Saturday, September 5, 2009

An Identity Crisis

I haven't blogged in a long time. I even had promised in a previous post (it's been too long to say "recent") that I'd be blogging a whole lot more. But it seemed like every time I considered going to to type up a new post, I couldn't get myself to write. It seemed odd, after all, writing is what I love to do. It's what I've always wanted to do. I have spiral notebooks full of stories I created as a child about Anna Bunny and Daniel Cougar (the story starts when Anna was a child, but over the course of my second grade year, she grew up, married Daniel, and they had children). I also have all the books I "published" in elementary school--where I wrote a story, took it to the computer lab, typed it up, colored on a sheet of card stock for the cover (which was then laminated) and finally comb bound my masterpiece. Anna Bunny made it to the pages of one or two of those. I have saved my favorite papers from college, and even have a book on my shelf that contains a short story written by me. This book was sent to me by the publisher, but there were more copies of it in Borders (I know, I checked). I love to write. So why is it that the thought of blogging has left me utterly wordless?

I've been going through a devotional guide by Beth Moore on King David. One day's study looked at how David knew who he was, and because of that, he was able to refuse King Saul's armor when going out to battle Goliath. Through some of her comments, I began to think of who I am, what makes me me, and then went to how that translates to my blogging. I realized that I've been having a blogging identity crisis.

I follow a lot of blogs, and the majority of them are about Children's Ministries. Several of the "top" blogs I follow are updated regularly--sometimes even multiple times in one day. And the tone of many of them is how-to. Some of them have even gone so far to actually say that unless your blog is teaching someone how to do something, what's the point of it? As I read more and more posts about how to communicate with parents, how to teach kids about baptism, how to recruit volunteers... the list goes on and on, I began to feel like my blog was less and less valuable. After all, what do I have to teach? What am I an expert on? My blog is so full of personal stories about our experiences. I write stories, not how-tos. So as these thoughts filled my head, I felt less and less like I could come up with something worthy of posting for all to see (or at least for all those who Google "morning thoughts for children" from India).

But what Beth Moore beautifully made me realize, was that I am not a how-to writer. I am, and always have been, a story teller. I created this blog to first communicate with parents about what was going on in our ministry, and then it became an outlet for me to process what was going on in ministry. And amazingly enough, people started reading it. Now, looking back, it seems like it's the most heartfelt posts that received the most comments too. My blog was never intended as a teaching platform. It's not a discussion starter. And it's certainly not the masterpiece of an expert. But it is full of the musings of a Children's Ministries Director who loves to write. And that's how it'll stay.

Maybe now I'll start writing more...


Sam said...

Jill, I agree the great thing about the body of Christ is that we are all unique and all fill a unique place. Stories are powerful. I find truth inside a story is much more powerful than a how to or a truth by itself. Truth needs a container or handles to help people take it to others. Keep telling stories. If you really want to do a how to, maybe how to tell a great story.


Jill Nelson said...

Thanks for your comment!

Anonymous said...

jill -

i love your blog, specifically because you tell stories that i can relate to! please, please keep writing with your unique voice!

amy dolan

Jill Nelson said...

Thanks so much, Amy! That's why I love your blog too!

Jeff said...


To blog,
Or not to blog,
That is the question......

Love, Dad

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you've chosen to keep blogging! Personal stories create more genuine relationships - it's amazing how many people are changed by hearing stories. Jesus told lots of stories and look how many of us have been changed! :)

Robyn said...

If people only read my blog to learn something... I'd deeply fear what I've given them to 'learn'! Uh-oh, maybe I should rethink blogging :0)

Keep up the good work. I learn a lot from your story telling, even when you're not composing stuff as a 'how-to'.


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