"Let everything you say be good and helpful,
so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them."
~ Ephesians 4:29
A few months ago, I read that verse in my nightly devotional. As these things often do, it came at just the right time - a time when I was starting to wrestle with the question I imagine most bloggers stumble upon at some point.
Do I want to continue writing in this space?
As the summer continued, so, too, did that line of thinking. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what this space was, and wondering how this creative outlet fits - into my life, and into the greater spectrum of blogging. In fact, a question posed in that same devotional was perfectly phrased:
"Do you have anything to say that has not already been said?"
All of this coincided with some major technical difficulties. My camera - which has always been testy in the process of transferring photos from the memory card to the hard drive - became downright uncooperative. This made even my regular "this week is good" posts (the only ones I'd been able to maintain any consistency in writing) a frustrating endeavor.
Finally, what I realized was that I had fallen prey to the simple burden of comparison. In many ways, my answer to, "do you have anything to say that has not already been said?" is no. Not really. There are women (and probably men, too) who write beautifully and genuinely about the creative life...about faith...about culinary experiences...about the topics I often choose...in ways I have neither the motivation nor the skill to do.
Then, a few days ago, there emerged a soft voice - slowly, quietly reminding me of the mantra my wonderful high school writing teachers used to emphasize so often. "Write what you know," the voice said. "Write about your life. Only you can tell that story." It was the mental nudge I needed - to worry less about what I felt I "should" write, and focus more on just writing.
I'm not sure what that will look like, nor do I know how often I'll be writing. At the very least, it will be once a week, as I have come to treasure the weekly reflection on all things good in my corner of the world and am looking forward to resuming those now that my technical difficulties have been resolved. Beyond that, I will be holding this prayer (from that same devotional) in my heart as a guide:
"Lord...help me to keep silent at times when
I am tempted to talk just for the sake of talking."
My hope is that this space can, once again, be a personally-satisfying collection of stories - big or small - that reflect even a little bit of light from my corner into yours.
(quotes from The One Year Devotions for Women: Becoming a Woman at Peace, by Ann Spangler)