Let’s have some fun at the blogger’s expense, and what’s more fun than a self-deprecating blog post, am I right?! I can handle fingers being pointed at me – they just have to be MY fingers.
I’ll let you in on a little secret – social media isn’t my savvy. I’ve never had an account on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. I’m a blogger who doesn’t read blogs. Not sure if that’s typical of most bloggers, but that’s my story, anyway. Prior to One More Truth, my laptop’s primary functions were managing the budget, checking emails, and googling recipes.
As a matter of fact, it was the googling of recipes that introduced me to blogs. A cornucopia of food blogs, to be specific. Talk about a diverse world of ‘about me’ photos. The gluten-free blogger’s ‘about me’ features her smiling children noshing gluten-free, dairy-free cupcakes at a tea party. The paleo blogger’s ‘about me’ is a full body shot of the author flexing while devouring a coconut oil infused turkey leg hot off the grill. The baker is wearing an apron, the penny-pincher is wielding coupons and a whisk, and the chef is chopping organic peppers from the local farmer’s market. Oh my. Needless to say, the blogging genre didn’t seem to be my scene. But God used a few pivotal conversations to change my mind and before I knew it, I had a blog that needed an ‘About Me’ picture.
I enlisted my eight year old as my photographer and we banged that photo shoot out in under 10 minutes, thanks to my daughter’s 2nd grade attention span. And thanks to my 2nd grade attention span, my headshot was cropped, filtered, and ready to go in under 5 minutes. We used really fancy equipment: my ‘eligible for upgrade’ smartphone (cracked screen and all) and its less than stellar photo editing tools. Pretty professional stuff. No props, no airbrush, no makeup touch-ups – just me, wearing the same unfancy clothes I’d worn all day with the same unfancy hair I’d worn for most of my adult life. That’s me, plain and simple.
Because I like simple. Maybe not always plain, but I do like clear. And practical. The more I read God’s Word, the more I discover how very clear and simple it truly is. Jesus absolutely astounded people with His simple answers to their philosophical questions. He often used trees and plants to illustrate faith and spiritual growth and other ‘Living like Jesus’ lessons because they were common and relatable pictures. He used mud to repair blind eyes, probably because it was practical and available. God used only words to create the universe. When Moses asked for a persuasive visual for Pharaoh, God told him to look no further than the staff already in his hand. I’m amazed how often God the Father and God the Son used simple commands, such as ‘Go’, ‘Come’, ‘Follow’, ‘Turn’, ‘Do not fear’, and ‘Love’. They didn’t waste words. The simplicity theme weaves its way throughout the entire Bible. I love that.
I chose the ‘sideways glance’ headshot for One More Truth because it seemed less vulnerable. I speak openly about lots of things and I’ll occasionally share what’s on my mind, but I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve. I’m passionate, but emoting isn’t my natural tendency. Talking about feelings is an act of bravery for me. When it comes to words, I like the Jesus approach – less is more. James (author of the New Testament book of ‘James’) was the earthly brother of Jesus. For everything James saw and heard throughout his childhood, I imagine he could have easily written several 500 chapter books. Instead, he wrote only a 5 chapter book, known especially for its warnings against saying too much. James kept it short and sweet. I appreciate that. I’m busy, you’re busy, we’re bombarded by information all day long, and sometimes I swear that if I have to read one more email, one more statement, or one more opinion, I’ll just explode. Talking like this makes me feel like a blogger.
But I’m not a blogger. Having my picture on a blog page doesn’t make me a blogger. Posting blogs more regularly makes me a blogger, and that’s been a little problem for me lately. Sure I’m busy, but most of my free time (when I have some) is spent writing. I have pages and pages of words, because writing is how God works out His truth in my brain and in my life. But OMT only appears in your Inbox when it’s something worth reading, and as OMT’s harsh editor and toughest critic, I quickly determined that nothing I had written was worth reading.
I’m teaching a class at Hope called ‘Living Bravely’. It couldn’t have come at a better time, because I’m learning more than I’m teaching. I’m in a season of change – internal change, mostly – and change often causes fear to surface. You can’t live bravely if you’re paralyzed by fear. In fact, Jesus repeatedly said, ‘Do not fear’ because He knew fear comes naturally for us. Fear consumes us, actually. But why not fear when you have much to lose? Why not doubt yourself when you’re in danger of looking stupid? Why not hide in terror when conditions are dangerous? Because Jesus said, ‘Take courage’. Courage is accepting danger, difficulty, and risk by acting anyway. Courage is action in spite of fear. Courage is getting over yourself so you can trust God’s plan. Courage is telling yourself to shut up and jump already. Courage is reminding yourself that you’re good enough, smart enough, and gosh darn it, Jesus picked you to be on His team. Courage is remembering that no matter what Jesus calls us to do, He promised He would be there with us.
I never would have chosen myself to be on a team as awesome as Jesus’. I’m imperfect, inadequate, and quite frankly, I suck at a bunch of stuff. Maybe you feel the same way. God used people like us all the time – look at Moses, Gideon, Esther, Peter, Paul, and the list goes on. He took weak, timid people, He gave them courage, and helped them become brave.
I began writing to encourage others in living the real Jesus life, and maybe it does, but in the process, writing is encouraging me. It’s helping me live bravely. It’s putting some fears to rest, which is pretty wonderful because there is no fear in love. When Jesus was asked to simplify His instructions for us, He sifted them down to love: Love Him and love others. Love with all we’ve got. It’s difficult to be consumed by love when you’re consumed by fear. It’s impossible.
So I’ll leave you with this: Live bravely. Whatever you’re supposed to be doing in His name (and I’m guessing you already know what that whatever is), whether it be a big deal or a small something, do it. Do it with love. And take courage.