As a writer, the thought of instant feedback is a little bit mind-blowing. The rule goes that if you want applause or rejection, best become a stand-up comedian or a preacher (but please not both at the same time). This is where the concept of blogging invigorates me. Feedback. The ability to quickly and succinctly discover what these writings prompt inside of you.
To this end, a few days ago I blogged about my tendency to attempt to earn my way to God, and how being forthright about my weaknesses with others has changed me. After this post, I received a response from an individual named Timothy:
“How do I know what you say you actually live? In past times, I have been involved with many people at church and they can say maybe the right things but the fruit of their life is quite contrary. Reading what you say seems ok, but is it true?”
Wow. Awesome. Timothy, I have both good news and bad news for you. First, the bad news: regardless of who is influencing you through their words, their writing, or even their actions — they are all going to fail. I have days where I live what I preach and I have moments where I do not. Many times, I am writing from a point of clarity in my life, while other times I am realizing the truth as I write it down to you. Many writers are not as much “experts on their own writing” as they are “readers of their own writing.” The difference that I would say I am continuing to discover is that there is a healthy way to live this reality — and that is through transparency and forthrightness. I am fortunate enough to belong to a community of believers (which includes Believers Church in Tulsa as well as my co-workers friends, and family) who refuse to do the “pretend perfection” approach to faith and instead opt for the “be completely known – and follow Jesus” approach. This, I highly recommend. Christians stumble. All Christians stumble. The most profound place you can be as a human following Jesus is to be in a circle of followers of Christ who know HOW you stumble, WHEN you stumble, and WHY you stumble. Our goal as followers of Christ is to surround ourselves with a community that understands who we are and pushes us toward Christ.
I concur with another blog-reader, Adam, who responded:
“I agree, many of us can write the â€œrightâ€ things, but not live them out. Quite personally, whether or not Mark lives out what he writes should have no bearing on anyone if what he writes is truth. I can think of many times I have given advice that does ring true, but I fail to follow through myself. It stems from the challenge of it all, and the fear that I might fail, and many other things (not to make excuses). I surrender my fear and insecurity to Jesus on a regular basis that I can become the person I actually am. Great words Mark. Persist in Christ, and may He exist in all you do.”
Timothy, my life goal is that the things God allows me to write down resonate with you, help you to be known, and push you toward Christ. But, I certainly hope you do not misconstrue that to assume that I am without flaws or failures. I have far too many to count. However, through that weakness, Christ has revealed Himself to be strong in my life.
And that, my friend, is what makes all the difference.