Linear Lives

6:01 AM

I cringe when I look back at photos of my younger self. Was it only a couple years ago where the only thing I did with my hair was long, stick-straight and parted awkwardly down the middle? Did I honestly run around the backyard in a blue t-shirt and purple shorts? Why on earth did my mother let me keep those hideous flowered hippy pants?

To friends it may be remotely interesting to see the now well-put-together (ahem) Bailey in her wild years of shapeless dresses, loose headbands and white Keds. To me, it's borderline torture.

I feel the same way going through blog archives, old notebooks and diaries or my school writing portfolio. The conclusions I came to, the typos, the fusty adjectives and inane "jokes" -- ! Even the ones a few weeks back (or maybe the day before) I sometimes tend to shudder at. Pass the scissors and black, black pen, please.

It's depressing to think about. If yesterday's words, which seemed so full of power and insight and wit, are now flatter than squished pancakes (ignore my momentary corniness), what good will today's words be? Will they matter? Will they even last long enough to make it to the Semifinals of Importance?

I want them to matter. I want to write something true, something lasting, something beautiful. Apparently, I keep missing the memo: re-reading my blog archives, I realize how much I've changed. I had to eat my words when I said I'd never go to college. I hang my head at my former boasting of how great a sister and daughter and Christian I was. I've contradicted my younger wisdom; I've flat out betrayed yesterday's thoughts; I've struck out on an entirely different spiritual path than the one I tried to lay for others.

I thought about deleting the posts, the former life of mine, that I now vehemently disagree with or would word differently. I thought about the futility of blogging altogether -- if I keep changing and falling short, what's the point of pretending I know anything, let alone possess the audacity to spread that ignorance?

There are some really, really ugly episodes in my life that I wish never would have happened. I've read words and felt feelings that I want to stuff into permanent forgetfulness. I've written things on this blog that aren't true in the least bit. But through it all -- the blunders and sins and stupidity -- I see God.

I read an old essay of mine, and if I have enough guts to get through how snotty I came across and how wrong I was, I can smile at how God was working all along to bring me out of darkness into light. I remember the struggle of study and surrender -- the long heart-to-heart talks -- the pain spilling out in hesitant prayer. I wasn't perfect, but I was growing.

It embarrasses me that I say and believe stupid things at certain times. I love this blog community, and I feel responsible for what I write and how I live. But God's been showing me how this blog is not a place to display the Christian life all-figured-out. It's not a spot for me to parade my knowledge and experience. It's not a corner of the cyber world to direct others and solve their problems -- or even my problems.

It's a place where I can be real, where I can preach only to myself, where I can be transparent to others and open to God's leading. It's a place where we girls can swoon over Flynn Rider and squeal over college acceptance letters as well as argue about the Trinity and patriarchy. I just want to be me on my blog -- not the pretentious me, but the just me, holes, scrapes and everything. My whole blog -- starting from the first post to whenever I stop -- is an open book of God's grace in one girl's life. It's like a novel, with a flawed main character seeking redemption.

Even if there isn't much value in what I say in an individual post, I beg God there is value in the larger story He reveals. I don't want to sit behind my computer and tell others what to do. I love smart people who can lay out theology -- but I want this blog to be a place of heart theology, not lists of rules, not a second catechism, not a place where only people who are on the exact same word in the exact same sentence on the exact same page congregate.

Some people have expressed to me how they love a certain article or how they like it when I tackle concrete "real things" like guys and modesty. I know for myself sometimes I just want to gather head knowledge on what to believe and how to live. I enjoy the lively discussions on whether rock music is okay or the Calvinism vs. Arminianism debate. But Christianity is so much bigger. I want to reflect that -- the bigness of God, the imperative of knowing Him for ourselves. I want to reflect it not in a handful of blog posts but in a continuous life that can't help oozing into cyberspace.

Come along with me.

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10 impressions

  1. "My whole blog -- starting from the first post to whenever I stop -- is an open book of God's grace in one girl's life." Oh, sweet grace. I know how these feelings go, how the harshness of old posts can hit you. but I loved how you summed it up here and how you focused on the grace.

    Speaking of Flynn Rider, my family went out for ice cream yesterday and our waiter looked just. like. him. It was awesome. I almost asked him if his favorite weapon was a frying pan. :)

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  2. "I want to write something true, something lasting, something beautiful."

    This reminds me of a thing C.S. Lewis said. May I quote him here?--

    "Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it."

    You write many truths and I know you will write many more and I'm looking forward to it!

    So, I say, on behalf of us all, I'm sure: thank you, Bailey, for your blog :-)

    -A cyber friend

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  3. I really liked this post. Very unassuming and yet also self-aware. Now the irony will come in a year or so when you look back at *this* post and think to yourself, "How could I have used those words / put it that way / posted this at all???" lol

    When that happens look at the comments too and know that while you will have grown and matured, I for one think this is a great post right now as it is. Not just as part of a larger narrative that is your on-going blog of your on-going life (as you rightly point out is the more important value), but also in and of itself because it is a snapshot of your thoughts and your way of expressing yourself right now that can touch and inspire your readers where they are right now despite all the flaws that I can't see any of at the moment, but I'm sure will be glaringly obvious, to you anyway, at some point in the future. ;-)

    In peace,
    Adele

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  4. Boy. I know what you mean. I feel that way all too often - how pathetic the things I wrote ___ years ago were. (I have journaled since I was eight. Let me tell you, reading through those books is a very humbling experience. And painful, to boot. Sometimes I get tempted to burn them. ;-)

    "If yesterday's words, which seemed so full of power and insight and wit, are now flatter than squished pancakes (ignore my momentary corniness), what good will today's words be? Will they matter? Will they even last long enough to make it to the Semifinals of Importance?"

    That's what I wonder, too. You've managed to sum it up perfectly in one paragraph. I'm just missing the part where I see God's grace in my past. I'm going to start looking for that now. The fact that my old words seem immature means I'm growing, right? ;-)

    For the record, I really love your blog. I am constantly impressed by your honesty, your wisdom, and your talent for expressing yourself. You are extremely mature for your age and your words have encouraged and challenged me time and time again. I would say yes, your words definitely make the semifinals of importance. =)

    *sigh* I'm starting to think I will live to regret the day I ever brought up Flynn Rider on your blog. ;-D

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  5. Lindsey -- no way! You totally should have asked him! :o)

    Taralyn Rose -- I love that quote. I always thought Lewis was an original thinker -- but maybe he just cut through all the lies and confusion we cast around the truth and told it as it was.

    Adele -- *smacks head* I was thinking about that the entire time I was writing! Ah, me and my self-consciousness. ;o)

    Julia -- Congratulate yourself on making Flynn Rider a permanent running joke on Big House in the Little Woods! But seriously, I know you will see God's grace in your life...if you search for it diligently. *HUGS*

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  6. That's right...a blog is not a pulpit; a blog is simply a web log of your life---of you. And I believe I see God working powerfully through your life. You have definitely changed for the better since you started this blogging journey.
    <><

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  7. You really think so? Thank you. And I forgot to give you screams and squishes over your college acceptance! CONGRATULATIONS!

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  8. Sorry for this awkward comment, but...

    All I could think of while reading was, "Oh my gosh, what will I do when Bailey stops blogging?!?!"

    Lol. ;)

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  9. I, for one, love watching you grow.

    And to be fair, reading your blog has helped me grow as well.

    I appreciate you so much. = )

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