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Friday, June 21, 2024

Whose Glory?

"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God." – 1 Corinthians 10:31 NRSV

Though I strive to uphold this Scripture, it also makes me pause. Whenever I'm writing, whether it's a story, documentation, or this blog, this nagging question echoes in my mind: Whose glory am I doing this for?

Then, the answer comes or follow-up questions come. Am I doing this for God? Or am I doing this for myself? And if I say I'm doing it for God? Am I really? Or is that a convenient excuse I give myself to do what I do.

No matter how hard we try, we can't avoid this question. So we must honestly answer it.

This question isn't only for writing. It's everything. So why is this question important? Well, it'll steer us toward why we're doing something, including technical documentation. 

On the surface, technical documentation seems to glorify the organization. The organization tells its audience they have the answer they are looking for. If its audience is grateful or in awe over the information, the credit goes to the organization. But who wrote the documentation? If you're a technical writer for an organization, you wrote it or those on your team did it together. 

Now, if you believe your organization is the best and you're truly writing for it, then, by all means, do so. But are we deluded ourselves? Isn't there something we get out of creating technical documentation? Isn't there a sense of accomplishment or pride? You may be a better person than I am. When I create and deliver technical documentation, I get a rush and the satisfaction of a job well done. It's a great feeling when I get stellar feedback.

So, on some level, I'm creating technical documentation for my glory. Even when it's a team effort and I happily give credit where credit is due, I still get something out of being a part of a bigger effort. Also, I enjoy creating technical documents because I like helping my audience clearly see the answers they're looking for. Though I want to use technical writing to help put food on the table for my family, I like the feeling that I'm doing my part. So it seems inescapable that I'm doing all this for myself.

If we're completely honest with each other, you would say the same thing. So what do we do? Do we just admit we're really narcissists and live that out? If so, see where that takes you. Or do we strive for something better? 

I think the better road is to acknowledge this selfish element and strive to create documentation for God and others. Like writing, striving for this is a life-long goal. Even if we're far from this, it's worth pursuing. 

Though I'm far from perfect and I don't have it all figured out when I've asked God to help create documentation for Him and others, He has helped me create something far better than I could've imagined, especially when I've collaborated with rockstars in their fields.

Honesty with this question is the way to move forward. But be careful! It might lead to other questions, such as: Is this something we should be doing? If not, should we do something else that's not for ourselves? This includes technical documentation. 

To deepen ourselves in our trade, we must reflect on why we do what we do. Whose glory? Us, others, God?

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