen, your leaf will not wither."
Tim Keller from Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God
Here are some links for your weekend. I hope they encourage and bless you abundantly.
Miraculous In The Mundane
I'm learning a lot about seeing the miraculous in the ordinary and everyday moments of life.
What Would God Say to Your Anxiety
This is for my friends and for myself - as we struggle with anxiety, there is a God who is sovereign over our circumstances.
Take This Slowly
This song is connected to the post above, but a great song focused on trusting God in the midst of unforeseen circumstances.
How True Change Happens
True change can happen, and here's how.
One Very Good Reason To Read Your Bible
Who are you reading your Bible for?
Sometimes God brings a book into my life at just the right time, when my soul needs to read and be reminded of a truth from His Word that I never knew I needed. Simply Tuesday came at just the right time - on a Tuesday.
I've been following the author of Simply Tuesday, Emily P. Freeman, for a few years. I read and enjoy her blog regularly, as her tagline is "creating space for your soul to breathe." My soul often needs space to breathe, especially in a world and culture that values producing, creating, and living fast-paced. I started reading this book while reading through the book of Matthew in the Bible. The two in tandem were like sweet honey to my soul - rich and satisfying.
The book is about small moment living, but it's also focused on God's Kingdom and how it is different from what the world would expect. Drawing from the Scriptures, Emily shows how God's Kingdom is found in the ordinary and everyday, in the small moments (and the big moments), but particularly in the small moments.
God's Kingdom is found in a mother making a pb&j sandwich for her child.
It's found in taking time to sit on a bench and converse with your neighbor.
It's found in obedience to God's Word, no matter the consequences.
It shows up even on the most ordinary days of the week.
It's far different from the kingdom of the world, which values success, extraordinary moments, and fame.
I learned a lot about God's Kingdom while reading this book, and I learned a lot about myself.
You see, in my brokenness, sinfulness, and humanity, I tend to build my own crumbling kingdom. I live life, longing for the big moments and struggling with discontentment on the everyday Tuesdays when building God's Kingdom looks like making lunch for my husband. I compare myself to others. I feel discouraged when I don't feel like I'm doing enough or when I think about the smallness of this blog or my Instagram. In the midst of this discouragement, God meets me and reminds me that it's not about my kingdom. It's all about His Kingdom and He's given me a part to play - a specific assignment. I have a small part, but it's an important part.
After reading Simply Tuesday, I'm learning how to repent when I get caught up in building my own kingdom and instead I want to look for God's Kingdom in the ordinary and everyday. I want to learn how to celebrate my smallness and be faithful and obedient to the specific assignment he has given me, which is to love others and invite them into God's Kingdom. I can't do that when I'm too busy building my own.
I would recommend Simply Tuesday for the fact that it encouraged me when I was feeling weary. This book is for anyone that is tired of fast-paced living, and longs to see the beauty and Kingdom-building ministry of small moment living.
Note: The Amazon link to Simply Tuesday above is an affiliate link. If you click on the link and purchase the book, this blog is supported at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting She Laughs Without Fear!
"Could it be possible we have it wrong? Maybe success isn't in believing I can do anything but in knowing I can do nothing. My limits - those things I wish were different about myself - are perhaps not holding me back but are pointing me forward to pay attention to my small, eight-foot assignment."
Emily P. Freeman from Simply Tuesday
Some good reads that I'm loving for you to read and enjoy too.
Don't Despise Small Beginnings
"God begins with faith the size of a mustard seed. Don’t despise the day of small things. Keep praying and encouraging and hoping."
The Six Main Arcs In Storytelling, As Identified By an A.I
All of these Arcs can be found in the narrative of the Bible.
A Love That Never Ceases
"We aren't promised perfect lives without suffering. But we are promised a love that never ceases. A Love that offers mercy and grace every single day."
What Does It Mean to #LiveBoldly?
I haven't had a chance to see Me Before You yet, but I've read a lot of reviews. This young man does a great job unveiling the layers of lies that this movie projects about the value of life for those that are disabled.
8 Ways to Cultivate a More Restful Home
Leaving this here for a reminder to read again and again. Helpful tips.
I shared previously about what I learned from reading Love Walked Among Us by Paul Miller. This book deeply impacted me, and I shared about how the first section of the book was impactful in Love Shows Compassion. The main point of this book is showing how Jesus loved others and how we're called to love others like Jesus. The next section in the book is titled "Love Speaks The Truth" and boy, was this section challenging and encouraging to me.
When I think of loving others, the compassion side of loving others comes pretty easy to me. The Lord has made me a very compassionate person, but speaking the truth? That's something I'm fearful to do. I often believe the lie that being honest or speaking the truth is unloving, but Jesus exposes that lie and reveals the truth to me.
As shared in the previous post, Jesus loved others compassionately, but he also loved others by being honest. Jesus spoke honestly to others, like calling out the Pharisees for being hypocrites, but he also showed compassion towards them. He was honest with His Father in the garden of Gethsemane about how He was feeling in regards to going to the cross, but He ultimately submitted to God's will (Matthew 26:36-46). Jesus balances honesty and compassion.
I don't do that well... at all.
Paul Miller gives a great example of this struggle in Love Walked Among Us and how to choose honesty and compassion instead of dishonesty and resentment in relationships. He tells a story about a husband and a wife. The wife works late at night, and the husband doesn't get to see his wife very often. The husband and wife make plans to have a date night, but the wife calls her husband an hour before she's supposed to be home, asking if he would be okay with her working late and postponing their date night.
The husband has several ways that he could respond. If we're honest, a lot of us in a similar situation would respond by either saying "It's okay," allowing the person to do what they want and then later resenting the fact that he/she chose work over the relationship, allowing bitterness to fester. OR we respond by getting angry and upset and telling the person that they're not really caring for the relationship. (At least these are two ways I might respond).
Paul Miller offers a very different response, a response that images Jesus by balancing honesty and compassion. He shares that the husband could speak honestly to his wife and tell her that he would prefer her to come home for their date, but that he would understand if she chooses to stay later at work. In this way, the husband is honest about how he feels but is also compassionate in allowing his wife to feel free to make a decision that she think would be best.
The wife could then respond in one of several ways. She could feel guilty and decide to come home, but feel resentful that she didn't get extra work done. She could stay at work and come home later. Or she could decide that coming home is the best thing. However, in all of her potential responses, the husband is free from resenting not telling his wife the truth. He told her the truth; he wanted her home, but he gave her the freedom to make the decision. The husband images Jesus in balancing honesty and compassion
I can't tell you how encouraged I was after reading this example from Paul Miller's book, because this is something that I often struggle with: wanting to be honest with how I feel but also wanting to show compassion and understanding. Reading this section of Love Walked Among Us came at exactly the right time.
Within a week of reading the section, I encountered several relational conflicts in which I was in the "husband's" situation. I wanted to share how I truly felt but also show compassion. This time, I didn't give into the lie that I wasn't loving my friend by speaking the truth. I shared with her honestly about how her actions and decisions made me feel, but I also showed her compassion and understanding in forgiving her for how her actions and decisions affected me personally.
I would recommend this book for this example of speaking the truth in love alone. I reference this section all the time now when I encounter situations and conversations when I could choose to hide the truth and feel resentful or choose honesty and feel free.
I still have a lot of growing to do in speaking the truth in love, but this section showed me that Jesus loved others by being honest and by balancing honesty and compassion. I'm called to image Jesus as his follower and that means that I'm called to speak the truth. Speaking the truth and being honest truly does love others, and I'm looking forward to future opportunities to practice balancing speaking the truth while also showing compassion.
This post is a part of a series as I review and share thoughts spurred on by the book
Love Walked Among Us by Paul Miller.
1. This Blog's Tagline
I've been praying about what the tagline (or focus) of this blog should be. It's transitioned and changed over the years, but after a lot of prayer, God gave it to me! And the blog now reflects it. She Laughs Without Fear is about finding glimpses of God's Kingdom in the ordinary and everyday.
I'm excited for this tagline and focus, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out on the blog from here forward.
2. How to Pick Green Beans and Blanche Corn
My husband grew up on a farm, which means that he grew up with green beans and corn straight from the garden. I grew up with green beans and corn straight from the grocery store. Even though I know how corn and green beans are grown, I've never had the opportunity to harvest them until this past month. And boy, did we do a lot of blanching!
While picking green beans, I couldn't help but think about all of the times that farming is mentioned in the Bible and how green beans and corn go from being a tiny seed to a plant that provides delicious food, especially sweet corn. I didn't grow our vegetables, but I can see how rewarding farming can be, much like planting seeds for the gospel and watching them grow in the hearts of people.
3. The Beauty of Christ Focused Weddings
July was filled with attending three weddings for friends - one wedding per weekend. I love weddings for the fact that they image the relationship between Christ and his bride, the Church. It was a delight to see our friends get married and to celebrate marriage with these friends. After attending a number of weddings over the years, I see more and more how weddings that are focused on Jesus Christ and God's glory are the most beautiful weddings.
As an added bonus, it was a delight to dress up with my husband for three weekends.
4. How to Pray the Lord's Prayer
Prayer by Tim Keller has been on my list of books to read for a while now. After reading some reviews, it seemed like an encouraging book to read to grow in intimacy and awe in my relationship with God. I've been learning a lot over these past few months about prayer, particularly about praying through Scripture. While I've prayed the Lord's Prayer many times over the years, I never thought about using the Lord's Prayer to guide my extended time in prayer. I'll share more in a future post, but using each line of the Lord's Prayer to guide my time in prayer has been especially helpful as I talk with the Lord.
5. I Want to Celebrate My Smallness
In addition to reading Prayer, I've also been reading It's Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman. It's a book focused on small-moment living in a fast-moving world and how to find God's Kingdom in the Tuesdays (ordinary days) of life. Reading this book revealed to me that I often live my life chasing after exciting, extraordinary, and big moments and a fast-moving life. BUT what my soul really craves is to celebrate my smallness before God and find Him in the midst of the ordinary and everyday moments of my life.
God is using this book to show me that living for God's Kingdom and celebrating my smallness and my part in His Kingdom is more life-giving than trying to build my own crumbling kingdom. God's used this book to help change my perspective on this blog, my creative endeavors, my friendships, and how I view the small-moments of my life.
Look forward to hearing more about this book and the thoughts that it's prompting in future posts.
What did you learn in July?
Shalom! I'm Madi, a laughter-loving, movie-going, spontaneous-dancing, follower of Christ. Join me as I seek glimpses of God's grace in the ordinary and everyday.
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She Laughs Without Fear