Why do you do what you do?

That we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. 
Rom. 1:12

I met with my newfound blog mentor a couple of weeks ago, because I’m considering making some significant changes here on BiME. We’d had some prior conversations, and based on those, I thought we’d just talk about logistical things. But, first pitch, that guy went and threw me a curve. He asked me to list the reasons why I blog.

Even though it threw me off guard for a second, I have to admit, it’s a great question. It’s an important question, and one that I should answer every time I sit down to write. Same goes for every time I prepare to speak to a group, stand up to speak in front of that group, or tackle any writing assignment. For me, the question is missional.

I have lots of reasons why I blog, and I won’t bore you with all of them now. But if I had to name one above all the rest, it would be to live out what Paul wrote in Romans 1:11-12. Almost every time someone asks me to come speak at their church, they say something to this effect: “We just really need to be encouraged.”  Funny thing is, every time I speak, write a Bible study, article, devotion, or blog, I find myself being encouraged by others. It shouldn’t be surprising; that happens by God’s design, and for His glory.

I kept thinking about that, “Why do you blog?” question even after the meeting ended. Encouragement can happen many different ways, and is a purpose of every kind of spiritual gift. So what does that look like for me, specifically through this blog? There are three things that people have said to me that are helping to shape my understanding of what that mutual encouragement should look like here on BiME.

“You’re kind of controversial.” Someone said this to me about the blog not too long ago. Now I’ve taken the statement out of its context; it was in the middle of what I’m pretty sure was a compliment. But that one statement stood out, and I have reflected on it a lot ever since. Ultimately, encouragement is useless unless it points people to Jesus. And it should never just point them to Him as one option of many. True encouragement is found when authentic examination of the Scriptures challenges us to love Him more deeply and follow Him more closely. So that’s the point of every Monday post – not to be controversial for controversy’s sake, but to explore God’s Word in order to learn together and be mutually encouraged, without dancing around the truth or watering it down in any way.

“Laughter gives life.” This was a text from my friend when I was whining about how often more people read List Wednesday than any other post of the week (although that has not been true recently:). I told her I didn’t think I agreed with her statement, but would have to think on it. And I have. There are a lot of verses about laughter, but maybe Eccl. 3 is the most revealing when it says that there is a time for it. Here’s what it comes down to – God created laughter. In its purest form, laughter is worship. So that’s the point of List Wednesday – to laugh. My friend was right; life is hard, and God is good. At the right time, laughter can encourage us to rest in knowing that the latter truth overshadows the former.

“We’d like for you to write for Parenting Teens Magazine.” These have become my favorite writing assignments, hands down. That’s probably because I am a parent, and I have teenagers. But more than that, parenting is easily one of the most important and difficult things in life. We say that it takes a village, but fewer and fewer of us feel like we have that kind of support system. So that’s going to be the point of every Thursday post – not that I am anywhere close to being an expert, but it seems like after you get past potty training, most people clam up and stop asking questions. I think that’s goofy. I figure there are enough shared experiences that, if we’re candid enough, we should be able to  find some mutual encouragement.

So now I’ll ask you the same question that was asked of me: Why do you do what you do? It’s a great question, and one you should probably answer every day if you want to live on mission. I love that Paul was certain, in advance, that God would use him to minister to the believers in Rome, and that they would minister to him. May we be, too, because when the body of Christ acts like the body of Christ, that’s what happens.

But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception. Heb. 3:13

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