A little over two years ago, I started writing for Odyssey as a scared, homesick little first year. I was so excited to start writing for someone other than myself. Finally, other people were going to be able to read what I was writing. I had one of those feelings that this was a moment I would look back on as one of the first steps down a road in my life. I told everyone I knew about this new thing I had found and how much I loved it. I remember telling our college pastor at a weekly group lunch one day and I remember this as being a moment that changed my perspective on writing. He said to me "that's really awesome! How can you use that to share the Gospel?"
I remember being kind of caught off guard. How can I use writing for Odyssey to share the Gospel? I don't know, I'm currently writing about cute dogs in Santa hats.
I'm pretty sure I gave him some fluffy and disjointed answer about how I was allowed to write about whatever I wanted to write about and sure, I could write about Jesus if I wanted to. Why not?
But let me tell you why not. Because I was scared of the idea of it. I was new on the team and I was a first year who was still suffering under the delusion that I needed to make as many friends as humanly possible. I didn't want my fellow creators to think I was weird or for my editors to be like "what the heck is this girl doing?" I didn't want to share something that I had written about Jesus on my Facebook page because I knew people from school would think I was weird (even though that was flawed logic because they definitely knew I went to church) and that people from home would try to make a big deal about it (something I've always hated).
So I kind of ignored the nagging in the back of my head for a couple of weeks as I wrote silly articles about fun but trivial things. Finally though, when my pastor's question was echoing in my mind too loudly for me to ignore it, I sat down and wrote this article about Christmas. It wasn't my best work by a long shot and I didn't love it as I sent it in, but it was the first time since I had heard that question that it wasn't hanging out in the back of my mind, quietly nudging me toward answering it.
Flash forward two years to me being blessed with the opportunity to be President of UVA Odyssey and me still thinking about this idea. I've written other "Christian articles" since then and have gotten a lot more comfortable with it, though it still isn't my go-to subject matter. The question "how can you use that to share the Gospel?" sticks with me when I sit down to write. Before, I thought to myself, are people going to read my articles? Are they going to like them? Will they think I'm weird? Now, when I go to publish an article, I think to myself does this article show who I am? Does it represent who I am as a Christian even if I'm not necessarily writing about "Christian topics?" Does this article love people? It probably sounds kind of silly and strange to you reading those thoughts, but I really do think about those things before putting something out for people to read.
My college pastor's question has stuck with me for these couple of years and, being so close to when I started writing back in the beginning, I hope I look back and consider that too to be a moment when I started down a road that I will walk down for a long time in my life. I might not always write about my faith, but I hope that who I am shows in every word I write and that my words reflect a love for people.