Have you—yes, you, the person reading this—ever posted something on Facebook just to make others think of you in a certain way? Taken a picture of you looking good or doing something awesome just to impress someone? Said something borderline mean just to be funny, modified your real opinion just to fit in, refused to admit you were wrong just to show that person, that one particular person who is so self-important, that you are just as good as they are?
Or, maybe a better question: has there been a day when you haven’t done one of these things?
It’s been a while for me, even here on this blog. I’d like to say that I always write on it for the right reasons, but most of the time (all of the time?) our motivations are mixed. On my good days, I write on this blog because I want to start good conversations, because I love it, and because I know God has given me the gift of communicating, and I want to use that to his glory.
On my bad days, my fear of a life that goes unwitnessed means that I turn to the Internet with my thoughts and stories and feelings in order to feel validated and secure. I let my good desire to be loved turn into an endless cycle that feeds on the affirmation of others and yet is never quite satisfied. I want you to like what I say, and to like me, and to like me so much that….
That what? That I matter, I guess. That I am doing something great for God. That I can finally feel like I’ve earned your approval, and maybe his too.
Sometimes I write to take my identity from Christ and put it back in my own control. And that looks so ugly, there, written out in actual words, but it’s true.
And I need to pause and remember. I need to stop writing, stop congratulating myself, stop trying to always be right, stop worrying about what other people think and be still and know that he is God.
That he is God and I am not.
That I am living a life, not a Facebook news feed.
That the things I learn and the choices I make are part of becoming more like Christ, not becoming a blog post content generator.
That other people are people, not checkmarks on my to-do list, pawns in my debates, or props in the artfully designed and choreographed production that is my life, starring me.
And, after I get that reality check, I need to remember that I am still loved, no matter what, and it’s not something I have to earn after all.
Today, I’m not writing a blog post (although the explanation of why this isn’t a blog post took longer than I thought). I’m not telling stories about myself or sharing my thoughts on Scripture or being witty or deep or anything other than achingly flawed and human. None of those things are necessarily bad, and I’ll probably be back to my usual schedule next week. I just need a break. I need time to think about what it means to stop kinda-sorta-maybe want to change and actually do something about it. I need to be more content in some areas of my life and less content in others.
I need a little less chaos of my own creation and a little more silence.