Originally published Tuesday, 19 August 2014.
Being from the south, beauty pageants are in my past, as well as swim suit competitions. Talk about wanting to permanently erase some images from all minds exposed to that! Never mind the swimsuits for "scholarship programs," comfort in a swimsuit in front of peers has never been a breeze.
For instance, the constant primping that teenagers inevitably face before pool parties and meet-ups at the beach. Oh, the agony! (OK, most of the time it is not that bad, but work with me here.)
Being a pudgy child, it may be that discomfort in a bathing suit has been a reality from elementary years. Though by no means enough of one to keep me from the water. This fish loves to swim and explore the shore.
Why all of this talk about uncomfortable bathing suit scenarios? I am getting there.
With writing comes moments of exposure akin to public speaking in a bathing suit.
A recent re-tweet on Twitter summarized "good writing" as follows, "If you don't spill your heart's blood on the page, or leave your soul's echo in the story, they're only words."
On trips to the beach I am primarily comfortable in my skin. Everyone is in a swim suit...some needing more fabric than they allotted. Everyone is more exposed. Move this to a pool party among coed believers and up goes the inhibition alert. Especially when it is a kids pool party and I am primarily the only mommy in the pool. Anyone else been there?
The readership of my posts makes me feel the same way. With no Google Analytics or any other stat counter plugins on this blog, I have no idea how many people nor whom is reading my diary so to speak. Unless people I know personally tell me they have read a post then for all I know I am writing to my pals and gals at the beach.
Why would writing for an audience of strangers feel less threatening than writing for an audience of friends, family, and acquaintances?
Much like evangelists in the past who traveled between differing congregations, a blogger without real community readers, those who know him or her and their daily walk, can write virtually without accountability. That is why my insecurity as a writer sometimes continues to make me cringe when a friend or acquaintance tells me they read a post. I worry about grammar errors, the quality of the post, was I dogmatic, was I too vulnerable, how did this change their opinion of me?
All of these insecurities are not of the Lord. My purpose in writing is to share. Be it our life, our Lord, or encouragement to run the race with perseverance.
When a friend tells me she read a post, it also makes me joyful because it provides accountability. Often times real-life readers provide affirmation and spiritual support. Authenticity is a cheap word in many cases today, but true possession of authenticity in speech, life, and writing is worth more than thousands of page hits per post. Thank you to "real-life" readers who help keep me authentic and to a growing on-line community who return again and agian to pursue Jesus together.