Recently I hit the one year anniversary of Living in the Tent (Happy Birthday to us!) and it put me in a period of reflection, as all of my birthdays do. During our time together, I have devoted myself to two types of posts (inspirational and relational) in an attempt to articulate what it means to live in joyful faith towards a relating God. It was my intention to post at least once a week, and I kept to this regimen until 2016 hit the calendar year. Ever since then I have found my postings to be more difficult to write. Some of this can be attributed to longer hours at my job as a therapist and finding little reserve within myself at the end of each night to emote to the level that all good writing requires. But the other reason I have tapered off of my weekly regimen is that I have recently felt called to write posts that are longer and much more personal. As you may recall, I heard a sermon at the beginning of this year about the commandment “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD in vain.” That sermon spawned my post “A Competition of Names” and “Loving is Exalting.” Both were intensely difficult for me to write, not only because the subject matter was difficult to articulate, bu also because it forced me to ask myself: How am I exalting (or taking in vain) the name of God with my life?
In case you haven’t noticed, I am an intensely introspective person. Perhaps this is why, six months after hearing this sermon, it continues to resonate with me today. Perhaps it is because I am unsatisfied with the answers I have in response to this question. Either way, it has helped me understand that being a person who tries to “live in the tent” on a daily basis is not an easy task, and often requires the help of a community.
Therefore, I would like to offer this blog to each of you. Not as something that you only read for inspiration or interpersonal advice. But as a place that you can come, share your struggles to other “tent dwellers” and receive support in your journeys. This does not mean that the format of this blog has changed. The posts will keep coming. And I will do better at making them more frequent. But it does mean that a new branch has sprouted from the trunk of the tree. Hopefully, you will find it sturdy and strong. A place for shade in times of trouble or a community in which to celebrate your joys.
As we move forward with this idea, I will begin the conversation and ask that you please pray for me as I try to write more posts, especially those that relate to the idea of exalting God. The busyness and exhaustion of life have distracted me from the business of blogging and I need to recenter on my writing so that I do not feel the unfulfillment that always accompanies an absence from writing.
I appreciate each of you and hope to get to know you better as the next year unfolds.
May God make you the most joyfully faithful tent dwellers on the web.
Mark D. Howell