I made it. Forty-six days writing and posting reflections about my faith. Here are a few things I noticed.
Not every thought is worth posting. When I look back on the last 46 days, I know most of it would have never made it to the blog if it wasn’t for the promise of posting daily. This makes sense and is in line with what many other writers have said: You write every day so that a few of those days will be worth sharing.
Being vulnerable sucks. It did not feel good talking about my personal opinions so publicly every day. While my personal thoughts are present in everything I write, most of my Lenten posts were nothing BUT opinion, which means that I couldn’t help but take people’s reactions very personally. Speaking of…
Nobody reacted online. Normally I get a fair amount of likes and comments on Facebook when I put up a new blog post, and that didn’t happen as much with my Lent posts. There are a lot of possible explanations for this. One is that as previously mentioned, I wasn’t vetting for quality enough because of the time constraints. Another is that I got on the wrong side of the Facebook algorithms by posting daily from a third-party site. It could be a sampling bias, and I just perceive the response rates to be lower. Or it could be that my friends simply weren’t into the topics being posted, and didn’t feel the need to respond. As much as I tell myself the number of Likes I get on Facebook doesn’t determine my self-worth, it’s really difficult to say something publicly that you’ve previously kept private, and be met with crickets. On the other hand…
People brought it up a lot in person. With the exception of my posts on depression and Halloween costumes, I’ve never had so many people approach me in real life to talk about something I wrote online. Some people brought it up almost every time I saw them. Perhaps it’s worth noting that the people who talked about it in person were almost exclusively 45+ years old.
I would rather preach to the choir. I honestly don’t know how my friends took this experiment of mine, but knowing their existing feelings on religion made it very difficult to write at times. I don’t like talking religion to people who don’t want to hear it. I feel like I must be making things worse. It was easy to write a post when I thought of all my religious friends who might get the chance to read it. It was very difficult when I thought of my atheist friends that might be forced to see it on their newsfeed.
One could say that this was my best Lenten discipline, since it was difficult, effected my daily life, and forced me to think about my relationship with God a lot more. It was also my worst, in that it caused more negative emotions in me than any previous practice. However it’s clear to me that most of the negativity was wrapped up in how much I rely on others to justify my thoughts. My favorite post of the whole season was one I felt great writing and great publishing. But when it got almost no response online, I felt terrible. It’s a good reminder that we can only control what we put out into the world, not what happens once it’s out there.
With that, I leave you. Tomorrow is Easter, and I plan on taking a much-needed break from posting for a while. Thanks for taking this annoying, uncomfortable journey with me.