I call it the holy hustle.
I hung up the Traces of Faith sign in InternetLand five years ago. A whole new world opened up to me, in every single way possible. Everyone says this, but Christian blogging was different back then. Actually, I've often wished I would have started five years earlier than I did.
Those were the good old days. Bloggers would write about their life. They'd take a few Instagram-worthy photos, and people would flock to their sites. I think of the first bloggers I followed and many of them have moved on to other things. I miss their words, their presence.
In my early days of blogging, the articles were an extension of the women's ministry I was already doing at my local church. Those women, along with my mom, were my first readers. Over time, more people started reading, and I noticed a thread weaving its way into the blog posts I wrote. Also in the blogs I was reading, the writers I was beginning to interact with, and the books I was now reviewing.
We all loved the church, like a lot. We knew her ins and outs, warts and all, but we expressed hope. The church could do better, with God's help. Through writing online, my faith grew. I fell in love with writing as a way to express myself.
In 2016, I had an idea for a book. I did my research, and asked some new friends for advice. Before long, I wrote the proposal and started sending it to potential agents. That took a while, and the words for my young manuscript kept forming in my mind, so I went ahead and finished the book.
For the first time, I really understood the term I'd been hearing about for a few years now - platform. I realized, in this tech-savvy world we find ourselves in, writing your best words wasn't enough. Finding a message you knew would resonate with an audience had to be partnered with, well, an audience.
That's where the holy hustle comes in, as I spend hours each day showing up on social media. Not in a mechanical way, but as I really am. Authentic interaction that has forged some wonderful friendships, but admittedly has cost my real-life self a thing or two. A rhythm of going from Twitter to Instagram to Pinterest to Facebook to my email list in a way that consistently reveals the message of my heart.
Jesus still loves his church, in its many traditions, and we learn from each other when we take the time to get to know one another and understand the variety of ways we worship him. Gather round and listen to one another's stories. It is to our own detriment that we live in a sheltered Christianity, ignoring vital things like church history and ancient spiritual practices. Ways of old that can help us remain a holy people, set apart in this fast-paced, never-stop world.
Again and again, I remind myself, I'm not doing all of this as a means of self-promotion. It's a message God has given me and many others. It's an extension of the everyday faith Jesus calls us to live. It's possible today to have close friends who live around the world. Friends we might never meet, but they know us in a deeper, more meaningful way.
Yes, it certainly looks like hustling at times, but it's a worthy hustle if it means God is glorified, and Jesus' church experiences some healing.
I'm linking these thoughts up with other platform-building, God-glorifying writers at Kate Motaung's page. Join us!