This week of February 20, 2022 marks the two year anniversary of this Blog! As is my usual practice, I celebrate with scrutiny, examining the posts I have written through the microscope of my mission statement. Like marking the annual growth of my kids on the pantry wall, I like to see the change time and experience bring. But this year I feel very different than I did at my first anniversary…I’m not bursting with congratulations but shocked at my change in perspective! As I look at myself through the lens of my writing, I see that the growth in me necessitates a change in my Blog goals.
A year ago, I read over the first post (written in 2020). That initial composition was an explanation of what “Untethered” meant and the goals to move toward. I remember thinking last February, gosh, my mission has bullet points for achievement, I’d better be sure I’m hitting each of those objectives! And (for at least one week) I sought to do so. (link to first post)
But here, a year later and in a familiar mindset, I returned to that earlier message. This time my thoughts were completely different, realizing oh Sharon, you were quite sure of yourself, weren’t you? There was nothing wrong with what I laid out back then, there’s much of it I still appreciate and am striving toward. But what I hear in those words today is a condescending tone of “let me help you, honey.”
Ugh! I think I just threw up in my mouth a little! Any air of egotism makes my stomach sour.
LEADING LESS FOLLOWING MORE
In 2020 and 2021, I felt strongly that I had tools that were helping me navigate life and I had a strong desire to share them (interspersed with Bible lessons and life lessons). But as time continues, I am less confident in myself as a “leader” and more certain that I just need to be a follower who is willing to be watched.
Can life be that simple? Could it be that God is simply asking each of us to love Him, love others, and be willing to live accountable to both? He already sees everything we do, but what if our homes were made of glass and our voices carried to our neighbors as if on the wind? Who would we show ourselves to be?
When in Hawaii, I often take my phone calls to the seating area outside under the umbrella. The thing is, from that place, I am directly over the neighbor’s yard. And, if the voices of the neighbors on the opposite side are easily perceptible to me, it is likely that my voice carries clear as a bell to those below. What does my neighbor think of me when listening in on my conversations? Am I a light on the hill or a loveless clanging gong?
We live in a fishbowl and we aren’t aware of it. Neighbors are looking…listening. Excuse my vulgarity with this metaphor, but our sin is like urinating in our own water…we poison ourselves. It’s obvious to those outside the glass, but the toxins cloud our judgement. We don’t know how sick we are…until washed clean (thankfully, that’s a reality!).
I’ve been studying the how-to of writing fiction. And one of the great no-no’s of good writing is telling the story over showing the story. As someone who has been a teacher, it’s ingrained in me to tell you what I know. And I love information. But I am experiencing this dichotomy in the unfolding of my life’s tale. When I tell others spiritual truths, I get the yeah, yeah good for you response and the volume of my broadcast is turned down or off. So, if I care to reach others, that leaves the showing…the living out of those same spiritual truths.
Readers prefer it when they use their own experiences to comprehend what they are being told. Discovery is fun! Lecture is boring. As a writer, and as a Christian, I want to find a way to share God’s goodness in an engaging way that connects with you. In essence, less Sunday sermon and more Monday living.
LIVING AWARE OF THE FISHBOWL
My new goal is to be transparently human as I am being spiritually formed. I hope to show my life with its foibles and follies as well as the occasional early success. What the difference will look like, I cannot say, but I suspect that my writing has already begun the evolution away from telling you the “right” way.
When I began to blog, I could not know what the experience would be like, and frankly, had I been warned of the challenges, I doubt I’d have taken that first step. But I’m glad I did, and I am nervously anticipating this humbling journey to see what happens with the change in perspective.
As a preacher’s kid, I picked up expectations for how I am to live life that may not be true, accurate or fair. This is the time I have to figure out how to “Untether” from those beliefs. May year number three bring more growth!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I love to hear your thoughts on the things that I present! There’s nothing more precious to me than an honest dialogue! Your response matters!