The Posts I Never Publish
This morning I spent two hours writing a post that I am not going to publish on my blog.
It was the sort of post that would have connected with people. If I had put it online, readers would have immediately said, “Me too!” and they would have forwarded it to their readers who would have forwarded it to their readers. I’ve been writing long enough to know how these things multiply.
Because I was writing out of strong emotion, I stumbled into several metaphors that were powerful and unusual. Here were the sort of images that make readers say, “Aha! You put into simple words what I have been carrying around for months! Look here, everybody!”
The post was honest enough to make readers feel like they could trust me. It was relevant enough to connect with the mood of social media this week. In terms of platform-building, it was a gold mine.
The post was also reckless.
It was mostly right, mostly selfless, mostly Christ-centered—but running under the surface were fear, pride, and anger.
I didn’t write it in faith. I wrote it trusting my own feelings and wisdom. And as far as the world's standards go, it was darned good writing.
One unexpected benefit to an extended time away from big Facebook has been the growth of my sensitivity to dilemmas like this. Because I am keeping more company with myself and my God, I’m starting to develop more of an inner dialogue about how and why words are used in public. Lines of distinction are starting to grow between what I give the world and what I allow to develop in quiet.
I'm starting to get more of a feel for when a piece is ready to be spoken aloud.
I’m not fully grown here yet. Several times a week, I still lash out in frustration or offense. But through trial and error, and through limiting my venue--through days of waiting, I’m starting to at least begin to feel the edges of that distinction.
So this morning’s first post is going in the drafts folder, a place for writings devoted to wrestling with God in private. That drafts folder is becoming a sacred space for me, a realm in which I unpack my most convincing arguments with the full force of emotions and intellect and then sit to wait in the dark for my Lord, knowing that the morning light may expose what is right and what is wrong with what I have felt.
I'm learning love for an audience of one. Not 20 likes. Not 20,000. 1.
This is a novel concept for a click-to-publish world in which we've come to expect to say and hear everything. But there are also secret and beautiful ways to write--there's a worship that comes from a lavish and holy waste of time--writing poured out in trust and patience, like perfume on the feet of Christ.