This is an acknowledgment that this post has taken a considerable amount of time to write. Not because it was too long or that the subject matter was too deep to explain properly. I have struggled with writing this one. The reason why is the same reason that I have 175 to 200 posts that are written that I will probably never publish or post on this site. More than likely they will forever be locked away in a file cabinet never to be read by anyone, only to be thrown out with the trash after I am gone from this world.
The reason? Words are easy to write, it’s living up to those words that is hard.
I have learned that you own every word that you write. You cannot not really take them back like many do with the words we speak. Many times we fly off at the mouth and say things that we shouldn’t and it seems as if a person can gain forgiveness a lot faster if they verbally ask for it. It is like all a person has to say is, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that.” and for the most part people forgive and forget. Also, people have a tendency to “hear more” than what was actually said and can twist your words around to make something worse than what it was. People also choose to “hear what they want to hear” and not really acknowledge what was really said. Just a take a look at our political environment of today. People only hear what they want to hear and disregard the rest and that is true on all sides of the political spectrum.
That is not how it works with the written word. The written word is a permanent reminder of what you said. You cannot deny nor can you take back those things you write down. In a court of law, the best evidence is that which is written down and documented.
The challenges are even greater when you write about spiritual matters. I am convinced that anyone who consistently writes about their relationship with Jesus Christ is prone to have the microscope placed squarely in their lives. It comes with the territory. Every word that tells of success or failure in your walk with Jesus Christ is there for everyone to read. As I reflect on the past fours years or so of writing this blog, it never occurred to me that I would experience the trials and struggles that would come my way as a result of trying to get my life back on track and be used of God once again.
I would sit at my desk each night and old wounds would re-open with each written word.
Like the burdens that we pick up and carry with us each day, I would do the same with the pain I was experiencing. I would use my words to share the pain that I felt in my heart. I would share my lack of faith. I would express my struggle to forgive others. I took considerable time to share my inability to forgive myself for my failures. I would pour my heart and my thoughts into expressing the lack of forgiveness that I was not receiving from other believers.
I would try to be open as much as I could without naming names.
It was all leading up to the point in early December of 2012. I was sitting down at my computer just thinking about how I could write something that would ease the pain for another day and find a way to focus on the meaning and depth of grace that God had placed into my life. As I sat there staring at an empty page, I had this overwhelming feeling come over me. I can’t explain it exactly… I just simply had nothing to say.
Without words. There were no more words that I could share that would ease my frustration of being on this long journey to find out what God has in store for me. I couldn’t believe it. I was simply without words to express what was going on in my heart and in my head.
After four years of writing had I finally come to the end of the words I needed to write? Was I done? Had I said everything I needed to say?
At that time, I had over 410,000 people visit my blog and I was averaging over 10,000 visitors a month. I had witnessed the blog grow far beyond my wildest dreams. God had really blessed me with the opportunity to share my faith and I received a lot of encouragement along the way from other believers. I have made friends that I will never meet in person until I get to heaven as a direct result of this blog. I also have had my share of detractors. There are those that have taken the time to be extremely critical of things I would write. For the most part, I didn’t know those who would be so critical, but I have to admit there are a few people I once called a friend that have made known their displeasure in me and in the things I write.
Over the course of the next few weeks in December I had deleted many of my posts and dis-connected all of the links to other blogs. I was sure that I was going to move on to something else… I just wasn’t sure what that was. Immediately the volume of visitors to my blog disappeared. The 10,000 readers per month are now running about 2,200 per month. It seemed as if overnight I lost 80% of the people who visited my blog. I was shocked at how quickly it changed, but I did not blame them for it. I was without words to share and I, in fact, told people I was going to stop writing.
I have loved writing for as long as I can remember. It is something that I have always done. But it is hard to keep a blog going for an extended period of time. It probably is one of the hardest things I have ever done in my walk with Christ.
It is common aspect in the blogosphere. Dead, unfinished, incompleted blogs that were started with good intentions. People who get the idea that they want to start a blog and start writing. Some with the delusional idea that they even want to write a book. It starts with the premise that they believe they have something to say, something that will be a help and will be an encouragement to another person. It is done with all the vigor and excitement that they can muster. The ideas are just flying all over the place. They sit down and empty themselves into a post and when that first post is revised a 1,000 times they finally post it and in many examples it usually isn’t that bad.
Then the problem starts. It doesn’t take them long to realize that writing is hard. They spent so much emotion and personal information in that first post that they find,as they sit at the computer, they are staring at an empty page. If they are lucky, they may post a few more and then it happens. They quit.
As it does for the vast majority of those that start a blog it sits empty and eventually deleted because of inactivity. It is like the one-hit wonder of a rock band. They get one good song and they can’t seem to get past it and eventually the creativity is just a rehash of the original song. They all just start sounding the same.
That was what I was afraid had happened to me.
I love writing and the words have come pretty easy to me over the years. As I stated earlier, what I have discovered is that words are easy to write, it is living up to those words is what is hard. I do not want to deceive anyone, especially my family because they know if my words match my actions.
Four months have now passed since all of this happened and I have posted a few times over that period of time. I have come to the realization that I have been focused on the results of what this blog was doing in terms of reaching other people. I was getting caught up in the “ministry” side of what this blog could do. While that has value to me, I now realize that I had strayed from the original purpose of this blog. The words that I write are intended to keep me accountable. I have to write and I have to post because it keeps me on track to “live up” to the words I write. It doesn’t matter if anyone else reads these words because the words are directed at myself.
Simply put… writing over the past four years has been quite the learning experience. I have grown in good ways and God has helped me change my perspective on a few things that I would not have learned if I had not been writing. I am not the man I was 20 years ago when I failed in my marriage and lost my ministry. I am convinced that my story is one of caution. Caution for all, because if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. It is a journey that is more common than anyone wants to recognize.
If you’ve also made mistakes in your life and you long for restoration and wholeness, I hope you’ll come along and share my journey. But please understand…these are my words and I am accountable for them. They tell my story and my journey.
My story… follows a well-traveled spiritual pathway that leads from sin and failure right up to the Cross of Calvary, where our Savior died so we could know forgiveness, grace, and unconditional love. That’s where you’ll find me today, gathered with all the other people who are scarred by their past but who’ve been forgiven, redeemed and gratefully clinging forever at the foot of the old rugged cross.
You will have to forge your own path and tell your own story… with your own words.