Last year I resolved to write on my blog every week for a year. It was an ambitious goal since I didn’t have a regular rhythm to my writing at that time. Now a year later, I do have a rhythm, and I’ve experienced a lot of rewards from that consistent practice. But like life, this writing gig is an ever-evolving, always-transforming work. I’ve learned a lot, but I’m still a work in progress.
On this 52nd week of my one-year challenge, here are 52 surprising, but also grace-filled lessons I’ve learned along the way. I hope you’ll enjoy this list (even if you’re not a writer), and see some of your own life lessons in it too.
- Nothing causes me to reckon what I know, with how I convey it to others, quite like writing does.
- As uncomfortable as writing can be, I’ve grown to appreciate the struggle on one side and the sense of accomplishment on the other.
- Being vulnerable is scary. But when I’ve shared from the heart, as I did here, here, and here, those posts did extremely well. (The takeaway is to do it even if it scares you.)
- In the struggle for authenticity, I’m constantly asking myself, “Do I really believe what I just wrote?”
- Knowing one of the enemy’s favorite tools is discouragement, I often wonder if what I’m doing matters.
- One way to overcome discouragement is to keep going. Each time I hit publish I feel I’ve won a mini-victory over a lot of the enemy’s lies.
- Struggling through a piece of writing and finally arriving at what I want to say, has built a measure of confidence.
- Next week, when I worry that I won’t be able to write anything, I remember that I felt that way last week. And by God’s grace, I’ll hit publish again.
- Rejection hurts. But in a weird way, it feels like a badge of honor or rite of passage. Can I really improve if I never get rejected?
- Writing is frustrating because the words we use to point others to the infinite reality of God, remind us that we are indeed finite. I think God intended this for us, so we could have a grander vision of him!
- The most interesting advice I read this year was not to write about what you know, but write what you want to learn. (This is good news because there are more things to learn than I actually know!)
- Habakkuk 2:2 gave us a template for writing. “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.” Who knew, right?
- The goal of Christian writing should be transformation, and the first one to get transformed is the writer. If it never changes us, it won’t change our readers.
- Writing in a journal, before writing on the computer, is strangely helpful.
- If I’m struggling with feeling ‘less than,’ I know my vision is horizontal when it needs to be vertical.
- When my eyes are on Jesus, and not on myself or others, I can’t help but feel awe and wonder.
- Who I really am happens when no one is watching, liking, or subscribing.
- If my identity is bound up in what I do, or how well I do it, my joy will rise and fall like the ocean’s tide.
- But if my identity is found in what Christ did for me, I’m better equipped to ride those waves.
On Building a Platform
- Followers come and go. My job is to cast the net, and let God rearrange the fish to fill it.
- I’m so thankful for a small group of online writing friends. They encourage and inspire me all the time.
- The most encouraging part of last year was when people shared my work.
- The second most encouraging part was when someone said, “Hey, I read your post and it really blessed me or it made me think about that passage in a new way.”
- The people who freely help others grow are a breath of fresh air. They inspire me to be like them.
- I want to be generous with praise for others who are on a similar path as me. They are not my competition, but co-laborers in Christ.
On Spiritual Growth
- God cares exponentially more about my becoming than he does about my arriving.
- It’s harder to write when my spiritual tank is running on yesterday’s fumes.
- For the sake of my joy, I have to be alone with God every day.
- When I do meet with God in the morning (especially when I’m busy and overwhelmed), it seems like my to-do list gets completed, and things just work out. Funny how that happens.
- My goal is not success, but obedience.
- Writing makes me a student before it makes me a teacher.
- Hudson Taylor’s realization of the “Exchanged Life” challenges my priorities and my sinfully weak flesh to consistently meet with God in the morning. How often do I settle for the sap, when I could be partaking of the fullness of the Vine?
- It’s good to have plans, but I want to hold them loosely. My plans need to align with his, not the other way around.
- Speaking of plans, what grace to know the Master Artist is working through me to make me into his poiema, his masterpiece!
- This truth (#34) frees me to pick up my tools and get to work.
- I find comfort knowing I’m a work in progress, and God always finishes what he starts (Philippians 1:6).
On Living it Out
- I want to study God’s Word more because I love it.
- I want to love God’s Word more, so therefore, I need to study it.
- Maybe this is a sign of age, ADD, or residual Covid-brain, but I find it harder and harder to sit through a movie. Time feels especially precious, I’d much rather “waste my time” in a book.
- Sometimes we’re so familiar with the stories in the Bible they don’t capture our awe and wonder as they should. I fight this by picturing myself in the narrative. It opens up the Scriptures in a fresh and exciting way.
- Writing without distractions is ideal, but not realistic (especially if you have kids at home).
- Seek to model Jesus’s approach to interruptions. He loved people more than he loved his to-do list.
- Some of the technical aspects of writing (like SEO), can be a major buzzkill to creativity. While it’s important to know it a little bit, I think it’s more important to be faithful to the message God’s placed on your heart to share. Let him worry about spreading it.
On Social Media
- My real-life is not found in the squares. Social media is a great tool, but it requires a lot of wisdom and discernment.
- I want to be real online and like and comment when it feels authentic to me. This will probably keep my numbers smaller, and that’s ok.
- When social media is truly ‘social’ and people interact, connect with people from near and far, share ideas and feedback, it’s amazing!
- When people use social media to like, follow, and then unfollow, only to build their vanity metrics, it’s awful, and I hate it.
- We were made to appreciate goodness, beauty, and truth. Never before have I been so convinced this can only be found in Jesus Christ. He is more lovely to me with every passing year.
- I’m learning that every time I sit down to have my soul refilled by the Holy Spirit, I’m participating in holy leisure.
- Resting is not only necessary, but it’s an act of obedience and submission. It reminds me that I’m not God, and I’m dependent on him for everything.
- My year-long blogging challenge felt like I had committed to meeting my friends at the gym. Even when I didn’t want to do it, I didn’t want to be the first one to bail, so I kept on writing.
- You all were my friends at the gym, holding me accountable, even if you didn’t know you were doing it. Thank you!
Did any of these lessons strike a chord with you? Let me know which one(s) you resonate with below. Thank you for subscribing, reading, commenting, liking, and encouraging me to keep going over the last 52 weeks. I pray you’ll stick around for more this year!
Because of his grace,
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