(Not that I ordinarily lie, but I haven’t said much of anything here lately.)
Popping in, editing after publishing to say this is also my landing page for the whole series. If you’re here for the initial post, scroll down.
October 1- (scroll on.)
October 2- Spirit and discipline, part 1
October 3- Spirit and discipline, part 2
October 4- five for friday, volume 1
October 5- on legitimacy
October 6- the reckless wastefulness of God
October 7- grace at the register
October 8- in praise of irresponsibility
October 9- community in family
October 10- redefining racism
October 11- five for friday, volume 2
October 12- such a time as this
October 13- remembering Elchanan
October 14- my best life
October 15- acing motherhood (guest post at Kindred Mom)
October 16- how I study the Bible
October 17- clean and safe Christianity
October 18- five for friday, volume 3
So here we are, the start of another October. I’ve been pondering for a month (more?) what I might say to you that might be worth reading daily(ish) for 31 days. The writing group I belong to talks a lot about offering a solution to a problem your reader faces and, to be perfectly honest, I have way more problems of my own than I have solutions for you.
But here’s what I can offer: the truth, as best I can tell it.
I heard Andrew Peterson (songwriter and author, probably most quoted human on this blog) give his job description in an interview: “I want to tell the truth as beautifully as I can.” I can’t tell it with the beauty he can, but I can tell it from where I sit. That’s not nothing.
It’s been a couple years since I sat down across from someone to talk about something entirely unrelated and I heard, as a conversation opener, “I’ve read your blog. Your writing is… interesting.” This person is not, by any stretch of the imagination, my reader. This isn’t the person I’m trying to serve with my words. But just the same, for the last two years, the words and, more than that, the disdain with which they were spoken has rattled around in my brain every time I’ve plopped down to write and every time I’ve even considered writing. It hasn’t stopped me altogether, but it’s been a hurdle to jump, over and over, and sometimes I haven’t mustered the energy.
This is not me fishing for affirmation. Like I said, this didn’t come from a reader or anybody I feel a need to impress. Mostly, it’s just background to an apology:
I’m sorry I haven’t said the things. I’ve said a few, but this blog has lain largely fallow and a lot of that has been my laziness: I didn’t want to jump over the hurdle of those words, that sneer.
Will I still hear them when it’s time to write? Oh, probably. It’ll still take mental energy to push past. But writing has always involved a nagging inner critic for me. It has someone else’s voice now, which is distracting, but it’s still just in my head.
I almost called this series “31 days of speaking my truth.” My church held a women’s apologetics conference in the spring and the speaker countered “cultural lies,” one of which was “you gotta speak your truth!” The point was, of course, to push back from the idea that truth is entirely up to the individual. Fine. But this isn’t how I hear it used, for the most part, and it’s not how I use it.
“Speaking my truth” is more about speaking the truth from my vantage point.
But I decided to go with “the” for a couple of reasons. (Good grief, I can’t believe how much thought I’ve put into the distinction between “my” and “the” in this series. Please ignore that you know this about me and move on.) First, depending on how you read those three words, a month of someone else’s truth might not be especially compelling. Second, it would be a tiny act of rebellion for me, and my relationship with church is plenty complicated without emphasizing differences, even just within my own heart.
My goal here in this series is, as it always is, to point you to Truth. Sometimes it’s subtle, sometimes overt, but Jesus said “I am the way and the truth and the life” and I can think of nothing I need more than the way forward, the truth as it is, and life—real, abundant life. And I can think of nothing you need more.
Sometimes the truth (as best I can see it and speak it—I never, never want to lose sight of my fallibility) will be soothing: as I tell you my struggles, I’m always hoping you feel less alone in yours. Sometimes it might poke you in the eye a little bit: confronting some of the ugliness in and around me might shed light on some of yours.
I will do my best.