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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Things Not for Sale: Why I Stopped Blogging

Somewhere along the line, all the blogging voices, all the faith failures and victories, the devotions and encouragements and bickering and conference hoopla and book promotion and linky parties and giveaways and friend requests and…well, all of it…started to clamor. And the Christian blogging community, though not in any way bad by nature, became in my head a record day at the New York Stock Exchange, with beautiful, hard-working people all shouting over each other in a crowded room, and my head hurt and my heart raced and I had to retreat, and I don’t mean the kind with workshops and book signings. And if I haven’t read or commented on your blog as often as you’d like me to, and if I haven’t seemed to have an explanation for it, or if you’re one of the many that assumes I’m just “too busy to be bothered”….that’s really, really not it.

For so many reasons, I’m tired. Not tired of bloggers or tired of blogging, and not at all tired of writing, but I’m tired for a lot of unrelated reasons, and also because going through the ringer with Jesus? It’s an exhausting business already, even more so when you’re trying to extract a 600- to 800-word something that makes any kind of sense and has application to a general audience with a few nice pictures thrown in. My spiritual journey and my writing journey both simultaneously took a few complex and beautiful twists and turns, and while I’m grateful to be in the midst of it, I can’t manage to put it all into any words I can live with putting out into the world. Everything I’ve tried to write for the big, wide space I’m navigating right now feels like half Fight Club and half The 700 Club, and it just doesn’t make for great content for the “Best Christian Bloggers” checklists, I’m afraid.

There is great and terrible beauty, as the saying goes, in this down and dirty open-hearted life. Not all of it transfers cleanly to the page. Not all of it has spiritual application for the masses. I am, just now, basking in the wild and intimate uniqueness of God and how He relates to us each in ways that cannot be quantified, and sometimes speaks messages for us that are not for sale, and that cannot even be given away, even with the purest intentions. There are love letters, gifts and challenges in the world, I am finding, that are embroidered boldly with only my own name (and some with only yours too)—devoid of usefulness for anyone else, but priceless even so.

For a long time, I fought it and wrestled myself because when writers who are also extreme introverts struggle in any real way in their lives, they can’t really get through *anything* without working it out in words on pages. And when you’re just trying to get through the days and you know you ought to be doing “something for Jesus,” blogging as a ministry makes a lot of sense. And when your calling to write is clear, and you aren’t writing about Jesus for the masses, there can be a big fat gap in the idea of purpose and giftedness and all the things we’re taught about what we’re supposed to do with ourselves in this life.

There are those of us who don’t find dialogue with Jesus easy or particularly natural but even we still get the chance sometimes to hear the still, small voice amidst the blinding clatter. And of all the things I can’t clearly make out in this season of faith, within the big silent echo I hear so often in response to my exploration, one big thing comes through loud and clear.

I am not a commodity.

And that’s kind of the final word on the matter for now. He is not for sale, for profit, for show, or even for the people I want most to love and give everything to. This supernatural and private and wild and wonderful secret place of the soul is just between us for the moment, and though I am divided into so many segments in this life, this little bit is, for now, just ours alone. I will have more that are intended for this community in the future, I hope.

I’m still in the thick of things. I’m still writing and seeking out loud, and telling it like it is, and I have no intention of disappearing. I just value honesty, and I don’t like to leave folks wondering what in the world is going on with me. I am not losing my religion. I am not leaving the fold or straying or backsliding or any of those things. I am just navigating the depths of what my faith looks like from the inside out, and it is time to be quiet and thoughtful about it until I know where He is taking me in all of this. And so, this place will continue to be a tad bit unmanned until further notice.

Thanks for loving me and walking near me and being my friends. I’ll be around. Mad love.