Share, Send, Publish, Post
April 5, 2011
Share, send, publish, post—these are familiar buttons that our fingers push to communicate now days. Being rather inexperienced in the world of submissions for publication, I have a particular anxiety with the send and publish buttons. In fact, I have only made three submissions so far. The jury’s still out on two, and one resulted in a published magazine article. All three times I was feeling confident enough about my material to at least take the risk in putting it out there…until it was time to hit the send button. As my finger moves toward the button, it plays out like a slow motion clip where my inner voice is saying, “Nooo, Aimee, don’t do it.” And then I do it. Immediately the anxiety creeps in with the knowledge that my work is out there, and I can’t take it back. Just like when I’m drawing a picture, I never actually think it is done. Much humility accompanies a submission for publication. I am fully aware that even though I have combed over my piece countless times--amending, cleaning, rearranging—there is much more editing that needs to be done. I can’t speak for all writers, but I’m sure many have a hard time feeling like their work is ever fully ready to present. Now that I am a blogger, I have to contend with the publish button. Sure, this material is lighter and provides more of a creative license; but as soon as I hit publish, all my crazy observations are immediately available to whoever cares to read them. This is both good and bad. Now I have the pleasant surprise of feedback with all your wonderful comments. What an encouragement it is to have people passionate about some of the same subject matter as myself! Also, blogs give me the opportunity to go back and edit or erase a post, even after it’s already been published. That kind of control is reassuring. However, I still pause before I hit that publish button, considering things like the tone of the piece, the purpose of the work, and whether it’s good enough to share. I believe that this caution serves a good purpose—to always be considering the power of words and the weight of what I am communicating. You Facebookers, Tweeters, and texters out there have similar considerations. Although this is an even more casual venue, there needs to be due consideration to the consequences of sharing your thoughts in black and white (or whatever snazzy colors of your liking). But what about our speech? I know that I am guilty for not mulling over my words in conversation before they fall out of my mouth in the same way that I do over my written words. I stand ignominiously convicted when I read in James:
Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness…With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessings and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. (3:4-6, 9, 10)We may ask for forgiveness, but we can’t take back what we say. In considering the above modes of communication, I have thought of some practical steps for our speech: Prayer- What we say reveals what is in our heart. Ask the Lord to be working His sanctification on the inside, or else our outside efforts will be phony. Proof Sounding- I do a lot of proof reading before sending and publishing. While this doesn’t guarantee what I send is good, I am reexamining my words. We could benefit from pondering over our remarks before we let them just roll over our tongue. Editing- Maybe we have already published our words in the air and in reflection, we know they are not so good. It may have already gone out there but we still have an opportunity to go back and make amends. Just like in art, we are not a finished work. Remember the gospel- I can write this article not because I am perfect, but because Christ is. As we try to be better witnesses for Him, we lean on His word and the power of His Spirit for strength. Even in failure—as I so constantly do—Christ uses my ugly moment to reveal my heart. He humbles me, forgives me, and grows me stronger even in the face of my shame. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!