I decided to start blogging after sitting through a frustrating board meeting.

After hours of listening to the founding member of a new ministry share ideas that seemed incomprehensibly irrelevant, it ignited a fire inside me. I realized that if a leader doesn’t care to understand social networking, read books on the topic they speak about or research the market on the subject for which they are writing a book, frankly, they aren’t someone I want to follow.

I resigned from the board.

Instead of trying to convince someone to be culturally relevant, I took my own advice, then I stuck my toes in the uncharted waters of blogging. Unexpectedly, that board meeting helped me to discern how to harness God given gifts and spurred me into a wonderful community through the internet, complimenting my job as a feature writer.

I deeply regret that I wasn’t brave enough to give honest feedback. None of us were. As Christians, we sometimes associate honesty with being unkind or mean spirited. But when feedback  is constructive and delivered in an attitude of love, it is a generous gift.

My board room experience fuels the fear I revisit from time to time; the fear that well-meaning cohorts aren’t brave enough to give me honest feedback about my writing. Feedback isn’t so much about me as it is about you. It helps me understand what resonates and how God is speaking to you.

Feedback isn’t about criticism or judgment, accolades or feel goods as much as a helpful tool in discernment, because writers don’t write for everyone, just those He brings to the welcome mat of our stories.

If the comments on a blog post are silent, I fear I’ve misheard God’s voice, more than I fear the quality of my writing tanked. I fear I’ve boxed myself in to the small room of my own life, become irrelevant and provincial in my thinking.

Recently, I submitted a story for publication. After three rounds of edits, my voice was completely missing from the content. The piece transformed into a skeleton of facts about my life void of passion. Ultimately, I owned my voice with mutual consent that the story wasn’t working.  Ironically, that encounter is one of the highlights of my writing career because of what it taught me.

It’s just as important to know who you are when you write as it is to know the message you’re called to share. If you aren’t engaging with the world outside your picket fence, you might find your message is musty, already spent, yesterday’s news.

When its God voice for His people today, even what seems old can become a brand new message. We just need your feedback to know how the wind blows the Spirit so we can move our sacred pen, and hopefully your heart along with it.

Do you struggle with giving honest feedback? Or receiving it?


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Editor, Living the Story Shelly Miller is smitten with the art of story to transform a life. She writes about her own struggles as a child of divorce and alcoholism, and the way God redeems it all as a clergy wife raising two teens. With experience as a full-time missionary, advocate for orphans in Rwanda and leader of women’s ministries for small and large congregations, she is passionate to help people realize calling despite circumstance. When her husband H isn’t leading a church planting movement in North America, they drive five minutes across the street to take a walk on the Atlantic, with a camera strapped to her shoulder.

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