Last summer I told my husband Seth that I felt God wanted me to start a blog. Seth could see that it meant a lot to me. He told me I should do it!
He said, “Do me a favor, though. Use your own voice.”
I asked what that meant, and he explained, “Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Don’t try to be snarky or forced or overly funny. Just be yourself.”
I assured him I would. And I have stayed true to that promise. I made mental rules for myself before I began blogging, and that was one of them.
A few months ago, after one of my posts, Seth had a question for me. He said, “Don’t take this the wrong way…” Uh-oh. I cringed. “…but when you write, ‘I covered my face and cried as I wrote that,’ did you copy that from some other writer? Like is that something that Jennie Allen or somebody says?”
I told him no. I’d never read that from someone else. I wrote it simply because it was true.
He said, “Oh. It just seems a little…odd. I’ve seen you write that more than once. I mean, I guess you’re writing mostly for women and women are more emotional…I was just wondering.”
So, I have this thing about not wanting to look foolish. He basically, unintentionally told me I wrote something dumb. I got a little panicked. My first impulse was to rush and edit my blog post to remove the part he thought was “odd,” (lame), and save myself from drowning in embarrassment. DO IT NOW, CHRISTI. DON’T LOOK LIKE A FOOL.
But…I took a breath. I reviewed my mental rules, one of which was that I cannot expect to please everyone with what I write, not even my own husband. I reminded myself that my security comes from Christ alone, not from being a perfect writer that always says perfect things. I reminded myself that the post came from my heart, and thus, it couldn’t really have been “wrong.”
And I decided I needed some mental fortitude to keep myself from shrinking in the face of others’ opinions. I sat down to write out the rules I want to write by.
Rules for Myself About Blogging
1. Remember I’m doing it for the Lord.
-If I don’t get “enough” feedback or affirmation from people, that’s OK. God is pleased by my motivation to honor Him and encourage others. Colossians 3:23-24: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
2. Use my own voice.
-Don’t try to sound like someone else.
-Don’t try to impress by adding too much “personality” that isn’t the real me.
-Write from my heart and trust that it’s enough.
3. Be real, authentic, honest.
-Sharing my struggles and victories from a real place helps others.
4. Do not share anything about another person without his/her permission.
5. Do not cower or bow to negative comments.
-I won’t please everyone all the time. I must rest on earlier rules when criticism comes:
*I’m doing it for the Lord.
*I’m just being myself.
*I was authentic.
6. Do not expect myself to be perfect.
-I’m no professional. I’m no expert. I’m just a girl writing from the heart. I will make mistakes. I will have posts that don’t speak to as many people. I may say things that seem odd to some. It’s possible I may offend some people. But I’m just doing my best, learning as I go.
7. Write whatever God tells me to.
-When I get an idea, always ask Him if it’s right.
-Pray before writing. Ask the Holy Spirit to inspire my words.
-Ask Him to help me say whatever someone needs to hear.
8. Remain humble. Surrender my pride.
-Do not take credit for the work that the Lord is doing in people’s hearts.
-He told me to write.
-He gave me my writing skills.
-He gives me courage to share.
-He leads the right people to read.
-It’s all Him! But I thank Him that I get to be part of this ministry!
These rules have encouraged me and helped me make wise decisions many times in my writing.
Rules can be such a beautiful thing. My favorite rules are God’s rules. The Bible. It not only reveals Who God is and who we are in relation to Him, it also tells us rules to live by. It has saved me thousands of times from making unwise decisions. It’s tempting to make decisions based on what feels right. But God’s Word often corrects me and helps me stay the course. And later, I am always grateful for the truths that guided me.
For example, I tend to worry about our finances. I want to know how in the world we are going to pay for everything. But God reminds me in Matthew 6:25-28:
Another example is that when I get irritated with another person, I’m dying to complain about it to someone. But I can feel the Holy Spirit reminding me not to gossip. And this verse comes to mind from Ephesians 4:29:
Or maybe someone has hurt me or disappointed me, and I want to withdraw love, affection, or relationship from him/her. God reminds me to forgive, and one of His beautiful rules comes to mind from Ephesians 4:32:
See how good God’s rules are? He helps me make wise and lovely choices. I’m beyond thankful that His ways are right and that He helps me follow Him.
And I can’t mention God’s rules without mentioning Jesus’ two greatest commandments. Mark 12:30-31:
We have such an awesome God! I’m thankful for The Rules.