I’m still struggling to learn blog-etiquette and lingo. Remembering to go back and comment on comments, sharing, re-tweeting, reblogging, backlinks, trackbacks, etc. Blog awards, blog contests, blog giveaways. Yikes! Writing a blog post is the EASY part!
Every day I learn new information, find new themes, read new guidelines about blogging… The learning curve is steep, and there’s no coasting! But I’m enjoying this new adventure in blog-world.
Last night I watched “Julie and Julia.” I liked the whole movie, and recommend it highly to anyone who hasn’t seen it already. (Of course, when you live in a town with no movie theater and wait for things to come out on DVD, pretty much the rest of the planet has seen the movie twice by the time it gets to you.)
Anyway, Julie’s excitement over getting a comment on her blog brought a smile to my face. I laughed out loud at her surprise when her friends pointed out she had readers outside of her immediate family. (I’ve been known to beg my children to read my latest post.) But my favorite part of the story was watching Julie, and Julia, find their passion–the thing that stirred their hearts with life and love and creativity.
Unfortunately, no matter what endeavor we undertake, sooner or later someone points out the “rules” of the game. This week, one of my 85 blog subscriptions included a list of good blogging rules. I opened it up, sincere in my desire to improve and read with a sinking heart things like “don’t talk about yourself, no one wants to read about you”; “don’t use free clip art for illustrations”; and “only write about things that interest your readers.”
Yeah. I was tempted to post F-A-I-L in big letters on In Truer Ink.
It was a flashback to childhood when my love of ballet changed from hanging on the barre and making faces in the mirror, dressing up in scratchy pink tutus and learning to tie the ribbons on my first pair of “real” ballet slippers; to extra one-on-one pointe classes after regular class, contemplating ballet summer school in Aspen, and wondering how I could stay thin enough to look like the older girls.
And when I wanted to learn to ride a horse, which meant 7 a.m. Saturday lessons with a woman who may have been the inspiration for Jack Palance’s character in City Slickers. I hear her voice in my nightmares occasionally.
Or when I took my first creative writing class in college and found out there were RULES to creating what had always tumbled out of me quite naturally. And that I was breaking all of them. (As I navigate the writing world today, I’m still figuring out those rules. And why none of my favorite authors follow them.)
Or when I first found out about faith in Christ, and entered into a living relationship with Jesus. And then met up with a religious person focused entirely on maintaining, analyzing, and enforcing the rules of “proper” Christianity. Humans in the church have spent the last 2000 years creating rules for every aspect of existence. Most of these rules have nothing to do with salvation or eternal life, or having a relationship with God.
All of these experiences with “rules,” and many similar ones, have a bad aftertaste. Kind of like morning breath. Or burping garlic capsules. Or smelling a stink bug… OK, you get the picture.
Now, I know rules are important. I’m a fan of speed limits, spelling, reasonable grammar, and the rules for Scrabble, among others. Unquestionably, there are biblical rules that God set in place for the purpose of saving us and protecting us from harm, not restricting us from enjoying life in its fullness.
But man-made rules that stifle creativity and hinder relationship leave me cold. Those are the rules that steal my passion and pervert my purpose. Those kinds of “rules” are ones I must avoid.
(On that note, my blog posts here at In Truer Ink will probably continue to be “all about me” and my opinions, and thoughts, and experiences, because everything I do gets filtered through my perception of life. And I’ll still use free clip art and photos, because I like them. And if I write about something that doesn’t interest you, then you are by no means obligated to read it!)
As an adult, I’ve found Christmas to be one of the most rule-bound times of the year. And right after Christmas we jump, feet first, into our rules – resolutions – for the New Year. Just saying “new year’s resolutions” is enough to raise hackles. Why? Because we weren’t created to be a bunch of rule-keepers.
God created us to be keepers of relationships, stewards of his nature within us, guardians of what is good and true and holy and pure. Our rules for living should first stem from the only rule Jesus espoused, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself.” We call it the Golden Rule. If all our rules are overlaid and undergirded by that, then our rules will work to our benefit. If not, well, we’ve all been there.
The greatest of the great in every realm – from Shakespeare to Einstein – were rule-breakers. The ones who did something different. Even Jesus. No, He never broke God’s perfect law of liberty, but he brushed the rules of man aside whenever and wherever they were hindering humanity from knowing and loving God the Father, or loving each other.
Examine your own personal set of rules. Fashion rules, decorating rules, designing rules, writing rules, etc. They may be hangovers from the golf or tennis lessons you took when you were twelve, or something your mother said to you that branded your psyche and you can’t shake it loose. Put those rules to the test. If they steal your passion or hinder your creativity, if they separate you from God’s presence rather than drawing you closer to Him, then you need to figure out where that rule came from and whether or not you need to hold on to it.
Sometimes, if we want a breakthrough in life, we have to be willing to BREAK THROUGH some things, and that might just start with some of those man-made, artificial rules.