iron sharpens, umm… iron [how @thehighcalling sharpens me]

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. director of family ministry at st. edward's episcopal church. president of fistbump media, llc.

September 7, 2010

I really love working with the crew at The High Calling Blogs! They make me better in more ways than one. I had an experience recently that really shows how amazing these guys are, and how much we can all benefit from being teachable and willing to listen and learn.

As the Social Media Editor for the network, most people only see me as ‘@thehighcalling‘ on Twitter, or an (invisible) admin on the Facebook page. I don’t get the opportunity to write for the site very often, unless it has something directly to do with social media tips and strategy.

However, I had the chance to share a little bit about my recent mission trip to Haiti, and worked with Sam Van Eman to publish a story through our ‘culture’ category. Sam was pretty tough on me, but we worked over my initial draft into something that communicates my heart much better than what I was able to get ‘on paper’ by myself.

What I particularly appreciate is that I always knew Sam had my intent in mind rather than trying to force something that he thought needed to be there. The end result is still my story, but one that’s much better than my initial draft.

Let me show you what I mean. Check out the opening paragraph…

My recent trip to Haiti rocked me in ways I never expected. Being exposed to that level of poverty is gut-wrenching enough, but add to it the destruction from January’s earthquake and the experience becomes rather difficult to put into words. While I saw lots of reasons to believe that healing will come, on the surface the circumstances there still seem desperately hopeless.

And what I started with sounded something like this…

I went to Haiti, and it was awesome. I had a really, really, really good time. I met lots of people, and *burp* (excuse me) *burp* (excuse me again) …and they were really, really, really poor. Really. Now I’m gonna tell you about something really cool that I saw…

Well… okay, maybe that’s not my actual first draft of the post… But the one we ended up with was really good (especially compared to my initial attempt).

My point is that I learned a great deal about what it really means to be teachable, and I’m really happy with the end result because I allowed myself to be open to what Sam had to share. I’m also thankful that there are guys like Sam out there willing to spend time on guys like me.

So who do you need to let sharpen you today? In what areas can you open yourself up to be more teachable?

Check out the entire post that I mentioned here: Life Around the Rubble


  1. Amy Sullivan

    Your “first draft” made me laugh!

    So when I signed-up for High Calling Blogs, I didn’t know what to expect…I mean there are loads of communities out there. How was I, a new blogger, to know what was the real deal? Now only a few months later, I am thrilled to be a small, small part of HCB.

    Glad to meet you, and I enjoyed your last piece on Haiti!

    • @bibledude

      I’ve been a member of @thehighcalling blogs for a LONG time, and the network has always been a great blessing to me! I’m really excited to be able to contribute in a greater capacity these days and help other people find the same kind of value that I’ve always found!

      I look forward to watching you grow from being a ‘small, small part’ of the network as well! I’m enjoying your blog too, and look forward to seeing you around the network more often!

      Let me know if there is ever anything that I can do for you!

    • goodwordediting

      I’m with you Amy. That passage was hilarious. And you know what? That’s what I love about Dan. He can make fun of his writing, but at the end of the day there is a lightness and enthusiasm to what he does that makes it seem particularly authentic.

  2. Sam Van Eman

    I tried to keep the burping in there, but it just didn’t fit. Sorry, Dan.

    You were a good sport (with a good story).

    • @bibledude

      LOL! Thanks again Sam! It’s a real pleasure working with you!

  3. Llbarkat

    oh, I loved that surprise first draft. LOL! 🙂

    Well, rumor has it you are easy to work with, so Sam had it good.

    • @bibledude

      Just for the record… @llbarkat is not so bad to work with either! Glad that you liked that first draft! Maybe we should have stuck with it!

    • Sam Van Eman

      Very easy. I just introduced him Judith Martin and he straightened right up.

  4. Maureen

    Sam is one of the best editors I’ve had the privilege to work with.

    • @bibledude

      Glad to hear that others feel the same way! I’m also thinking that Sam may own me a small commission when he gets a big raise after this post/conversation… LOL!

  5. Jennifer@GDWJ

    Dude … You rock.

    I’m laughing out loud at your fake first draft. You are such a guy — what with your cyber-belching and all. You and my husband would get along well. 🙂

    • @bibledude


      Thanks Jennifer! And it seems to be spreading… I think I noticed LL dropping a little burp here in the comments… Does that make me a bad influence?

  6. Duane Scott

    LOL. I think you should write more posts with *burp* in them. That was entertaining.

    And I need to learn to be teachable. I loathe editors. And if I’m going to make it in the world of writing, I have to learn to not only tolerate them, but also appreciate them.

    Good thoughts!

    • @bibledude

      I’m thinking that I should include more *burps* and mentions of @thehighcalling in posts… it seems to be a popular formula!

      And regarding the teachable thing… while I intended to have some fun with this post, I also wanted to make that point really clear. I’ve gained so much more from being teachable than any ‘damage’ to my pride while resisting it.

      Thanks Duane!


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iron sharpens, umm… iron [how @thehighcalling sharpens me]

by Dan King time to read: 2 min