I am writing this post as I am about to launch my first blog. I have spent hours writing, editing and setting things up. Along the way I have had my doubts: “Is this really what I should be doing? Why not just write blog posts, but never publish them?” For the most part, I have managed to push through these doubts.
But, this morning on my Facebook feed I came across a friend who had just launched her own blog. She managed to launch her blog just before mine. And her blog had more pictures. Her content was more than mine. Just like that, the excitement of launching my own blog vanished like mist.
And doubt set in.
In this moment of coming across a ‘competitor’, I had a choice – I could give up, or follow through with what I had already started. Giving up included accepting that I was indeed in some kind of competition, which didn’t feel right. We all know that famous quote: “Comparison is the thief of joy” (Theodore Roosevelt). Because I believe we were not made for comparison, but rather for sharing and collaboration. The bible even touches on this when Jesus refers to the church as the body and how each piece of the body has a specific role to play (1 Cor. 12:12). Therefore, I am certain she feels just as intimidated, as I do, to write and be vulnerable on such a public platform, as I do.
Giving up didn’t feel like the right option. Instead, I started to question why someone else would be promoted to start blogging at the same time and with the same heart as myself. In my case, I know that God has called me to document my past and current lessons – trust me, I tried running away from this idea which would force me to be vulnerable in such a permanent medium. But, I was called to write. Even if it is just helping me cement what I have learnt or expand my faith and trust in Him.
Yet, it had to be more than just a similar season for both of us to document what God is teaching and doing in our lives. I know that God is always reaching out to his people (Ps 18:16).
But why is He, in this case at least, using the same medium of blogging?
Because God does want to reconcile us and all things to Himself, through Christ (Col 1:18), blogs included. The more I thought about it, the more I started to see similarities in what was currently happening in my church’s Young Adults ministry, and what my fellow blogger and I were experiencing.
Recently, the Young Adults ministry at my church took a dip. The strong sense of community started to fade, but it wasn’t lost entirely.
Because people’s desire to belong somewhere remains integral.
This is why bible study groups are so powerful, because they create a safe environment where people can belong, learn and grow. A group like this fosters sharing. Sharing of values, thoughts, fears, experiences, wisdom and support.
However, there is a major lack of these safe spaces, not only in our churches, but in our society. Our friendships are superficial and our lives are fast paced. This hurried and superficial existence does not assist in creating meaningful spaces of belonging. Of sharing. Of being vulnerable.
Surely, if this sense of belonging is so integral people would pursue it, despite all the challenges?
Some are pursuing it. But, for the most part people don’t pursue belonging because belonging is directly linked with being vulnerable. To open up to others and be truly honest is difficult; it takes a large amount of courage and trust. I am an extrovert, but four years ago, when I joined a bible study group with my now husband (who was my boyfriend at the time), it took me 6 months to open up. Of course, I talked and shared during those first 6 months, but it was only ever the bare minimum required of me. I never went deep, because I was scared. Scared of being vulnerable and not knowing how people would respond to my vulnerability. At the time, I told myself that I was building up trust, which was partly true. But, the fact was that I was hiding behind my fear because it seemed to keep me safe and protected. However, this fear of being vulnerable doesn’t protect us. It keeps us caged in. This is not what God wants for his people. He sent His Son to set us free (Gal 5:1)! Yet we still live captive lives, allowing ourselves to be trapped by our own fear.
When I finally took the plunge and opened up to my bible study group, there was breakthrough in my life. But the best part was not the breakthrough. The best part was the support, encouragement and love that I experienced when I was brave enough to be vulnerable. My vulnerability also helped others to be vulnerable, which helped them achieve breakthrough in their own lives and made us all realise that we are actually all on the same journey and that we all struggle.
It suddenly dawned on me that this is what God is doing through His blogs! He is drawing His people to Him. He wants us to experience a sense of belonging and He is reaching out in a relevant way. All those years back, when I was learning to open up to my bible study group, God was inviting me to be vulnerable in a safe space and to those around me. And now He’s kicking it up a notch!
Recently, I have had to face the fact that by posting these blogs I would be allowing a lot more people to know what is going on in my heart and mind. I’m being vulnerable in a not-so-safe space. Being honest takes a large amount of courage – courage I didn’t know I had when I started writing these blog posts. It’s so much easier for us Christians to just pretend that everything is ok and that we are all super holy. But, we are not holy, and often we are not ok either. And that’s ok.
I want to challenge you to open up and be more vulnerable; let this be a starting point for you. Let the vulnerability of these posts, as well as other's blog posts, inspire you to be more vulnerable in your not-so-safe spaces too. We serve one God and He speaks in one voice. While, as bloggers, we might share on different topics and themes, the core message stays the same – God wants to draw us to Himself in order for us all to experience a sense of belonging and know that we are not alone.
So, instead of feeling inadequate and seeing other bloggers as my competitors, I want to commend them for their bravery and vulnerability. I realise now we aren’t competing, we are a team working towards the same goal of being faithful and bringing glory to God through our words.
I would love to hear from you:
Would you be brave enough to be vulnerable and share with whom or what are you competing?
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