“One of my favorite aspects of Endever is the writing community that I have had the honor of connecting with. Most of the time, it’s just “watching”/ reading from the sidelines and cheering them on, but one blog and person that I don’t interact enough with has made a profound impact on me over the last year.
I am so happy to introduce you all to Matthew Malin from Confessions. I first “met” Matthew through Andrew’s blog (Adopting James) and was captivated by his writing, his talent for words, his love for God, and the honesty he shares with the world. You know when you have those days where you need to hear something at just the right time to pick you back up? Matthew’s writing has done that for me more times than I can count.
If I was given more talking space, I’d be taking over the whole post, so be sure to take a look at findingwhoweare.com and introduce yourself to Matthew.” -Lynn
I can remember the exact moment writing came alive for me.
I had to have been ten years old; young enough for creativity to flow through my soul with little to hinder it. I had just finished writing a six page story called “The Lost Island.” It was my longest manuscript to that date and I was proud of it.
It was a quaint, action packed thrill ride detailing the adventures of an exploration crew discovering a new island. On this island, they found more than they bargained for.
Baraconda’s were ungodly, large snakes with monstrous bone-like spikes protruding from their necks. T-Rex’s made their home on the island too, but because of the sheer ferocity of the Baraconda, they found their population dwindling. If I remember correctly, I placed overgrown Alligators in a nearby swamp just for added measure.
Suffice it to say, the book was a blood-fest. I was, and still am, a huge Jurassic Park fan so I’m sure you can see where the inspiration came from.
I remember the day that I finished my “book” and put it in my grandmother’s lap. I was excited. I was nervous. I respected her opinion because she was great at showing me what I could do to make a story better.
She picked up the stapled copy of my latest creation and dove right in. I sat across the room studying her body language. Did she like it? Did she think it was awful?
Every turn of the page pulled me out of my insecurities and right back to analyzing her face. I knew the book like the back of my hand so I knew when to expect a reaction. During the fight scenes, she muttered the Ooh’s and Aah’s. I could definitely tell that she was into it.
When she put the book down, she calmed all of my fears by telling me she loved it. We then sat there for a solid thirty minutes discussing the intricacies of the plot line. We dove into the how’s and the what’s of the island, the characters, and the animals. We also dove into the why’s of specific individual’s deaths. I guess my detail was a little too gory for her liking. Boys will be boys, I suppose.
I wrote many more “books” after that one and each one found their way into her lap. Looking back, I knew that they were awful. I’m pretty sure my Grandma knew that they were awful. She didn’t care, though. Through her love and patience, she created a literary monster deep inside of me.
Just as I can remember, though, the moment that a passion for writing came alive, I also remember the day that it died.
My writing “career” progressed into a more formal entity in blogging. I always saw it romanticized in movies and thought it would be cool to be a “blogger.” 7 years ago today actually, I registered on WordPress and the internet was introduced to my imagination.
It’s been an on and off again ordeal, but for the last two years I have blogged faithfully and continually. I remember the day I began Confessions, although it was not named as such then. I had no plan, but I did have a purpose. I wanted to write about some of the things I was learning in the Bible and I wanted others to be encouraged as I had been.
Little did I know, though, that the following six months would be some of the worst I had ever faced. I ended up heartbroken, angry, paralyzed by anxiety, and in therapy. I was a shell of a man. Years of pent up anger and bitterness towards people I felt had betrayed my family and I came rushing to the surface, pleading to be dealt with.
Because of that pain and because of those circumstances, I’m of the firm mind that life’s deepest sorrow has the potential to inspire the greatest passions.
Through my own daily battle with depression and anxiety, the foundation for Confessions was laid.
I wanted to build a refuge for broken, paralyzed, and messed up people to feel at home. I wanted them to know that they were loved by a God who is good and that they were not alone in their pain.
I blogged like a maniac. I was typing away every single night because I had something to say and I wanted people to hear it. Fast forward two consecutive years and you would find me burnt out and writing for all of the wrong reasons.
My blogging became a numbers game and a measuring rod for myself when compared to others I deemed better than me. I wanted more. I needed more.
Ironically, I saw more come. I saw more individuals engaging and buying into what my writing was about but I wasn’t satisfied. I craved more.
My business grew and my passion dwindled. No longer was it just about inspiring hope, but it became about hitting the next goal. I crunched the numbers, read the articles, and felt like I was getting nowhere.
My passion completely died when I was hit with the realization that numbers are nothing. I wanted to reach 1,000 followers, but what happened when I got there? Is that the penultimate purpose for my life? There are individuals who are far more gifted than I am with hundreds of thousands of followers. What was I? A speck in their eyes. With 7 billion people in the world, realizing how small you are puts your writing into perspective.
Having come to the end of myself and realizing my errors, I took a hiatus from writing for two reasons:
- I needed to shut my mouth and learn. My creativity ran out of fuel. I couldn’t learn from others when I was the one talking all of the time.
- I was doing it for the wrong reasons. Passions and desires aside, my goals became an idol. I refuse to let a dream of mine be twisted into something sick and destructive.
Here’s the deal: We only get one shot at the life that we’ve been given. We get one opportunity to make the biggest impact we can on this Earth before our time is up. Religious beliefs aside, do we honestly think that anyone is going to care how many followers we amassed when we leave this planet?
Will anyone walk by your gravestone and marvel at how many hits you received on your blog, your Instagram picture, or you tweet? Your material possessions fade. You take nothing with you to the grave except the physical body you look at in the mirror every morning.
What people will remember you by, though, is what you lived for and why you continued when it made no sense to do so. Your legacy is surmised into the choices you made, the words you said, and the people you impacted along the way. Even then, who’s going to remember you 100 years after you died? No one.
I hate sounding so negative, but, as authors, I feel obliged to remind you that there’s something more. The very nature of what we do is fleeting. The numbers will fade and people will come and go. At the end of the day, my goal is to positively impact anyone who stumbles upon my blog by telling them that Jesus loves them, sharing in their pain, and just having a good time. What is yours?
Hope is out there and you and I were meant to live for so much more than numbers and a cool website. I encourage you to write for a deeper reason. Dig into your soul and reach out to inspire others, not to build your own empire. Castles crumble but loves perseveres.
I think it’s safe to say my passion for writing is far more vibrant and alive than it ever has been. It’s time to change the world.
I would love to get to know you! Feel free to join the Confessions community by following my blog, finding me on social media, or shooting me an email. I promise I won’t bite! 🙂
You are loved.
You are valued.
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