202 Ideas and a Postcard

There are reasons I don’t write blog posts nearly as often as I intend to. And none of them include a lack of ideas. Well, at least not a lack of rough, seed thoughts.

As blog post ideas come to mind, they immediately go into my “post ideas” notebook in Evernote, which currently has 202 rough ideas to come back to later. And just for good measure, I have a dozen or so of these posts half-started in my writing program Scrivener.

So why don’t I post more often?

I tell myself it’s because I don’t have time. Or energy when I do have time. Or that the raw ideas weren’t as good as they seemed the moment they came to me. Sometimes I even write a rough draft and find it wasn’t as interesting or helpful as I thought it would be and never come back to it, despite my intentions otherwise. Many days I have “write blog post” on my to-do list, but it’s just never a high enough priority to end the day with a check next to it.

But today—when I didn’t even have “write blog post” on my list—I experienced something so unexpected that I couldn’t not write. 

My main goal for the day was tackling a mountain of papers I’ve let pile up for months.

As I sorted and shredded and filed, I came across a stack of notes. Some were birthday cards. Some were thank you notes. Some were notes from students. I was prepared to quickly re-read  each and then toss or file.

But then I came across a postcard that confronted me with words I wasn’t expecting: Thank you for writing. Someone sent me your blog, and it’s been a blessing to learn through what you have written. I hope you’ll keep writing. 

Whoa. Wait.

The blog I hardly ever write? The blog fed by the bloated Evernote folder and emaciated Scrivener document? The blog represented on almost every “day off” to do list I’ve written with an empty check box? That blog?

Hmmph! Who would have known?

I filed the card and continued my sorting. But something inside me changed: I wanted to write a blog post.

Not because I hadn’t written in over six months or because it was on my to-do list.

Not because I’d end the day disappointed in myself if I didn’t.

But because it made a difference in someone’s life. 

So here I am, writing.

And yes, in a way, even writing a post about not writing posts feels a little cheesy.

But this isn’t really a post about not writing posts. It isn’t even about wondering if your investments of time and heart make a difference. It isn’t about motivation for better idea-to-execution management.

It is about sharing with someone else how they are making a difference.

It is about questioning who needs to hear from you, “Thank you for writing. I hope you’ll keep it up.”

Could it be that a note or statement of sincere thanks from you would motivate someone else to press forward in the opportunities God has given to them?

Sometimes we put so much emphasis on the first phrase of Proverbs 4:29 that we forget the incredible potential of the rest of the verse:

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.—Ephesians 4:29

We remember the first word of Proverbs 18:21 and forget the second and third:

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.—Proverbs 18:21

Would you like to be a minister of grace? A giver of life?

You have the tools to do it at your fingertips. They are called words. And they can be offered in 101 and more moments of simple communication.

Thanks for teaching. 

Thanks for praying.

Thanks for your friendship.

Thanks for sharing the gospel. 

Thanks for caring. 

Thanks for your faithfulness. 

You are making a difference—keep it up. 

But somehow those words have to move out of the folder with 202 rough ideas into actual expressions to others.

Would you like to make a difference in someone’s life? Tell them they made a difference in yours.