My friend/co-worker, Julie and I, had a discussion today which led me to think about on how hard it is to be authentic when writing newsletters and reporting to the folks back home. The struggle is real.
I like to think that I don't embellish or oversell what I'm doing overseas, but there's no doubt that, at the very least, I try to cast things in a positive light. As a Christian I have every reason to be a "positive" person and from a mental health standpoint, I would think it's healthier to look for the "good" as opposed to dwelling on the bad. But do I unconsciously do it too much?
At the end of every month I send out an Email Newsletter to about 300 people. I've used the same format for almost 4 years- 3 Highlights for the Month followed by a primary story- almost always a highlight in itself.
In the interest of being more authentic and trying to communicate that it's not all rainbows and unicorns, I might make this a new monthly blog titled, "Last Month's Lowlights".
Lowlight #1- I keep a daily mini-diary- just a sentence usually that describes at least the main thing I did every day. Usually I can go a few days without writing because it's easy to remember what I did just a few days ago. Usually. But Sept, 1, 2, and 4 are LOST days to me. I have no idea what I did...which means I didn't do anything significant. Not for the Kingdom, probably not for me or anyone else either. I probably didn't sleep all day since my temporary roommate moved in right before that and I would have looked like a jerk sleeping all day. Nevertheless...I apparently didn't do anything to earn your money three days in one week.
Lowlight #2- I count 6 days in the month where I can honestly say I worked my butt off and I worked ALL DAY...like morning till late at night. That includes 2 days when I endured 20 hour long train rides. Then there were 4-5 days where I for sure worked a full-day- the kind of days that you work everyday. The rest were half-days at best. It's not that I didn't do "anything" those days- most likely I accomplished what was on my list to do for that day...but I didn't sit at a desk or push buttons for 8 hours.
Lowlight #3- According to MailChimp Statistics, only about 25% of the 300 people who received my email newsletter bothered to open the mail. Only one person provided feedback. The day after sending my "highlight" newsletter, when the statistics are available, is often the day I most want to stay in bed all day
or drink a bottle of wine.
Lowlight Primary Story- This one is the hardest to admit- but I didn't have a meaningful conversation with any unbeliever about Christ or anything spiritual all month.
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