I woke up this morning—a bright Sunday full of possibilities—and was immediately struck with a not-so-gentle question.
Am I living a life worth following?
Writing a blog has been a really wonderful experience for me. I had the great privilege of practicing a lot before anyone really started reading it and began by writing my way around the world for a year.
I wrote from planes, tuk tuks, bamboo forts, and African buses, and when I came home, I was deeply in love with the process of living and telling my story and God’s.
And so I kept writing.
In the wake of my post-travel jet-lag, I put together The Lipstick Gospel, bumbling and poking around on WordPress until it looked halfway decent, I thought.
I tell people that it felt like writing with my left hand, putting together my very first website, all thumbs and no flourish.
But it finally began to take shape and I continued the story—a brand new chapter.
This one was different, certainly. I slept in the same bed every night, and had four walls to protect me. I wasn’t teaching English or praying for sick people in third-world hospitals, and I had a real job, and an apartment of my own for the very first time.
The story looked different but, to me, it felt no less miraculous. It was full of new insights and old struggles, new breakthroughs and old truths.
And people began to follow me. I started meeting my readers at training camps and in bathrooms, after giving talks, and at coffee shops—each telling me how my story had impacted theirs.
And each time I left with a renewed sense of purpose. What I was doing mattered, and I could not possibly love it more.
But the thing about work like this is that it comes with a heavy responsibility.
When people follow you, you become a leader and it’s up to you to take that seriously.
Leadership, to me, is about walking into something ahead of the crowd and pointing out the places where you tripped so they don’t have to.
And that’s what this blog has been. It’s been me wandering into the wilderness first and then running back to say things like, bring a sweater, and that boy’s not very nice, and don’t forget to pack an extra journal, you’re going to need it.
But the thing about being a leader is that you have to go somewhere worth following.
And this is the question that smacked me in the face as I woke up this morning:
Is the life I’m currently living one worth following?
And in some ways, I’d say yes. I work hard and I play hard. I do my best with what I’ve been given to take care of, while living this life with as much gusto and whimsy as I can squeeze into a day. I live well and I do it on purpose. Most of the time.
But as I thought about it more, I began to notice little pockets of unintentional time—hours and days that I’d wasted—and that’s not where I want either of us to be.
I spend more time than I even want to explain to you scrolling through Instagram, Twitter, and checking my email. It’s become a habit, a compulsion. It’s what I do when I’m not doing anything else, or sometimes what distracts me from the real life I should be living.
I was sick this last week and while I was sick I did three things: I slept, I watched Netflix, and I scrolled through social media.
And although I felt rested at the end of those several days, I also didn’t. I felt drained mentally and emotionally by the fact that I spent so much time doing something that did nothing to feed my soul.
It’s like eating iceberg lettuce or chewing sugar-free gum. It’s not bad for you, but it has no nutritional value.
And that’s where my time has gone recently.
Social media is a wonderful thing, and sometimes my most meaningful adoration of God happens through the lens of my iPhone.
But it’s not always life-giving. Most of the time it’s a distraction. It’s a way of passing time without fully engaging—watching other people’s lives instead of living your own.
And I want to be doing something better in my in-between moments. I want to be reading interesting books and hearing miraculous stories. I want to be breathing in God’s truth, and crunching through leaves.
I want to be filling my life with life, so that anyone following me can do the same.
And that hasn’t been the story recently.
My last few weeks have been absent-minded—filled with iceberg lettuce and sugarless gum—no nutrients to speak of.
And I’m sorry.
For you, and for me, I’m going to do a better job of being intentional with the moments in-between. Because I want to live the kind of life that’s worth following.
Are you living a life worth following? How can you live more intentionally?