My life is filled with words. Truly. You should see the lengths of the novel-emails I send and receive on a near daily basis...and we won't even talk about my text conversations. This Mac is a curse and a blessing (ask my friends) because on it, I can "text" longer and faster than ever before. This morning I sent one out that was 1,000 words. That's the length of an essay, you guys.
Anyway, after my 2-part post on The Church, a friend texted and asked if he could send me an email with "some thoughts that were too long to text." So I sent my address his way and went to bed.
This morning, his email was there in my junk folder, and I was so excited to read it. When someone asks you if they can send you an email that's "too long to text," you just know it's going to be good.
You guys. I need to introduce you to Mason. He's a writer (though he doesn't know it, and he'd never tell you even if he did) because anyone who WRITES LIKE THIS in an EMAIL is most certainly a writer. There is just no other explanation. His words are below, and below that is our conversation from this morning in which I say some things that seem important for all of us to hear.
Thanks, Mason, for your words.
I have some thoughts on the whole idea of "famous Christians" and how many of us don't exercise our gifts for fear of getting big egos or beginning to desire The Things Of This World. If you'd like to read them, there's a "read more" link after my sign-off.
Mason went on to say that he appreciates how disciplined I am in blogging--that it's an art. And then he expressed some more frustrations about having "this intense creative energy that so quickly becomes selfishly distorted." He has talked to so many people our age who have the same fear--they feel called to ministry and see all these "famous Christians" and "big deal pastors with NYT bestsellers" and suddenly they think "hm, I'd kinda like to be a Big Deal too!" And then suddenly their "call to ministry" becomes a "desire to be famous" and they either GO BECOME FAMOUS or they GET REALLY SCARED OF THE FACT THAT THEY "WANT" TO BE FAMOUS and so they drop out of ministry altogether to try to save their humility.
First: I’ve never thought of blogging as being an art--or a discipline. So it is an honor that anyone might see it that way. To be honest, it is the only way I CAN be. I HAVE to write, not because I have time for it or am disciplined enough to do it but because my BRAIN cannot possibly hold all my thoughts, if I want to stay sane. So, in favor of sanity, I write. I have copious journals, as well. And I have about 12 consistent pen pals. And pages and pages of notes on my phone. And all my book margins are FILLED with thoughts that could be turned into novels. Overkill? Maybe. But honestly, at least I’m not out numbing my too-many-thoughts with drugs and booze. Writing is literally my therapy. And, it’s become habit. “When you need to write something, you sit down and write--doesn’t matter what else (school studying) you’re sacrificing,” I tell myself. Somehow, I’ve always “had time” to write, even when I don’t have time. So I just keep doing it. My rationale is: “Jordan, writing a blog post instead of studying for your exam has NEVER NOT ONCE had negative consequences in the past. So what makes you think it will this time? Trust your history. It tells you what to do in this moment.” And the what-to-do looks like stopping and churning out a blog post.
But yes, I respect the notion that keeping up a blog takes effort. I don’t deny that!
Second: I think all of our creative energies become selfishly distorted. I am chief of sinners in that regard. Do you know how many times a day I check my “stats” after sending out a post? Infinity times. Do you know how much I crave people (like Mason) sending me notes saying “WOW THAT WAS A GOOD ONE?” A lot. I crave it a lot.
But you know. Here’s the thing. If I let all my worries about potentially being selfish KEEP ME FROM SPEAKING OUT AND USING MY GIFTS, then I’m on Satan’s team. Satan just wants to take us off God's team, and he'll use whatever he can to accomplish that, even our good motives. I think he uses guilt and shame a lot to keep people like us silent. He can’t stop us any other way. He’s got to silence us. And because he knows we ALSO have huge hearts and are very deep thinkers, he knows that if he can get us to think too much about the possibility of us using our gifts for selfish gain, we’ll stop using them altogether. We get fed up and angry and upset and confused that we have all this energy but it's mixed up with selfishness and so we become paralyzed. We step into the world of "speaking out" with all our fallen, selfish motives and then WE START TO HATE IT ALL SO MUCH THAT WE RETREAT ALL TOGETHER. Then he wins.
So, I refuse to let him win. When I get too high on my pedestal (daily), I laugh about it, tell someone, make light of it (so as to not dwell on it all day long), and say “sorry, God. Humble me.” And then I move on. And I keep writing.
Basically, God's like "yeah you're selfish, but I want you on my team. Let me take care of the rest." And while Jesus certainly pulled away from all the crowds and the recognition, what he did not do was silence His voice altogether and step away from His purpose.
Yes, many people our age (and the generation above us) have the same problem. The difference is, some people DO do it (writing/speaking/whatever) because they want to be a big deal. THAT is a poor motive. But the rest of us--we do it because it’s our gift. And, granted, we do have the THOUGHT “woah, I could be a big deal if I wrote this” but we don’t write it BECAUSE of that thought. The "Big Deal possibility" is like, an after thought. I think that’s the difference. I write because it’s my therapy and because I feel like I need to write--to not do so would be to silence something God very clearly has given me. If I happen to become a big deal because of it, well then GOD PLEASE KEEP ME HUMBLE. But I’m not out there LOOKING for ways to become a big deal (and when I do start looking, which happens sometimes, I ask God to keep me humble and to NOT give me “that deal” or “that contract” or “that whatever” just so that I don’t get a big head.)
So guys. Let's keep running our races. Guilt and shame are tools of the enemy and they are antagonistic to Kingdom Work. Let's keep Good and Wise People in our courts who will knock us down a few notches when that Big Ego starts to build, and let's take all praise/adoration for our works and give it back to God. He's the reason any of us are doing anything "good" at all, in the first place.
Grace and Peace to you, friends. Guilt, be gone.
And, one last word from Mason: "Find every family member and friend you know seeking/doing ministry and give them this same encouragement. How greatly our leaders just need to be cared for and encouraged in the same way we do our children."
Yes, let's do just that.
hey, i'm jordan.
i write here because i think our words are worth sharing.