One year of writing.
There are so many different ways in which I could begin this post, but before I get into any of it I want to say thank you. Thank you for reading this website week in, week out, for being patient during weeks when there were no posts, for every retweet, every like, every share and every comment. Thank you to friends and strangers alike who have commented and provided feedback during the first year of me running this blog. I really, really appreciate it.
I’m starting with a thank you because putting myself, my faith and my innermost thoughts out there has not been easy at all. I've questioned every word, every phrase and dealt with the uncertainty of how people might react to my Christianity. If someone had told me that one day I'd be doing this, I'd have never believed them. It was ridiculously out of my comfort zone. But as they say, life begins outside of your comfort zone.
If something isn't in your comfort zone, why would you do it? Why take the risk?
It was a feeling deep down that I couldn't ignore, a quiet and calm voice amidst all the noise of life and the Internet, that prompted me to write. I believe that if we all get quiet enough escape life's daily pressure we will all hear that voice. That voice is usually a call to do something different, to push the boundaries, to go out on a limb, to take a gamble.
My pull factor was my experience. How could I experience something so positive without sharing it? I had no issues with sharing that motivational career article, or links to the latest political, music or pop culture topics, so why not this? Faith is just as personal as it is communal: the two go hand-in-hand and are richer because of eachother.
My point is that stepping out - even though I had a deep conviction that it was (and still) is the right thing to do - was not easy. I say it because there is something that you have been wanting to do, something you've always wanted to try but for some reason or another you haven't. The risk of failure seems too great, the risk of the unknown seems too great… and the list goes on.
There are so many 'should I?' and 'shouldn’t I?' moments as we sit on the threshold of indecision. We are held by fear and hesitancy, and sometimes wait for a big green light to flash before set our mind to something new. Sorry to break it to you, if you're waiting for a carpet of perfection and certainty to be rolled out in front of you, you'll stay waiting. Instead of that, what you'll probably get is a small, but firm conviction to try - not necessarily a conviction that everything’s going to be easy and happen exactly the way that you imagine it - but simply to try. And it’s only after you respond to the call to try that the road gradually become clearer. So embrace the unknowns,
“Who knows? Maybe you were made for such a time as this”. (Esther 4:14)
Let me give you a glimpse into what life looks like on the other side of that risk.
365 days later, one short year of pushing the boundaries ever so slightly has opened up deeper and more meaningful conversations with the people in my life, friends and strangers alike. It has opened up opportunities for me to write on other platforms outside of this blog and given me unmatched clarity about what I believe I should be doing with my life. It has made me more sure of myself, with eyes wide open to receive all the beauty and adventure that this life with Jesus has to offer. It has connected me with other incredible people who are boldly pursuing life outside the restrictive expectations of society.
It has challenged me to do better. To really think about why I think certain things and behave in certain in ways. To get to know myself better and play an active role in defining that 'self'. It has challenged me to be disciplined, resourceful and consistent; and most times I've done this well. When I haven't done so well, it's given me the opportunity to try again, to be less hard on myself and the freedom to experiment. It's enabled me to become more independent while also becoming dependent on God. It's funny how taking one small step in a specific area of your life can have such an incredible impact other areas of your life. 2016 has not been an easy year by any stretch of the imagination; it's actually been one of my most challenging years for other personal reasons but it has been rich, it has been full and it has been worth it.
I sense that deep down we want to know the life we lead is meaningful and purposeful, but it’s difficult to know where to begin. And I am beginning to see that in my life, the life of my friends, and people that I admire from afar that the key is trying. Starting is about experimentation. Those who take ownership and responsibility for their call are rarely let down. It’s not an easy road but when all is said and done, it’s infinitely more rewarding than a life of ‘what-ifs’. Don’t wait for someone else to give you permission or tell you that you’re good enough to pursue something calling deep within. Don’t wait for some elusive time in The Future when you’re a Better Version of Yourself, because right now? That doesn’t exist. The present exists, you are here now and that’s good enough for God: He placed value in us from Day 1 and gives us something to offer the world at all stages of our lives. I’m not saying that you should rush to do achieve everything today, but there is probably something that’s been on your mind for a while, that even when you talk yourself out of it temporarily it floats back one way or another. Maybe it’s time to try. If not now, when?
I'm only one year in, still a toddler in this huge expanse of life, but if this is what one year of bravery and stretch can create, then bring on the next 5, 10, 15 years and beyond. As someone I admire always says; the best is yet to come.
So, what is pulling you? What is the call on your mind that you've yet to respond to? Let's start taking some action: tell me what your that thing (or things!) is, sometimes having the bravery to say it out loud or write it down is the first step.
As usual, my door is open.
Until next week,