And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’” Luke 13:6-9 ESV
For close to three years, I have struggled to post anything on this blog.
In January, I went to visit my daughter at school. She gave me this interesting personality test called the Enneagram. After answering 105 questions about myself, I was identified as someone with the Investigator personality. The description of this personality type and its particularities was spot on in describing me. In essence, it was like someone had done a psych-eval on me and published their observations under the title of “THE INVESTIGATOR: Enneagram Type Five.”
After owning the humbling reality that I have the same personality type as Seinfeld’s fictitious character Cosmo Cramer, I learned some helpful things about myself. (And yes, as much as I would hate smelling like an Italian Bistro, given the need and opportunity, I would dry my clothes in a pizza oven). But putting that unpleasant thought aside, one of the helpful things that I learned relates to why I have struggled so much with blogging in the last few years. You see, one personality trait of the Investigator is the tendency to construct worlds within our own minds and then retreat into those worlds for safety. We tend towards privacy, secrecy, and isolation. We shy away from anything that we perceive as an intrusion of our privacy.
Sounds crazy, kind of like the movie Inception for people that are awake, I guess. But the idea is that people with my personality type tend to try to develop an area of understanding and expertise in some field that they have a natural tendency towards or curiosity about. Simply put, investigators investigate! And, then they share their findings with the world around them to establish their place in the world – authenticate their worth. Sometimes though, their desire to learn and grow in a specific area can be so strong that all they care about is learning. They can even get to a point that they retreat into themselves, becoming and preferring to be isolated, aloof and distant from others around them. In a sense, investigators can construct a gated community within their own minds – a safe place – that few, if any, are ever invited into.
A Virtual Reality Version of My Inner World
By God’s grace, as a born-again investigator type, the area of study that I had a natural curiosity about was theology, the study of God. And this blog became my way of sharing what I learned in that study – that is, boastinginweakness.com became a way for me to establish my little place in the world. In the end, it became the key that let people into the world that I had constructed in my mind – it was just the virtual reality version of that world.
Ironically, this is the reason for the deafening silence of the last three years. You see, as my personal acquaintances and friends found about my blog, I became increasingly uncomfortable with posting and sharing my personal thoughts and experiences. As my friends received access to the virtual reality version of my inner world – I began to feel paralyzed by the deafening silence of my own self-consciousness, fear of being known and misunderstood. At times, I literally felt incapable of posting.
I had liked writing for strangers – I didn’t want to be that ‘teachy friend’ – the one always sharing her big insights and great revelations. When strangers read my blog, I felt joyful; I felt safe. I could even say that I felt alive! But when I realized that people who I knew personally were reading my blog – I became too paralyzed to write. I wanted to deconstruct the virtual reality version of my inner world and start another blog under a pen-name — where I could once again hide behind the anonymity of being the unknown voice crying out in the wilderness of cyber-space.
Reconstructing Boasting in Weakness
But, boasting in weakness is the perfect blog-name for me. It summarises my life story perfectly in three words: boasting in weakness. My life really is one endless succession of events testifying to the grace of God overcoming my weaknesses. So then I wondered, should I try to reconstruct boasting in weakness, give it a facelift, update my gravatar, and alter the content?
Last fall, I finished homeschooling my kids. My youngest two sons asked to complete their high school educations at the local public school. We were fine with that. This change in their education, combined with the graduation of my middle two children last spring, led me to a totally new season of life. For the first time in over twenty years, I was home without children. I would say it was a mid-life crisis, except I don’t know if women go through those, and I had no desire to buy a fancy sports car. But, one day, as I was praying about this new season, asking the Lord what I should I do with my self now that I am not homeschooling the kiddoes full time, my husband said, “I think you should write. You should get back to blogging. You should share with other women what the Lord has done for you.”
So, despite the fear of being known — really known by my friends. And despite the possible misconception of being ‘teachy,’ I am going to do just that — I am also going to reconstruct boasting in weakness — it is going to get a facelift. I am going to update my gravatar (after all, I have aged, gained a few pounds, and changed the color of my hair in the last couple of years). And, as for the content, I am going to alter it — it is going to be less aloof, impersonal, and distant. The investigator in me is going to ask God for grace to be more real and more transparent. There will be more boasting in my weaknesses and more sharing about experiencing the grace of Christ in everyday life!