Beyond Blue is on incisive form noting the plethora of bestselling books focused on the “victory over” perspective. By this Blue is referring to books written from the vantage of hindsight once a ‘problem’ has been overcome.
This gives rise to a glut of self-help books giving formulaic directives on overcoming everything from weight loss to depression.
Whilst these books have their place and function, the prevalence of those written from the perspective of the continuing ongoing struggle are rarer.
And how true this is of the Christian world.
Enter any Christian bookshop and the shelves are chock-a-block with these ‘overcoming’ books written by those engaging in victorious hindsight. You know the type: “We have the victory, just claim it and believe it”.
Whilst risking offending my superb fellow bloggers, it is my observation that the same can be said of Christian blogs. Rarely do I read of an author’s ongoing personal struggles; I think the notable exception to this would be Michael Patton, see for example his most recent post entitled simply: Drowning Man.
I understand the reluctance to write publicly on personal struggles as it leaves us somewhat vulnerable and there is perhaps the misconception that folk would not be interested in reading such. However, personally I find the most engaging and helpful articles to be those that give me the sense of relief that I am not alone in my struggles.
Although the ‘victorious’ article may give me some practical advise and the hope that my struggles can be overcome, I would still prefer the solace, honesty and insight, of those currently engaged in battle.
I’ll conclude with these two quotes taken from Beyond Blue; the first written by Bob Kellemen and the second written by Blue herself.
What effect might it have on our fellow strugglers if we talked about the battle during the battle—while we are still in the valley? How might it connect truth to life if we were honest enough to admit that we have lifelong, ongoing battles that we struggle with rather than that we always have “victory” over?
I am guilty of this myself. I am tempted to tie up all my struggles and angst with a lovely pink ribbon so that you will feel more hopeful about coming to a better place in your life. Look through my archives. It’s filled with “6 ways to ….” articles. However, whenever I have followed the advice of my former editor, Holly, and written from where I am, not from where I want to be, I am always amazed at the response from readers.
But it’s much, much harder to write from that place. Because it’s filled with ambiguity, uncertainty, restlessness, confusion, and embarrassment–for not having figured everything out. Most of us would like to present ourselves with much more direction, clarity, and single-mindedness because those traits are lumped in with success, not the former.
Tags: Christian Life