About six years ago I closed comments on Sayable and have only regretted it once or twice. I closed them for a few reasons, the primary of which was I wanted Sayable to be a place that encouraged contemplation more than discussion. So much of the online world centers on discussion and I didn't want to be hosting one more place for it. I wanted discussion to be happening in my home, my community, and my church, but I didn't want to be responsible for moderating it online. For me, that was a good choice. At the same time, though, I didn't want to be irresponsible as a writer and not provide a place for readers to be heard if they felt led. I opened a contact page and haven't looked back. Alas, it has created a beast in the form of email for me, a beast I have not mastered or even tamed slightly.
You readers seem to be more willing to get raw and real and vulnerable in an email, I suppose, than in a comment. You ask more questions. You ask for prayer. You ask for advice. You rant. You rave. You ramble. It's glorious. I wouldn't have it any other way. Generally, though, keeping my personal/work inbox at a minimal level is enough work for me. Delving into the emails coming in from Sayable and giving them each the response I wish I could would be a full time job in itself. It would probably be two full time jobs. I cannot, in good faith, give that much time to responding. My position has been (mostly) to not respond. If you've gotten a personal response from me (as in, not an auto-response or a response from someone assisting me), you're among the precious few.
A few months ago a friend helped me sort messages into those that were just saying general thank yous and those who wanted a response directly, and there they've still stayed, unanswered. Nagging in the back of my mind constantly. On principle, I'm quite okay with their unanswered state. I am a wife, a friend, a housemate, a home-maker, a home-group leader, and I have full-time work on my plate. I have to give those things my primary attention. On my less principled days, though, I feel the presence of those emails stalking me around.
I spent about an hour this morning reading through a hundred or so emails, and thought to myself, "There is so much overlap here, what if I just answered these questions in blog format?" Many of your questions I've already answered (and I'd encourage you to avail yourself to the search bar or tags below—which is the best way to finagle your way through 17 years of archives), but some I might have a new or different perspective than I did before, or just want to revisit for your sake. My aim will just be to occasionally answer some questions, maybe weekly, maybe less often. I still cannot respond to all the emails, but if you asked a question and I tried to answer it, I will try to send you a link. I will not quote any question directly, because there really is a lot of overlap and it would be better to present the question as an amalgam of them all.
I jotted down a few of the questions here, so if you see yours, just keep an eye out for it later:
Why do you have a male housemate? (You'll be delighted or dismayed to find that now we have a male AND a female housemate!)
What advice do you have for someone who is engaged or married to someone with a mental illness?
How do I make new friends?
How do I live an intentional life?
Do you endorse everything someone (Jen Hatmaker, Jack Deere, Brene Brown, Madeleine L'Engle, etc.) has said just because you reviewed or recommended their book?
How do I trust God when I've had nothing but loss in my life?
Why should I listen to anything you've written when you're married to a divorced man?
Do you recommend writing under a pseudonym?
What would you recommend to someone who thinks they're called to write?
What do you do when you can't make yourself not doubt God?
Should I date/marry: an unbeliever, divorced person, someone with mental illness, or someone I don't feel peace about?
Thanks, as always, for reading, friends. Some writers write because they can't not. Some write because they want bigger platforms or publicity. Some write because they have something to say and want to be heard. Some write because they say it's like breathing for them. That's not me. I don't need to write. I write for you. As long as you keep reading, I'll keep writing. So thank you.