If you’re reading this, you may assume that I think I have important things to say, and that I believe that they are worth your time to read. That’s not the case. I hope I have important things to say, but I certainly can’t promise that they’ll be worth your time. I will try to put these words in front of people on their screens, so that they can read them if they choose to do so. My hope and prayer, however, is that these words will encourage, when encouragement is needed. Self-importance and ego couldn’t have successfully raised and sustained this blog. That’s because I’m the most reluctant of bloggers. Yet, by God's grace I blog.
My sob story would be that the English teacher that I had during my Junior year in high school couldn’t be pleased. A boy named Eric in my small class got straight A’s with no green pen marks on his papers. My papers were slashed and dashed with green. Mrs. M refused to use red ink because she felt it violated and offended in an violent way. The truth is that green had the same effect on me.
So, for decades I was sure I was a bad writer, even when family, friends and doctoral overseers said differently. It’s the classic “lie-I-believed” story. The enemy took me out of circulation by letting one person’s opinion of one part of me direct my life course. Even now I acknowledge that my writing isn’t remarkable. But I understand that isn’t the point. I don’t write because I believe I’m a good writer. I write because God told me to do so.
It’s the classic “lie-I-believed” story. The enemy took me out of circulation by letting one person’s opinion of one part of me direct my life course.
It just so happened that my daughter is an amazing web designer. She patronized me and agreed to create a site for me. I wanted the minimum. She's incapable of the minimum. I had a website name in mind. She and her siblings vehemently vetoed my idea because it was targeting women, and they believed something broader was warranted. They came up with the name Prophetic Crossroads after much discussion. Certain that I couldn’t come up with anything better that met with their approval in a timely fashion, I agreed. So it is thus named now, and is much more than I expected that Christmas, a year ago.
I got bells and whistles that I never asked for. My daughter’s minimum was much more than mine was. But my daughter, a full-time student with more than one part-time job, couldn’t keep up with the articles that I was writing. Posting takes time, and so does teaching how to post, so the baton-passing was a slow and stressful process. But before I knew it, I was writing articles, finding photos, and posting them. This was never planned. Slapping up a few articles had morphed into a lot more than I imagined or anticipated.
But before I knew it, I was writing articles, finding photos, and posting them. This was never planned.
In fact, it took me about 6 months to admit to myself that I had become a blogger. Those first few months of ego-killing self-promotion had soured my lukewarm preconceptions about bloggers. I had seen them as people who felt they had deep and/or compelling ideas that commanded attention, and as people who were confident and affirmed writers. Yes, this is brutal honesty, and I apologize to you if you, too, are a misjudged but earnest blogger. But it didn’t take long to see that many people shared my prejudices. I certainly didn’t want to join the abundant, underread numbers of bloggers. I was “writing articles to encourage,” online. B L O G was a four letter word to me.
Fear of man takes many forms. Stage fright is a fear of man that involves fearing people’s disapproval of your performance. Since bloggers post their art on a public screen, some people may fear criticism in a similar way. I suffered from fear of man in this area, but it wasn’t because of that. What I feared was that people would judge me as self-important, at best, and deluded at worse. The only thing worse than being cocky is being cocky in a way that imposes on people. I was suffering from deeply-ingrained, image-preserving pride. I suspect that this very form of pride keeps many of us from doing and being all that God is asking of us.
It wasn’t easy telling even my closest friends what I was doing. I didn’t tell some of my extended family, because the content of some articles were, indeed, prophetic in nature, and their faith didn’t include some of my theology. It was painful seeing the patronizing look of so many friends: “Oh, my, Judy really is imposing on me this time.” I never heard the words, but I saw them on many faces. Some read a token article, some read two, and some read several. A few read a lot. God gave me those people as exhorters and I’m indebted to them.
I still avoided the word blog because I strongly disliked it and it wasn’t on my agenda, and it wasn’t what I wanted to do.
The Holy Spirit provided topics, and I had read some good books that I reviewed. I told people that I was writing articles to encourage people, because that’s what I was doing. I still avoided the word blog because I strongly disliked it and it wasn’t on my agenda, and it wasn’t what I wanted to do. Amazing that I was in such deep denial, but God was still working on my attitude and my pride.
It was more than a half year before I realized that Prophetic Crossroads was an up-and-running blog with actual traffic. I was a blogger! How did that happen? I cautiously used the word one day, and I felt like I was testing what may be thin ice. Would I plunge into icy water, never to rise, if I looked into the eyes of the person I spoke to, owning up to my boldness? Would she struggle to hide disapproval? Would she judge me, or even worse, would she run, avoiding me in supermarket aisles to not have to admit that she thought my articles were too boring to read? My friend’s reaction, in reality, was a non-reaction. The word was quickly swallowed in hurried conversation. But I had said it. It was true.
Blogging has raked my fear of man over the coals. That’s just like God. He’s always more concerned with the process that the product.
God has dealt with me another way. Blogging has raked my fear of man over the coals. That’s just like God. He’s always more concerned with the process that the product. I’ve heard hardly a bad thing about my writing. People are kind, really, when they read blogs with words like encouraging or strengthening in tag lines. I’m grateful for that.
My biggest critics simply ignore me and my posts, and I can take that. I can accept that because I really don’t want to impose. If you’re in my inner circle, I’ve imposed and thank you! I love you! If you’ve read articles without coercion, thank you! Bless you over and over! If you’ve been at all encouraged, praise God! He has me doing this for some reason, and I keep doing it because that drive is there, Holy Spirit led. If you knew how much I believed that Jesus is the way, and His love is so thorough, and His plans for you are so good, you’d understand why I keep writing, throwing daily stats to the wind, when all is said and done.
That is where you come in. If you read this, thank you. I’ve written many articles that are testimonies to God’s faithfulness in the face of perseverance. This article has been about determined obedience, and perseverance when the end of the story is not yet revealed. It’s hard. Discouragement is a powerful tool of our enemy. We are surrounded by it. But I haven’t given up. And neither should you. Whatever you want to quit, but know God has called you to, keep doing it! We’ll do our hard things together, and one day our testimonies will give God all the glory that He deserves.
Looking back, I have written over 150 articles in a year because I believed that God wanted me to. I hope that each article touched someone, and brought them to a deeper understanding of God’s love and concern for them. I didn’t do it for man’s approval, or I would have stopped 12 articles in. I pray over and over that God will encourage you. Thank you for reading, my friend. I pray for you. There’s a little box that says “Publish" that I click on with a prayer for every article that is posted. It's about you. God bless you, my friend.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”