The work we do can often get discouraging. We can't help but wonder every now and then if what we do really matters or makes a difference. Does anybody care? I feel this way frequently about this blog. I spend time thinking and writing, but do people actually read it? Like it? Respond to it? Am I just wasting my time? It's easy to fall into this rut.
But very often when I feel like I'm tired of thinking up things to write about, or feel like it's all useless, I get a comment or message from somebody saying how they enjoy or are blessed by my blog. It matters that somebody cares and that I'm not just talking to the wind.
My blog is largely a place where I try to figure out life. If people want to get to know me better, this is a good place to start. Some of the things I write on here may not be true. Sometimes I'm wrong and that's okay. It's a part of learning and growing. There are things I write about that may not be popular among other people. There's things that both more "conservative Christians" and more "liberal Christians" would disagree with, although I don't quite like putting it in those terms.
The truth is that the things I write will not please everyone. If I had to please everyone, I would have to quit altogether. My desire is to live a life and write in such a way that is pleasing to the Lord, but I'm still prone to mess up a lot. Some people want to hear the truth and some people don't. I was reminded of Proverbs 3:1-4. Although there are scriptures that tell us living a life pleasing to God may bring persecution, verse 4 there tells us that we can also gain favour in the sight of man when we live a life pleasing to the Lord.
The things I do and write do make a difference. I was reminded of that again last week in several ways. I may be young, but people are watching and listening. And for my older readers, my advice is this: there are many people, especially young people who are looking for godly examples or mentor-figures in their lives. Don't be afraid to be one of them. What you write, teach and live out matters. It makes a difference.
It's disappointing when you write an article you're excited about or want feedback on and nobody comments. Now, in saying this, I don't want to make you feel guilty, but I would encourage you to respond to writers or anybody else for that matter. If you like what they have to say, tell them; if you disagree, tell them gently. Remember (and I need to tell myself this a lot more often) to disagree with the idea and not attack the person. Although God's approval is ultimately what matters, we as humans need reassurance from others as well. We need to know that it's making a difference. It's what keeps us going.
If you haven't yet, I would encourage you to read Stirring Up Inspiration. It's an article I did in January where I discuss feelings of inadequacy, fears we face about making our thoughts and feelings known and the influence we have on those around us. I ask questions and suggest ideas that may not be popular among some. Forgive my rambling in the beginning of it if you find it annoying.
I don't know exactly what God would have me accomplish in my life or through my writing, but judging from the feedback I have gotten and the doors it has opened, I do have influence. It may be small, but it certainly doesn't go unnoticed.