Last night on Twitter I spontaneously asked bloggers to send me a link to their favorite piece of writing. I thought maybe like five people would respond. I was flooded with replies. As of this morning, people are still replying to me--eager to share their favorite writing. I am overwhelmed in all the right ways.
Tears pour down my cheeks as I read of lost brothers, the beauty of living a life of "measurable solitude," of unabashedly "being fat," of new definitions for Godly womanhood, of being discouraged by how Christians use the phrase "speaking the truth in love" and wanting to BE something kinder.
I'm amazed by how many "undiscovered" writers there are--bravely putting their feelings and thoughts into words and sending them out into the great void--many times without receiving a comment, a tweet, an FB share or word of encouragement in return.
Your bravery, friends. Your beauty. Your daring. It touched me so deeply. It convicted me.
I realized how "stuck" I'd become in my own little online niche--always reading the same blogs, the same Twitter feeds. I was reminded how important it is to read widely, read outside my comfort zone.
There was one common refrain among those who shared with me. It went something like this: "I'm not a great writer, but here's a piece I kinda like..." Or: "Nobody reads my stuff, but here's a piece I'd really like more people to see..."
That broke my heart. I, too, remember feeling invisible. I remember wondering why I kept blogging and writing when nobody was reading. I remember checking my stats and seeing 38 pageviews. I was like: WOW! THIRTY EIGHT! And then I remembered that probably 20 of them were me checking my own site, lol.
But the same fire that was in me back then is still in me today and so I kept writing. I wrote because I loved writing, because I dared to hope someday someone would read my words and say: "YES! Me too! I've felt that way." I blogged because I longed for connection.
We so NEED encouragement on this writing journey, don't we? Writing is such a solitary endeavor and with it, the deep-seated fear that no-one will like what we wrote, no-one will understand us. I'm here today to tell you: what you're doing is valuable. It's meaningful. KEEP GOING.
Today, I'd like to encourage that connection by sharing a few of the most outstanding excerpts from the posts I read last night.
And I hope you'll continue the encouragement by clicking over to their site and leaving an encouraging comment. Tell them what it was about their writing that you loved. Share your own story with them. If you're a writer or blogger, you know how much it means when someone takes the time to tell you they appreciate your words.
I don’t have a problem referring to myself as “fat” and “ugly” because those are simply descriptors. They hold no moral weight. They are not indicative of my value as a person...Acknowledging the reality of my appearance has not been depressing; it has been freeing. I don’t have to pretend that I’m pretty..Joi @ Confessions of a Fat, Ugly Geek
Sometimes I feel suffocated. The guilt is the absolute worst. It sucks that I have to do extra stuff for him. But it sucks worse when I don't want to do those things, because that makes me feel like a horrible person...I have to do all those little extra things that come with having a quadriplegic husband and taking him to the beach, and making sure he doesn't get too hot, and making sure there is parking, and not being able to go down to the water to lay out because the planked walkways only go so far in that particular spot. --Dana @ Love Like This Life
You decide to write about your day. Then you remember that your days are spent in measurable solitude. Alone, but surrounded by people. You worry that people will pity you. That people will think how you must be sad soul. How lonely you must be. You write it anyway. --Melody Cook @ Melody's Musings
It often feels like I’m standing in front of an eternal card catalogue, where I’ve so carefully filed every experience and insight about God, the life of faith, the church. I’m standing there, pulling out one card at a time, and I’m flummoxed. Is this true? Why do I think or believe this? Is this mine? Or did I inherit it from my parents, my church, my fear? Not everything is wrong, not every foundation I’ve built my life upon is sand. Thank you, God. --Sarah Torna Roberts
The language we have access to really determines the thoughts and feelings we’re allowed to have, and while CCM was its own unique kind of solace to me in hard times, it also limited my emotional range and somewhat hid me from the fact that pretty much all of my feelings were normal (not necessarily “good” or “healthy” way but “hey, many people feel like this, no you’re not a monster” way). --Kirby @ The Coffee Spoon
In such an atmosphere of freedom and grace,I find that I’m not such a drinker these days. And there you have God’s approach in a nutshell – change never comes from Him belittling you or making you feel like a failure, it comes from a place of complete love and acceptance. ---Emma @ Faith Monkey
This is not a story of how things get better real quick, or how time heals everything, or how there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel because you realize that isn’t always true when you’re a year past trauma and you’re still clinging to your pillow and kleenex like they are your life line. --Rebekah Richardson @ With His Hands
I am a woman and I want to be treated as a human being who has valuable thoughts and opinions. I want to be treated this way not just by other women, but also by men. --Maggie @ Sparks From the Soul
Renewal is a PROCESS, not a one-time event! This approach to our spiritual, emotional, and personal lives would reap far more benefit than a “resolution.” If we embrace the PROCESS, than any day is a day in which we can decide to start or continue renewal. If we don’t expect a one-time event, then we can be patient with ourselves and with our God... --Clark @ Mirrors
Married people have babies. These things happen. And then we are married almost three years and I CAN’T WAIT ANY LONGER. The plan is to start trying. Sooner than later.And then lymphoma. --Andrea @ Honesty With Andrea
Thank you for sharing your hearts & writing with me. I'm beyond honored. Keep going. KEEP WRITING.