I am a Bridge-Walker. I have one foot in the Christian world, and one foot in the Secular world. I write in both and have for decades. When you walk the bridge, you often feel alone. You’re not fully accepted in the Christian world because you spend so much time with those who live outside it. You not fully accepted in the Secular world because you spend so much time with those who live and walk in the Christian world. It isn’t that anyone is unkind about it. Well, occasionally it is, but more than that, you’re on the fringes in both worlds and not embraced fully in either. Your ways breach the comfort zones of those in both.
I understand that and accepted it a long time ago. Last year I started a Bridge-Walker group and found others who also walk the bridge. These people have been a blessing in my life, helping me do what I do and to spread the word about my writing, which is how I do what I do. We’re a small group, but these people have made an enormous difference in my life and I am so grateful for them.
The reason I am explaining this is because you need to know it to understand what I’m about to share with you.
Every year, I look back at the previous year and see where my time went, what was productive and what wasn’t. I cull accordingly, and adjust where I spend my time. I am trying very hard to avoid regret. I want to do what I can in the best way I can to accomplish the things I believe I’m here to accomplish. So I review and cull.
I do a lot of blogging: My Kitchen Table, Thinking Aloud, On Writing, and My Faith Zone. Then I do a weekly column for the Social-In Global Network, which is akin to yet another blog post per week. The feedback from readers varies season-to-season. Some posts are extensively retweeted and shared on Facebook and other social networks. Some have incredible reach around the world. That’s all good, but it’s not my purpose in writing them.
My purpose in writing the posts isn’t to reach but to touch lives. To offer something to someone who is lost to help them find their way. To get others to think and understand that their thoughts and actions have consequences—intended and unintended—and to be judicious in how they exercise their power of one. Frankly, I have never been exactly sure how to measure that, but I know that is my purpose.
So I’ve been reviewing and pondering culling some of the blogs. In the time spent doing them, I could write two additional books a year and that’s significant. But which ones?
Yesterday, I decided. Then I got this email from a reader who was in the kind of situation, experience the absence of hope—the exact type of person I try to touch in the blog writing. The situation was heart-wrenching, critical and grave, and it could have ended badly. But that person found what was needed in the post to go on. I wept all the way through it. I’m still weeping about it.
And that’s my point. I received a note that proved the power of one. One imperfect writer, flawed to the core, walking the bridge doing her best to fulfill her purpose and do what she’s supposed to do without regret. In that life, on that day and at that time, what I wrote made a difference.
My point is that when you write with purpose, you never know how many lives you touch. That’s where faith comes in. If you’re doing what you believe is your purpose, and you’re looking outward to potential good it can do for others and not inward to what good it can do for you, you are exercising the power of one in a way that maybe can’t be measured, but to the person who needs it, the good it can do for them can’t be measured, either. I can tell you this, when a person reads something you’ve written and writes to pour out the heart and tells you that you helped save their life, that’s potent stuff.
It’s not that you did it. Purpose writing is infused with more than we as individual writers have to put into it. It’s inspired writing, and this sort of thing (hearing from readers sharing their personal experiences) has happened often enough that I have to conclude what is written somehow finds its way to the right people at the right time—when they most need it.
I don’t claim to know how it works. Only that it does. To me, God puts in our path what we need when we need it in a way we can accept and understand it. That’s enough for me.
But the lesson in this is that I was about to cull this specific blog. This note is an affirmation to me that it is not to be culled. That the two books per year I could write by culling might or might not be as effective in regard to purpose as continuing the blog.
Someone will ask, so to save you the question, I’ll just answer it now. I’m paid to write books. I am not paid to write blogs. Shouldn’t I opt for the books to assure financial security? My answer might surprise you, or not. Maybe, but if I did opt for more books, I’d have to ignore the spiritual call and purpose in the blog. And I’d have to ignore it knowing I’d put my physical comfort ahead of spiritual purpose. That doesn’t sit well on my shoulders. Particularly since I know from experience that when you choose spiritual, your physical needs will be met. Maybe not in the way you choose, but they’ll be met.
This reader thanked me for helping, for exercising my power of one.
Now, I must thank that reader for exercising her power of one. She helped me not to make a grave mistake that I would definitely regret.
Isn’t it interesting how that works? We never know how many lives we touch. But when we need to know, we discover what we need to know to keep us on our path. For me, that’s clearly on the bridge.
So I close with this insight. Each of us has the Power of One. We can use it or not. Use it for good or not. Direct it inward or outward, and see or ignore the results—of our own power . . . and the power of others.