Those (very few) of you that have had the patience to follow my blogging journey for more than a year probably remember my former blog, "I'll follow You into the world." I began it during my final year in college and it chronicled my life and spiritual journey as I actively discerned and sought God's will as I graduated, completed a year of full-time volunteer service, got engaged, and married Michael. In many ways it was more of an online journal, written only for God and myself - but at times it also served as a platform for sharing information and/or discussing or reflecting on various Catholic teachings...especially during the Presidential election year.
I guess you could say that my first blog didn't always have a clear vision, purpose, or structure beyond writing about daily observations, God-incidences, or experiences that helped to shape my relationship and trust in God. I certainly didn't always include photos or bother worrying too much about whether or not I was being too "wordy." I didn't really write it "for" other people (even though it was public and I didn't mind if others read along) and I remember feeling annoyed when a former roommate informed me that they enjoyed one of my blog entries but said that it "needed more pictures." I felt agitated because I distinctly remember thinking, "It doesn't need more pictures. It wasn't written to entertain you. That's not the purpose of my blog!"
With time, however, I came to realize that the only real benefit to having a public blog documenting my daily life/spiritual journey was the off chance that someone could find it, read it, and somehow gain inspiration, encouragement, or be aided in their own spiritual journey. And who wants to read a stranger's writings when they are insanely wordy with little or no pictures? The answer is...hardly anyone, my friends. Hardly anyone.
When I began my current blog I put more time and effort into coming up with a basic structure. I had a vision of what kinds of entries I wanted to write and share with the world (or handful of people that cared to read what I might have to say). I became more aware of the visual aesthetics, reader friendliness, etc. I never wanted to write specifically "for" other people because I've always wanted my blog to be authentic, based on my personal experiences, and a way in which I present my love for the Lord and glorify Him - and creating entry ideas for the sake of drawing in readers or becoming well-known just isn't my thing. However, I am now aware of the fact that if I'm trying to use this blog as a witness of Catholic joy I actually need people to want to read what I have to say. It's a tricky balance sometimes - wanting to write in order to share my joys as a Catholic wife and mother and not losing sight of my blogging intentions when, in fact, I actually do need an audience if my words are ever going to bring joy to anyone beyond the scope of my immediate family and handful of friends who read this from time to time. Although if those are the only people God desires it to reach then I'm certainly okay with that.
Such is the struggle of any blogger who tries to document their own life's journey but doesn't actually want their blog to be about themselves. At times it seems contradictory. How do I write about my own life without the message readers take away becoming all about me? How do I write about my life's journey and my personal vocation yet strive to direct the eyes and hearts of any readers away from myself or themselves and, ultimately, toward Christ?
Everyone blogs for different reasons. Bloggers have different writing styles, senses of humor, and goals (or no goals) for what they write. But I'd be willing to bet that many of my Christian blogging peers have similar desires deep down inside - that their blog may be humbly used to remind others of God's love...whether it be subtle, unspoken, or completely obvious and smack dab in the middle of reader's faces. So what methods do you all use to (hopefully) achieve this? Surely I'm not the only one that worries on occasion that my blog might be a little too much about...me. Right?
In the end I could tell you what I do in order to (hopefully) maintain a blog about my life that strives to share the Lord's goodness with others...but we've already established that bloggers (even those united by a common faith) come in all shapes, sizes, styles, etc. What I do may not work for you - and the kinds of things I think about when writing may never even cross your mind(s) as you all write beautifully about your lives and/or the Lord's goodness. All I know is that the internet is a big place that has plenty of room (and more to spare) for bloggers of all writing styles, goals (or lack thereof), etc. And it's quite possible that God is working through us all in unique ways that fit with our own unique blogs. At least that's what I hope - because that means it's possible that God could, in fact, be using my humble blog to reach others in the way I secretly hope for - or better yet, in the way(s) that only He could imagine.
Interestingly enough, this entire entry is nothing like the one I thought I was going to write when I sat down at the keyboard today. However, I said the same prayer I always do before blogging - which suggests to me that perhaps what I've written is, in fact, what He would want me write...rather than what I may have thought I should write. Oh, how He constantly teaches me lessons about what it means for me to be a Catholic blogger.
"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."