Tears streamed down my face. I looked around. I was surrounded by people at a writing conference, but wondered if anyone was feeling the anxiety — the fear — that paralyzed me.
The man with the microphone approached me. Why had I raised my hand? I didn’t even know how to ask my question without totally admitting the very thing I did not want to admit.
What I wanted to say was, “My family has been on welfare off and on for ten years and I feel very strongly I want to blog about my struggle, but I’m scared that people will judge me for having so many kids. Please help me!”
Instead I said something pansy like, “How do you keep your kids safe while blogging?”
I got a good answer…but not the one I was looking for. Instead of walking away with an action plan or at least some encouragement, I went home to hash it out with Jesus by myself.
Three months prior, I had written (but not published) my post, Thank you for Welfare: An Open Letter to God, Government and Citizens. I desperately wanted to hit publish, but the palpable fear strangled the boldness in which I wrote it. I mustered up the courage to finally hit that little red button but only out of pure obedience to my calling. Nothing more.
Funny thing happened…nothing.
All my fear was ill-founded. The press didn’t come hunt me down and ask me “how could you rely on the government for so long AND still be having children?” or “Haven’t you heard of birth control?”
No random stranger stopped my child at the store to tell them, “Your mama shouldn’t have had you!”
I had prepared my heart for a major viral media backlash and was met with silence. And slowly a few comments of support trickled in. A handful of Pinterest users pinned the blog image. Eventually, I wrote another post about it — What Else Can I Sell on Craigslist?. Then another — Seven Things to Keep/Trash When Money is Tight.
I feared blogging about our money issues because I was scared of what other people would think of me. But the need to comfort other people in my same situation usurped my fear of being judged.
I overcame my fear of being exposed by exposing myself!
Blogging about something so personal also allowed me to come to terms with our struggle. For years, I had been embarrassed. I felt like a loser. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t “bootstrap” my way out of “being poor”. I finally accepted the season I was in — even though it was longer than I thought was understandable. In the end, I had to accept myself — failings and all.
It’s been a hard road. One that I’m just starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. My EBT card doesn’t feel so weighty anymore (though I cannot wait for the day it leaves my purse altogether!). People may judge me. Comments might be written against “people like me.” That’s okay, because at the end of the day I get to squeeze little baby nursing feet and not worry about how I’m going to pay for the milk on my breakfast table the next day.
I once read a blog post by CopyBlogger.com called “The 4 Words That Will Get Your Email Opened.” You wanna know what those four words are?
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
People hate feeling like they are alone — especially in their struggles.
There are hard things — secret things — we bloggers struggle with. We know what it is like to feel alone — wishing there was a blog post to comfort us. But sometimes there isn’t. And that might be because YOU are supposed to write it.
But How Can You Give Comfort If You Don’t Share Your Story?
Everyone who calls on Jesus will be saved. But how can they call unless they believe? And how can they believe if they have never heard? And how can they hear unless someone tells them? [paraphrased] Romans 10:14
Your message has the potential to lead someone to Christ. But what if your most powerful message is the one you aren’t sharing because you are fearful of the judgement of man?
I understand fear of judgement. When sharing my financial status, my immediate reaction is to start defending myself. I want people to know that I have tried so hard to get financially free, make wise choices and not live extravagantly. I am so scared of being judged and misunderstood that I will literally have a five minute monologue on all the ways I’ve tried to “get off welfare”. But the Bible tells us that we are to fear only God who can destroy both body and soul.
We are given comfort in our trouble so that we can comfort others in their trouble. If we are distressed (by angry comments), it is for the comfort of our readers. We do it so that our words can produce endurance in our readers who are going through the same thing we are! (2 Corinthians 1:4) Our blogs can help people understand that they are NOT alone.
And that’s worth overcoming the fear of blogging!
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