Drafted on August 19, 2021
One year ago, I submitted my master’s dissertation and was ready for a writing hiatus. Yet my blog-writing silence has lasted longer than I wish to admit. But whenever I muster enough energy to think about my next blog, I’m engulfed by a tsunami of fears, uncertainties, and lies. So rising above the swell of my inner resistance, I’m breaking my silence with public confession and choosing to embody courage once again. Perhaps this time I can surf the tsunami rather than being swept away…
Herein lies the litany of my inner resistance…
There are so many voices out there, mine will get drowned out
This was the excuse that carried me through the past couple of years of heightened US political tensions, racial tensions, and societal polarization around covid response. We’ve experienced information-overload complicated by streams of disinformation. It’s not unlike the feeling I had when swimming in the ocean and getting tumbled under water by an unexpected wave. Held under by the force, my panicked, racing heart, desired only to know is which way was UP so I could catch a breath of air. Now that it seems many of us are emerging from the tumult, perhaps I can point to the “upward” direction I’ve found in hopes that it will help someone else catch their breath again too.
Do I have anything of value to offer?
An important question for a writer. Blogs often begin with a typed outflow of my “stream of consciousness”—the rambling thoughts on the top of my mind. When I break from my flow to re-read my word vomit with a critic’s eye, 90% of the time I dub it worthless of anyone else’s read. I need to politely ask my inner-critic to be lighter with the red pen and seek out feedback from friends—maybe it’s not as worthless as I think. I must trust that the deep stirrings of my heart, and the persistent prayers on my mind are Divine nudges. The creative impulse within comes from the Creator and I don’t ever want to say “no” to this voice.
What if I alienate my audience… or worse yet, lose friends?
I admit this is my biggest fear. I want people to like me, and even if they don’t like what I write, I want them to concede that my intentions are good. People often say we’re living in a “cancel culture” where one slip of the tongue or crudely typed phrase is grounds for excommunication. I don’t want to live in a world so polarized that it has completely forgotten the art of debate, a hallmark of democratic society. Even with my best intentions and word-craft, some things I say will agitate readers and they will leave. I must choose courage and contribute toward constructive plurality.
What if my BIPOC friends say I haven’t gone far enough?
They will… and they should. Sometimes the things I write will reveal my blindness or lack of depth-perception and I hope my BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color) friends will have the consideration to enlighten me. The willingness of my friends of color to give push-back or offer insight is proof the value they hold for our relationship and their hope in my growth. Other times, I will ask them for more patience as I may be choosing to hold back the full force of my thoughts and emotions on a subject in order to reach my non-BIPOC target audience. I value the urgency my BIPOC friends carry for us white folks to “get it”, and yet, no one can arrive fully at a conclusion if they were rushed or pressured to get there.
So why am I writing?
I write because a creative force within me urges me to craft generative pieces that awaken and inspire us to envision a more beautiful world.
I write to amplify voices that have historically been silenced and are probably more needed now than ever.
I write because if I stay silent, something within me will die. I must cultivate the garden of my own soul by placing things in the light, exposed to the elements.
This week, as newsflashes of the Taliban-tsunami sweeping across Afghanistan startle us by the hour, I am even more struck by the many acts of courage of ordinary people possessed with hope. If burka-less women can stand and protest in front of a truck full of armed Taliban, young men can climb towers to replace Taliban flags with Afghanistan’s national stripes, and journalists can call on global leaders to account for heinous missteps today and in decades past, certainly I can make my own meager attempts at writing a blog post and click “publish”. This is my small act of courage today. This is how I embody hope. Maybe this time, I will catch the wave.
6 thoughts on “Finding the Courage to Break my Blog-writing Silence”
Lovely, Rachel. Your courage encourages me. I particularly identify with your fears of, on the one hand, alienating some readers, and on the other, of not going far enough along a trajectory we see but cannot yet articulate well. I recently posted after a silence, and then after some feedback followed up with a more down to earth version, hence the value of blog space for working out our thoughts.
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Thank you for sharing your resonance, Karen! I’m thankful for your courageous journey both in academia and the church as well. Let’s continue to push each other forward even in this sort of public journaling. 😉
My sweet Rachel, God has gifted you immensely with an abilitiy to communicate. And both in written and spoken word! You need not fear that others will think you have little to say or that you might misspeak. I have learned so much from your blogs. I see you as a modern missionary using the tools that are at your disposal. I will always cheer you and Wayne on! With much love, Aunt Mary Jane ( and how are you adjusting to married life? It can be rough at times learning to compromise and seeing someone you love with their faults and weaknesses. But God ordained this marriage so you KNOW He will keep it.
Sent from my iPhone
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Thank you, Aunt Mary Jane, for being such a supporter of my writing! Your words encourage me deeply. ❤ I'll respond to your personal questions directly.
 I said, “I will guard my ways,
that I may not sin with my tongue;
I will guard my mouth with a muzzle,
so long as the wicked are in my presence.”
 I was mute and silent;
I held my peace to no avail,
and my distress grew worse.
 My heart became hot within me.
As I mused, the fire burned;
then I spoke with my tongue…” — Psalm 39:1-4
Not insinuating that all of your audience (which hey, includes me!) is “wicked”, with the posting of that Psalm above. But this hits home with me whenever I ponder my own preference of silence, or when I devalue my own voice. It is good that burning happens within! And it happens to writers, to those with the gift of writing and the gift of communication. And the Psalm admits too that we will mess up; “sinning with our tongue ” will happen! But the alternative is worse.
Grateful you’ve broken your silence. Grateful for all you have taught me, and all that you will. Grateful for the calling you have upon your life.
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What a powerful Scripture to consider, Katherine! I think it very much applies to my own breaking of my silence (though I agree with your nuanced interpretation). Yes, let us continue to speak and/or write with courage! I’m grateful for your encouragement and friendship.
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