I will admit, the thing I find most challenging about blogs is making it a habit to post regularly. Don’t get me wrong–I have things to say, opinions; I have projects that I would like to share with the world. Content has never been a problem.
My White Whale has always been one simple thing: Confidence.
I believe this digital age has been a hindrance, rather than a help to communication. Bear with me, now, but if you take a moment to consider the written word, I think you will find there is a distinct lack of intentional consideration over what someone is saying, and why they are saying it. Hiding behind screens, and social media tags has made people braver, but not necessarily better. It seems as though everyone has an opinion, and they not only want to share it, they shout it and demand it be heard. They demand that you should also be accept it as truth.
For me, the screen has never made me feel safe, even now, quietly tapping away at my keyboard I have a little voice nagging at the back of my mind with questions such as, “Who is really going to read this?” and, “You sound like a dork.” Things feel so much more complicated when you know the internet is full of rants, and lots of opinions, but simple and significant discussion is rare and hard to find.
This year, I made a resolution to be braver, and to find my voice–but first, I have to discover what that means. What does it mean to have a voice? I mean, we all have one, but what exactly are we saying, why are we saying it, and does it benefit anyone to hear it?
I grew up raised by a Christian mother who shared her faith with me in the sweetest ways, and I still look back on those memories warmly, and find comfort in her little catch phrases. I still find them empowering today when I doubt my own self worth, or the validity of my thoughts and desires.
She would quote Phillipians chapter 4, verse 6 to me and say, “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things”, and those words would calm my anxiety in the face of difficult choices, and help me decide what was right for me at the time.
Mom also quoted Ephesians chapter 4 verse, 29 that says “Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you.”
Basically, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Or, better interpreted as “If you can’t say what you mean in a nice way, don’t say it until you can.” You want to help people, not tear them down.
I find myself reminded of those words when I try to find the courage to blog and share opinions of my own. I can be cynical, I tend to have a bent for sarcasm, and that can be an equation for a pretty salty person in my day to day life. Often, before I speak (okay, more often it’s after I’ve spoken), I have to ask myself if what I’m about to say is “true, noble, right,” and is it going to “do good for those who hear” me?
I think these are classic lessons in simply being good to one another, and I think that might be a good place to start in finding my voice. Instead of being good to one another, we often rage and tear each other down–everybody is on a different team and there are no grey areas to mingle and discuss opposing viewpoints. For people like me who struggle with anxiety and self confidence, that can be a terrifying world to live in when you’re trying to find an opening to join the discussion out there.
Rather than so desperately needing to be “right”, wouldn’t it be better for everyone for the goal to be learning something from someone?
So, this year, part of my “be braver” resolution is going to be making a habit of speaking anyway–even if it’s only a short post sharing something that made me smile, or something that made me feel bad. I’m going to speak and I’m going to share, and I’m going to learn the sound of my own voice, and what I want to say.
I’m going to keep it simple, but I’m going to make it significant, and I hope that I might do some good.