I haven’t wanted to blog for awhile. I am frustrated with fruit. Not actual fruit because apples are my jam. They should make apple jam. Sorry, that is beside the point. I mean that my lifestyle hasn’t produced the type of fruit I grew up expecting. The Bible says you will know them by their fruit, but as my first year of college came to a close, I wasn’t entirely happy with my end result. I felt like I had nothing to bring home, nothing to prove the year had been a success. I had only recently made friends, my classes weren’t that hard, and I’m still between churches, to be quite honest. Though I left the school on a good note, I still couldn’t shake the feeling that I didn’t have anything tangible to bring home and say “Look what I accomplished!”
I don’t mean good grades, because not to brag or anything, but I have them. I don’t mean lots and lots of friends, because I’ve never been the type of person to have hundreds of best friends, just a few best ones and a lot of good ones and even more acquaintances. I think what I wanted to bring home was proof that God was working in my life. Like a few new converts or a flourishing ministry or some title that would prove that. But my hands are virtually empty.
Well not really, but it’s hard to explain what God is doing inside you. It’s also hard to make people care or be inspired by what God is doing inside you because most people don’t understand or don’t care. My dad asked me why I hadn’t written anything on my blog in a while and I blurted out, “Because the people who read them don’t really deserve to know what is going on in my life. The people who really care about me text me or call me when they want to know how I am. So what is the point in repeating it to those who don’t really care.”
I didn’t mean it. I was just frustrated. I started this blog to better my writing skills–at least, that’s what I wrote in my about-page. But I think I really wanted to make people think harder and deeper about the things of God. I wanted to inspire others and sort of force them to see God the way I was seeing Him. I wanted everyone who read my words to automatically fall in love with Jesus Christ, ask Him into their lives, and then grow with Him. And when I look back on my words, I feel like they aren’t doing what they were meant to do, so I’m mad at my readers, or non-readers to be more specific, and their lack of change (whatever change I expected at the time).
So I seriously considered quitting blogging. It wasn’t that I lost confidence in myself, but in the power of words in general. Yes, there is the power of life and death in the tongue, but when we use the same words over and over to express the same idea over and over, everything sort of looses it’s meaning. It’s like I am trying to say something I am feeling or believing but my vocabulary is limiting brevity and clarity, so I don’t say anything at all. If I can’t say what I really want to say, what is the point in speaking? I am not just a mouth, but a heart and mind as well, and if one doesn’t compliment or agree with the others, I would rather stay silent.
I wrote this in my journal a few weeks ago and I think it encompasses my feelings toward my blog pretty nicely: “I’ve neglected my blog for over a month now, almost out of spite. I don’t feel the need to share my heart anymore, especially not over the web. It seems futile to expect change to arise from one of millions of thoughts and opinions that grace the world’s screens daily. Change is physical, rough, real; not pixelated, not born from keys. Yet, still, I’m not sure how else to invoke that change since words are one of the few things I’m ‘okay’ at.”
I know my posts don’t really have a “challenge” or plan for change, but I felt that if I shared what God was doing in my life, others would crave that, or at least relate to it, and join me as I strive to be more Christ-like.
But if I want change, I need to figure out what that “change” is supposed to be. What is the whole point of sharing myself and my struggles and my blessings and my curses? God revealed the answer to that question in the novel I’m writing.
Many of you know that I am writing a book. I want to be an author and I have been working on a story since I was about fifteen years old or so. The story has changed a lot since I first got the idea and fellow writers will understand the random breakthroughs we get throughout the writing process. Anyway, the question of “why” kept nagging me, because I hadn’t figured out my main character’s main drive for her quest. I won’t give too much away, but the hero in my book is a young girl who has been asked by God to retrieve something the bad guy has stolen from heaven. That is a VERY short summary of the book, but I kept asking why the girl was chosen, why she had to get the heavenly object back, why the bad guy had it in the first place.
Then it hit me: God didn’t want the object back, He wanted the bad guy back. The villain was the prodigal son, the sinner, the one that got away. And our loving Father wanted him back, to forgive him and love him and give him a second chance.
There are many other themes I plan to implement in the book and I won’t give too much of it away, but the point of it all hit me: God wants us. He wants us so desperately, so completely, so intensely. And the weight of that realization still sends chills down my back. When we read the Bible with that in mind, the whole book makes even more sense and the grace of God’s many, many second chances for humanity, no matter how many times we spit in His face, is so powerful and undeserving and even magical. It blows my mind and I’m speechless.
But again, words do little. Actions change the world. So I have been struggling to live out the two greatest commandments (1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. 2. Love your neighbor as yourself.) in my every day life, not just writing about it. I am sorry for not writing as much and I am sorry for thinking someone doesn’t deserve to know what is going on in my life.
After all, no one deserves the life we have in Jesus Christ, but that didn’t stop Him from dying for us.
So in a small act of love, I am going to keep sharing pieces of myself with others, even if I don’t always see the fruit in it. I am going to be vulnerable and real and okay with the fact that not everyone will love me back. If God can continuously love and forgive us in all of our iniquities and outbursts of hate and vile acts of injustice, I can love my neighbor as myself, with no conditions and no expectations. I pray that you who read this will join me this summer in discovering what it truly means to love God with all our hearts, souls, and minds, and to love one another as ourselves.
Because that’s the whole point, the entirety of our existence. To love and be loved, in every sense of the word. If it is hard to love others, C. S. Lewis says fake it ’till you make it:
Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.
And if it’s really hard to love someone, C. S. Lewis reminds us how we should see each other:
There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.
Look at the world through heaven’s eyes, and love well. And then comes the fruit, even though I think God is changing my definition of that word, too.
“Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.'”