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Blogging has brought several new friends into my life. One of them is Jason Fountain. Today, I’m blessed to share a guest post by Jason. Jason is an educator who blogs about living an intentional life. I have enjoyed his writing and the communication that we have shared. Jason shares his current STRETCHING story with us below. Please check out his blog here.
(If you’re interested in guest posting on my blog, please drop me a comment. I’d love to connect with you.)
John Maxwell relates a story shared by sociologist Anthony Campolo. Campolo tells about a group of 50 people over the age of 90 years old who were asked one question: If you could live your life over again, what would you do differently?
The question was open-ended and the people’s answers were varied. However, three ideas consistently emerged.
1. If I had it to do over again, I would reflect more.
2. If I had it to do over again, I would risk more.
3. If I had it to do over again, I would do more things that would live on after I am dead.
I want to share with you an idea that can help you begin to accomplish all three of these goals TODAY.
I love the title of Jon’s blog – Stretched. I think much of our life is spent stretching – whether we choose the stretching or it chooses us. Recently, I’ve chosen a purposeful “stretch.” Back in April, after at least a year of talking about it, I started a blog.
Little did I know, then, what a rollercoaster of emotions were in store for me. I knew that it would be challenging to write solid content that would be meaningful, but I don’t believe that I was quite ready for the grind of continually facing a blank document on the computer screen.
A blank piece of paper is open to so many possibilities, yet appears so daunting.
Blogging has stretched me in ways that I never imagined.
I want to share four lessons (about life) that I have learned since I began blogging.
1. Blogging teaches discipline.
I consider myself a fairly disciplined person, but blogging has taken this to a new level. Blogging is not an endeavor that can be undertaken every so often. It is a discipline. Steven Pressfield says in his book, The Work of Art, that the hardest part of writing is not the writing, it’s sitting down to write.
There are always fifty things other than writing vying for my attention. But, blogging has taught me to quiet those distractions and focus on the task at hand. There are days that I want to quit and days that I feel as if I could write forever. Managing that tension has been a “stretch” for me.
2. Blogging sifts your beliefs.
I am pretty solid and consistent in my beliefs. If any of you read my blog you know that the bedrock of my life is Jesus Christ. It’s much easier to talk about Christ with my “circle” than it is to write about Him in a blog post that is out there for the world to view. In fact, bearing your soul is a little overwhelming.
Beyond my religious views, blogging forces me to work through most all of my beliefs. If I write about goal-setting or any other facet of intentional living, I really have to narrow my focus and work on being concise in my delivery. This only occurs when I am crystal clear on my thoughts.
Several times I have written a blog and then did not post it because I lacked a strong conviction about it. Before I hit the publish button, I need to believe it. Attempting to present an articulate stance on an issue has really stretched me as well.
3. Blogging is more about me than producing content for others.
When I first started blogging, I was very concerned about how I thought others would perceive my thoughts and my writing. I still worry about this, but in the few short months that I’ve been blogging I have become more focused on recording what I believe about life.
If I focus on others, then I try to copycat my blogging heroes and write as they would write and about topics that they would write about. The problem with this approach is that I am not them – I am me. For me to enjoy the process of blogging, I have to be me. If others latch on to my voice, then great. If they don’t, then I know blogging is not my future.
The longer I blog the more comfortable I become in showing more of who I really am. And that is the only way to really put my “voice” out there. Balancing this desire to write for others with the need to be “me” has been a major stretch.
4. Blogging records my thoughts for myself and others.
Finally, blogging is providing me the chance to record a part of “me” for my future self. Every time I write a post I am really just recording my life lessons so that I don’t forget them. As I continue to blog, more and more life lessons that I have forgotten from my past seem to surface. The process of blogging has really been a mining project for me.
I’m also blogging so that parts of my life will be recorded for my future kids. Every time I write I want to be comfortable with my future children reading my thoughts. From this vantage point, I write with a purpose – something bigger than just blogging. Thinking about preserving my words for the future has stretched me as well.
So…are YOU ready to start a blog? For me, it has truly been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences that I’ve ever undertaken. To say that the last three and a half months have stretched me would be a gross understatement.
If you really want to reflect more, risk more, and leave a legacy, think about starting your own blog. It won’t be easy, but I guarantee it will stretch you in ways you never imagined.
QUESTION: Is there something in your life stretching you right now? How do you manage the tension?