The motto for 2017 – Just Keep Posting.
Just as long as I’ve been writing these silly posts I’ve been worrying about how they’re perceived. Do my thoughts sound eloquent? Do my arguments make sense? Am I just a 20 year old kid without a clue? Does anyone actually care? I’d like to pretend my motives for continually posting here are pure…like I do it because I’m figuring out what I feel or think or believe. Or I write because I’m trying to challenge something…a standardized way of thinking, an attitude toward life. And perhaps these things do come about as a result of my effort, but if I’m really, brutally, painfully honest with myself, my motives are much less noble. I do it because I want you to think about me a certain way. I want you to believe I’m smart. I want you to say: “that kid Brett, man, he’s eloquent. He’s deep. His writing is special and always thought-provoking.”
I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. I haven’t felt excited about writing for this blog in a few months, and I think the reason for that is directly correlated to where I’m deriving value from. I want to influence and inspire people so they think about me in a particular way. But one of the things you realize when you start a blog is that just about everyone you’ve ever met also has a blog. And so, it becomes quite difficult to standout or feel as though you’re doing meaningful work, worthy of your time and effort. It begins to feel as though the work is futile, because if its not helping or influencing or inspiring large amounts of people, what’s the point? And yet, week after week, I keep coming back. I keep writing. I think the reason I keep coming back is because I do have something to say. I do have something to work out. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t love showing up to the keyboard and writing these things. The work is always harder than anticipated and painstakingly long. It feels like a waste of effort. All this time spent for something that probably only my mother will read. I don’t love the act of writing itself if I’m being honest.
What I do love though, is the feeling of putting something out into the world. I do love the feeling of having finished. Of having formulated some thought or opinion or idea through the act of pushing letters together. I do love the ability to reflect. To look back on thoughts as they were being formed. And so I guess in reflecting on the process, I’m realizing that looking good was never the purpose in the first place. I guess I’m finding that the reason I really started this work was to give myself some outlet. To reach that accomplishment of having put something into the world, of having finished it, of having formulated a thought. I guess I’m realizing that somewhere along the way, I tricked myself into believing that getting a lot of attention or making people think about me a certain way would make the work more meaningful. But the truth is it won’t and it doesn’t. The truth is that despite who may or may not read my writing, the value for the work does not come from the size of the audience or the depth of the impact the words may have. The truth is, the value is derived from the simple act of doing it.
I don’t mean for this to sound pessimistic. Of course I always want my writing to resonate and hold some meaning for you. I certainly wouldn’t post here if I hoped for otherwise. I only mean to say, that for much of the past six months, my motivation for the work has been misguided. I simply cannot write in hopes of lots of attention, or comments, or like and shares on social media. I must write because I enjoy the process. Because I’m expectant that God is trying to reveal something, if to no one other than me. And if, through that expectation, those other things come about, then so be it. But I cannot use them as my primary drive for pushing on. It’s not enough. I will always be let down. No amount of attention or praise or applause will ever satisfy.
And so this is my hope for 2017. To keep writing, expectant that God will reveal something through the work. To me, and hopefully to you as well. Perhaps you need to examine your motivations wherever it is that you’ve been called. What is that nagging voice telling you? The one that always seems to be pulling on your heart and whispering in your ear. I think it’s God, and I think he’s trying to tell us to trust the process. To apply ourselves to the work, and through the act of doing, He will shape the hearts.