Audience of One: An Apology to the Blogosphere

I’m not a very good blogger.  You may have noticed.  I have.  Post once a day, all the books, articles, and successful bloggers say.  Do this, and you’ll be a blog-star.

I’m a bad blogger.

Oh, I’ve studied.  I know what it takes to be a good one.  In my obsessive need to know every detail of every activity I sink my teeth- or in this case, my heart- into, I’ve read, researched, and tinkered.  Just ask me what a widget is.

Yet I remain a very bad blogger.

It’s tempting to write more often.  A comment will pop up in my inbox or I’ll just happen (yeah, right) to glance at my stats and see that people have been visiting this little blog with no new material in over a month.  And I’ll think to myself, You should write something.  Something, Cory.  Anything.  Don’t you want to keep the visitors coming?

And still, I sit on my hands.

I warned you, I am a very bad blogger.

And that’s okay.  My perfectionist self has come to terms with it, and I’ll tell you why:

Because I have nothing good to say.  And that’s the truth.

I can make up a lot of junk for you.  I’m fabulous at it.  Four years of writing papers for an English degree got me lots of practice.  But here, I refuse.  Even if it means death by blog.

When I do write, I neglect the rules.  Only a few hundred words, they say.  Just enough for content but not so many as to bore the reader who isn’t reading a dissertation here, but a snippet.  This is web-reading- short and sweet. 

Yet on and on I type.  The thoughts pour, the verses bubble up, and before long, the few-hundred-word dam breaks and the blog runneth over in rhetoric.

I should dig myself a nice little pit and throw this blog inside with a cold stone marker that says:

coriander and honey

December 2010-October 2011

Rest in Peace

But I won’t.  Even if  by blogging standards, I’m a failure.  I won’t because I don’t really write for the world wide audience.

I write for an audience of One. 

I pray and attempt to write only when prompted, pushed, or smacked upside the head to do so.

I was reminded of this a few weeks ago,  struggling with my non-existent blogging, and reading in 2nd Samuel (24), and then again the other day while reading in 1st Chronicles (21) and yet again that very night when a dear friend mentioned this same story.  I knew the first time I read it that I needed to write about it.  But as God is ever-patient, He followed up with the push and the smack upside the head.

It comes from the story of King David.  Tucked in amongst the psalm writing, sheep tending, giant slaying, and rooftop philandering, is a small but powerful story-   so powerful in fact, that it’s chronicled not once but twice in the pages of God’s love story to us.  What juicy bit of history, you may wonder, got 2 whole chapters in 2 separate books of the Old Testament set aside for it?  Wait for it………

David counted his army.

You’re outraged, I know.  How dare he?  A king counting his army?  An unpardonable sin.

But as you dig a bit deeper you see the whole picture.  The story is about a king who’s doing pretty well.  Victory after victory has been handed over to him along with wealth, territory, and power.  Up until now, it has only been prayer and complete trust in the mighty hand of God that has given David what he’s won.

And up until now that was enough.  But that’s the funny thing with successes.  After awhile, we start to think we’re hot stuff.  And we start to count-  the men in our vast army…or maybe the blog followers.  We count the pounds lost, the miles run, the titles earned, the cases won.  We take stock of our age, our wage, the spouse, the house, the marriage, the baby carriage, the ex, the sex, all of it.  Bank account, shoe amount, Facebook friends and happily-ever ends.  If we can count it and compare it, we do.   And whether we’re in a castle, on the web, at the workplace, mall, bank, gym, or playground, we look for something to pat ourselves on the back about and say, “Good job.  I did that.  Me.  Mine.”

We start to sound a little like toddlers- but toddlers with a heavenly Daddy.  As if every good and perfect gift didn’t come from His hand.  As if we could take one step, one breath, without Him.

As if I could write one blog, one word, without Him.

I suppose I could.  Sometimes I’m tempted to.  Gotta keep the readers coming, you know.

And unfortunately, maybe sometimes I have and maybe sometimes I will.  But I have no interest in writing my own musings.  And trust me, neither do you.  The best I can come up with are puffs of wind and smoke- pat words and niceties that do nothing to change the world but only barge in on the conversation God is fully capable of having and is, with every one of us, whether we’re listening or not.

The blogosphere doesn’t need my opinions.  What you, I, what we all need is not flimsy drivel, but truth,  take-it-to-the-bank kind of truth.  We need the cold-hard-cash kind of truth, not monopoly money masquerading as the real thing.  Anything less is a waste of paper, pixels, time.

The only way I know to find that kind of truth and share it is to continue to read and listen, and sometimes listen again and again until I know He’s saying something He wants me to write about.  Because it’s then that it’s His doing and not mine.  When I wait on every word from His mouth and depend on it like water is when I can no longer take any credit and all glory goes to Him.  And that is my heart’s desire.

So I cannot promise to write often or even ever again.  All I can do is promise to read long and listen hard, and try to obey when His prompting puts me in front of this keyboard and computer screen.

I remain, 1000 words later, faithfully yours,

A truly, very bad, very dependent, but very content blogger

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The Story

“If I have a hope, it’s that God sat over the dark nothing and wrote you and me, specifically, into the story, and put us in with the sunset and the rainstorm as if to say, Enjoy your place in my story.  The beauty of it means you matter, and you can create within it even as I have created you. 

I’ve wondered, though, if one of the reasons we fail to acknowledge the brilliance of life is because we don’t want the responsibility inherent in the acknowledgment.  We don’t want to be characters in a story because characters have to move and breathe and face conflict with courage.  And if life isn’t remarkable, then we don’t have to do any of that;  we can be unwilling victims rather than grateful participants.”

Donald MillerA Million Miles in a Thousand Years

I read this last night and it jarred me.  Maybe it’s because being the reader, the wanna-be writer, the head-in-the-clouds dreamer that I am, the idea of the story seems so beautiful, so poetic.  Maybe it’s just reassuring when the world around is shaking and the oceans are swirling and I’m feeling small.  Whatever the reason, it resonates.  And I think it resonates because it’s true. 

I’ve done life pretending there was no story, that I’m one of billions, that my days, my moments, my miniscule life doesn’t matter.  It’s a hollow life -I tell you- one without much joy or meaning, because after all, it doesn’t matter.  But it’s a life that’s seems easy to lead because really, I’m too busy planning birthday parties, scheduling doctor’s appointments and paying bills.  To think that there’s a greater role to play is just too exhausting and maybe a bit too frightening.  And even if there was a story, I’d just be a bit player anyway- one of those extras who get paid 20 bucks for 12 hours of filming just to walk across the street, in the backround, on a dark night.  I’ll leave the star billing to the smarter, skinnier, richer, more powerful people of the world because if anyone has a story, it might be them, but certainly not me.  At least this is what I tell myself.

But I’ve discovered something recently: 

God doesn’t make bit players.

Time and time again across the pages of Scripture you see it- a man with a stutter who says ‘yes’ to God and ransoms millions of his people;  a brave, young shepherd with a song in his heart who’s annointed king;  a prostitute who takes a step of faith and God writes her into the lineage of Christ  -people so easily dismissed by this world and yet they believed in a bigger story.

Every story has an author.  And if it’s true that we are part of a grander story, then we need a writer-  not just any writer, but one that can scan across the pages of time.  We need an author with an overarching plan and purpose who can weave billions of people, personalities and passions  into a plot. 

Acts 17:26-27 says, “God began by making one person, and from him came all the different people who live everywhere in the world.  [the cast!]  God decided exactly when and where they must live. [the stage is set!] God wanted them to look for him and perhaps search all around for him and find him [the plot unfolds!], though he is not far from any of us:  We live in him.  We walk in him.  We are in him.”

Psalm 139:1-10, 13-16  “Lord, you have examined me and know all about me.  You know when I sit down and when I get up.  You know my thoughts before I think them.  You know where I go and where I lie down.  You know thoroughly everything I do.  Lord, even before I say a word, you already know it.  You are all around me- in front and in back- and have put your hand on me.  Your knowledge is amazing to me;  it is more than I can understand. 

Where can I go to get away from your Spirit?  Where can I run from you?  If I go up to the heavens, you are there.  If I lie down in the grave you are there.  If I rise with the sun in the east and settle in the west beyond the sea, even there you would guide me.  With your right hand you would hold me. ..

You made my whole being;  you formed me in my mother’s body.  I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way.  What you have done is wonderful.  I know this very well.  You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in my mother’s body.  When I was put together there, you saw my body as it was formed.  All the days planned for me were written in your book before I was one day old.”

The Author knows His characters, inside and out.  He created them just so.  But here’s the difference:  these characters have choices, ones He doesn’t get to make.   But ever true to the purpose, He continues to write.  He weaves.  The good and the bad.  The triumphs and defeats.  The blessings and consequences.  The Master Author uses them all in the script.  Though the characters have flaws, He weaves poetry.  And every word points to Him because He’s the happy ending.   

He wrote me in the story- me the infant;  me the wife and mom;  me the procrastinator, doughnut-lover, head-in-the-clouds dreamer. 

But I get to pick the part I play. 

That’s what free will is.  I can choose to live like I’m not part of my story, this world’s story, His story.  I can pretend that I’m writing my own life, every bit of it. 

But when I look around, I know I haven’t written the smell of lilacs, the majesty of the ocean or my daughter’s fiery personality.  He wrote those.  He wrote me.  He knows me like no one knows me.  And as a pretty darn good author, He has a pretty darn good idea what my story can look like when I insert myself into the part He wrote for me.  It’s a perfect part.  Star status.  No one else can play it like me.  No one else can play it but me.  So will I?

I guess I need to start reading my lines.