This is my 100th blog post.
It’s hard to believe I’ve been blogging for more than two years. It took me more than a year before I even shared my blog with anyone, and the reason was partly insecurity and partly fear I wouldn’t keep up with it. I’d seen so many of my friends start blogs and either cease to update them regularly or quit them entirely. I never thought I’d still be blogging by now, but here we are.
This blog has been a significant part of my story over the past two years.
I started writing it during a really dark time in my life and spiritual journey. I was consumed with an idol that was slowly choking the life out of me. I couldn’t imagine a world without competition, I couldn’t find my own value without success. I was a competitive intercollegiate debater, and my life was ruled by whether I won or lost a debate. The need for human approval and earthly achievement determined my every decision.
I was slowly figuring out that law school might not be my next step, but I had no idea where to turn from there. I was about to finish my sophomore year of college, and I was lost – spiritually, emotionally, and in a way, physically.
Only a few months into this blog’s inception, God began to completely change my life. He miraculously freed me from that idol in a powerful way. I grew to know Him better than ever before and He taught me more than I could even process on my own. I fell in love, hard. (That story is here.)
This blog became a way to take what He was teaching me and unpack it. I discovered I learn best by teaching – orally or through the written word. So I started preaching the gospel to myself, all the time. I couldn’t get enough of it.
About six months later, I started getting some crazy ideas. I started thinking that maybe teaching the Bible was something I should actually pursue. It started with some offhand mentions of “I would love to go to seminary.” Then I started thinking that “one day” I actually would do that. And then I started thinking really scary things, like – “If only I knew this would work out, I would just do it right now.”
And then one day it hit me – what was I even saying? I was learning just how big my God was every day, and yet when it came to the dreams He was lovingly planting in my heart, my questions were nonsensical.
Am I going to be okay?
Am I going to be successful?
Is everyone going to think I’m crazy?
These were not Kingdom-minded questions. These were questions for fragile little humans, not my ocean-carving, life-breathing, heavens-creating God. I stopped right in my tracks and said the only thing I could say to this God: yes.
I said yes and I kept saying yes. My “yes” is only as powerful as my “no,” so I had to say some of those too. But they only made my yes more beautiful.
When you start saying no to earthly questions and fears and start saying yes to God, let me tell you something: you start to get dangerous.
The week after my first yes was a little glimpse of just how dangerous that little word can be. In the next week, every conceivable opposition would arise. A controversy over women in ministry erupted at my school, prompting friends and strangers alike to say things that pierced my heart and crushed my spirit. I was working in the marketing department for my school, and the social media response was swift and harsh.
My yes was almost beaten right out of me.
I started wondering if this was God speaking to me, letting me know that lines of communication had been crossed and this wasn’t the path He had for me.
But then I remembered: God doesn’t scare us out of anything.
He guides and He leads and He speaks through the wisdom of others, but He doesn’t use fear. That’s Satan’s tactic. That week ended up being the most confirming experience – my “yes” was scaring someone, and it was a someone I was perfectly fine scaring.
(I told you “yes” could be dangerous.)
A few months later, I started my internship at Burke Community Church. To be honest, I was pretty terrified. I knew I wanted to be in ministry, but I was fairly certain I wasn’t cool enough for high schoolers. By the end of the summer, I’d been covered in slime, mud, and hot-sauce-dipped-sardines. Weirdly enough, I’d loved every single second.
I’d also written devotionals for a week-long camp and missions trip – a project that seriously intimidated me. I kept asking more earthly questions-
Who do I even think I am, to be telling other people about the Bible?
What if I write something completely stupid?
What will people think? Will they like it?
But in the midst of my fear and insecurity, He spoke so clearly – I am with you. This is me working, not you. So sit back, beloved, and let me work through you.
So I did. And He worked.
After that summer, I was excited to keep writing. I was slowly starting to accept the idea that maybe I was good at this writing thing. During that Fall semester, I took a writing class that had nothing to do with my History degree. It was called “Writing as Cultural Engagement,” and it completely changed my life. For the first time, I was asked to write more cultural commentary-style pieces. And I absolutely loved it.
It was also the first time I started thinking that maybe this writing thing wasn’t just a small part of what He was asking me to do, maybe it was actually a pretty significant part. And maybe it was something I loved more than I had ever imagined.
I started writing for more places than just my personal blog.
I started discovering a desire to create really thoughtful responses to current issues. I started…debating.
That’s the most beautiful part of this whole story – it comes full-circle.
Like the story of all creation, He is redeeming what was once destructive and broken.
Debate – the very conduit for my idolatry – is now an experience being used to glorify Him. Debate gave me argumentation, logic, and communication skills – skills that I had never considered useful in the context that He is now using them.
That is the story of my blog. I started it in the midst of an idolatry that was squeezing the life out of me. I continued it as He freed me, rescued me, and gave me new life, new dreams, and new loves. And then this blog became a place to use the skills I once thought were too tainted with sin to ever be useful again.
That really is the great big story we’re all a part of: God redeeming and rescuing all the things we fear are too sin-tainted to be used for His glory.
It’s all about redemption. The story of my blog, the story of my life, the story of the whole wide world: redemption. Redemption over and over and over again. Amen.