I keep a box in the top of my closet.
It’s full of notebooks of intensely private journals, words meant for no one but me and God.
But since 2008, blogging has become my main writing avenue. I process my thoughts and my faith here. (Many bloggers of the present were once journalers in their past, yes?)
Yet these words are public.
Maybe you blog, too, or write Facebook updates or send out tweets.
If so, you’ve probably wondered about what you’re publicly sharing:
- Is this too personal to post?
- Not personal enough?
- Am I self-promoting?
- Will my words be misunderstood as too harsh?
- Too soft?
- Too trite?
- Too boring?
It’s hard to put into words exactly what we’re thinking. And not all that we’re thinking needs to be put into words.
So how do we decide what to keep to ourselves versus what to share with others?
Three Questions to Ask Yourself
Here are three questions to ask ourselves to determine how much to tell.
1. Will it benefit someone else?
If your experience or information or questions would help another person learn something, be comforted, avoid the same mistakes, grow in relationship with God and others, or just be pleasantly entertained, do share.
2. Will it help you to share it?
Sometimes you need to confess or to testify or to say something for your own healing. When telling others will help mend your own soul and won’t take others down in the process, let it out.
3. Will it honor God?
This question may be the trickiest because what one person views as God-honoring, another may view as God-defaming. Thankfully, God knows your heart’s motives. And if your goal is to write truthfully and lovingly—even in your struggles and doubts—your words can bring grace and reflect God’s goodness.
Benefits of Writing
Showing others what we have seen brings blessings with it.
When we give away our words, it works . . .
- To deepen relationships
- To provoke conversation
- To clarify thoughts
- To validate feelings
- To witness to God’s faithfulness
- To promote community
- To strengthen love
- To extend grace
- To spread good news
And in the end, whether we keep our written words private or go public with them, the writing itself is worth the effort. Tristine Rainer says it beautifully:
“Even if you never share a sentence of your diary with anyone else, you will share it through your life. Its existence will touch other people by the way it changes you and permits you to develop in self-awareness, directness, and honesty.”
Words we write down are words we can return to.
Remembering how faithful God has been in the past gives us hope for how good he’ll be in the future.
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Do you share your writings with others? Keep a journal for yourself? I’d love to hear your thoughts on writing.
- What Never Changes?
- The Blessing of Humility – Book Review