Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Thing about Blogs…

This past weekend I had the opportunity to talk to a friend while we served together (I love church callings!). As we worked, I found myself talking about a couple struggles I have dealt with for many years and sometimes feel tired of dealing with…

After returning home I reflected on our conversation and was annoyed by the fact that I had not said much of the good stuff in my life. I just vented and probably gave a very lopsided view of how I was feeling about my life. It was just so incomplete…

Sometimes words are as... "clear as mud"
The ironic thing is that in the course of the conversation my friend and I went on to have a conversation about blogs and how they can give such a lopsided, incomplete image of a person’s life (funny how you can talk about something other people do – without realizing you may be doing it too). We talked about how these lopsided views can stimulate false beliefs which encourage a lot of readers to feel really insecure about their own lives. I told her I am REAL. I don’t put on a facade. I’m not one of those perfect people with a perfect life to drool over, nor would I pretend to be. She was excited about that. And I was glad to be genuinely real.

And yet, as we talked, I quickly realized there are some things (especially in confidence of others) I just don’t share! And though I don’t put on airs or lie about my life, it suddenly occurred to me that my blog may seem lopsided too. Why? Because though it is not my purpose to give a false impression of a life better than it is, it is also NOT my purpose to drag people down by dumping anything and everything. I do talk about struggles on my blog, but not usually in detail, and NOT while I am in the thick of experiencing them (I save that for one-on-one friends who help me through hard times). When it comes to blogs, I believe it is more helpful to others if I tell of my struggles AFTER I have come to a point of progression that I can speak of and offer hope for overcoming.

I want to be a source of LIGHT and truth, not of depression or confusion. This means I need to NOT say everything on my mind - even if it gives an incomplete view of my thoughts and life.

Here is one example of how even our own words can serve to give an incomplete view of our own lives…

I went outside one day and found joy in my garden and in it’s beauty – I took photos and blogged about it.

This was just shortly before a “series of unfortunate events” which caused me to temporarily lose a great deal of zest for life. TEMPORARILY - I stopped watering my garden. I stopped watering my lawn. (I stopped a few other things temoporarily too :o)... and the once beautiful space that I took photos of and posted on my blog came to look absolutely HORRIBLE (I could also give examples of other things I have shared which have gone from bad to good rather than from good to bad; it works both ways).

I told my friend of this and that I wondered if I should have posted photos of my dead garden and grass on my blog (just so my readers know that my life is as REAL as theirs is with all it's up's and down's)… Yes? No? Maybe? Would it have been discouraging to hear about my neglect while I was neglecting? Is it not more encouraging to hear that someone struggled but pulled through? (OK - you can see the stinkin' photo... But don't worry - I AM SO - ON THE UP - NOW! :D)

I thought of the struggles I have been through in the past two weeks, (which are NOT on my blog.) Some of it being too personal to share even with close friends or strangers (which makes praying to Heavenly Father REALLY APPEALING). I thought of the projects started which are not yet finished and of how awful unfinished projects make things look. :o

Almost instantaneously though…, I also thought of the incredible moments of happiness I have had with my Father in Heaven as He has wrapped me in His arms and comforted me. I thought of the sacred experiences I have had as he has taught and comforted me. And best of all - I thought of how He lets me FEEL his incredible, inexpressible love for me. I thought of the amazing miracles that have occurred in my life and of the answered prayers and incredible joy I have experienced just in the past week. And I thought of the awesome and amazing friends and family who have been so incredibly “there for me” (my husband especially; he rocks! :D).

None of the details of these struggles and blessings made it onto my blog. I am a very honest person who used to think that if I didn’t tell everything I was somehow lying, so I had a hard time sharing if I didn’t feel like I could share the whole picture; I worried about being misunderstood, and sometimes I shared too much because I wanted to be completely honest or mistakenly thought I had to share more so others wouldn’t be confused about what they already knew…

Thank God I DON’T feel that way anymore! (I JUST LEARNED THIS! :o) Sadly, I had to learn the hard way that giving more truth will often just give the enemy more to distort. Honestly does not mean one tells everything! I’m feeling really quite happy to finally realize this! :)

And not just with blogs, but with friends and family too. I thought of how much I shared with my friend while we worked together – and yet how little I shared, all at the same time. What I shared with her had similar components to what I share on my blog – TRUE, but so INCOMPLETE… Where and how would I ever find time or means to capture it all? And should I even if I could? I think “true, but so incomplete” – is often exactly as it should be!

A blog is a medium for many different things to many different people. For me, it is a place where I can write to sort out my thoughts and feelings, and write about things I want to remember or simply to inspire or uplift others in any way that I can. But what ever it does, I desire to speak and write words which will be a blessing to someone somewhere…

A blog (or a conversation) will never be able to paint a clear or complete picture of a life  Some words are saved for the Lord alone, or to be shared only with very specific persons. Blogs are there to fulfill many different purposes for many different needs in this complex world of ours. But the thing about blogs, is that providing even a remotely complete impression of what a person’s life is actually and truly like is just not possible – nor is it the purpose of a sensible blog or conversation.

So, when we roam about on the internet reading blogs, my friends... I hope we remember to take each post for what it is… a small snippet of a tiny fraction of a person’s life – depicting value and beauty in the author's life the same way each tree has value and beauty as part of an entire forest. And if/when you find yourself evaluating or comparing the small snippets of other people's lives to YOUR Life’s FOREST, you just need to remember - you can’t.

Enjoy the branch. Enjoy the tree. But see it for what it is and nothing more. Then hopefully you can prevent either the pride or insecurities that come with judging or comparing yourself against others; and instead find yourself inspired by a more truthful perspective of your fellow bloggers as well as of yourself.

Corine :D

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