After two year of blogging, I’m still considered a baby in a world of wise adults when it comes to navigating this ever changing landscape of sharing what’s hot off the daily presses of living. I’ve learned much and made oodles of mistakes. There are some posts I revisit and wish I could take back. They’re like looking at your younger-self wearing big hair and shoulder pads. You can’t believe you actually said that.
I’m tempted to delete those younger posts, but I don’t because I consider the process a bit sacred. We don’t arrive at success by conquering something the first time. It requires leaning into steadfast, faithful work, even when you don’t feel like it. I often find solace in the 60 rejection letters by literary agents to Katherine Stockett who wrote The Help, which later sold over 100 million copies in 42 languages.
Why didn’t she give up, I often ask myself. And then I keep writing.
Life, all of it, takes practice. Failing and getting back up, starting over and asking for forgiveness; pressing on and pushing past the voices of critics. This is where the fullness of life resides, in the small, ordinary mundane stuff like cleaning up spilled milk and wiping crumbs off your kitchen table.
In the early days of blogging, I revisited my stats about eighteen times a minute. I longed for a sign of validation and eventually got it. But it never seemed like quite enough. The immediate access to feedback in blogging can turn affirmation into a sneaky addiction, an insatiable appetite. Pretty soon, we’re writing not because God inspired it, but because it dictates self-worth.
For me, checking stats is like an endless hole of longing for certainty. No number can fill that up. That innate place inside of us that longs to know that what we offer to the world is meaningful, it can shift and transform into an idol when you least expect it.
Our lives are meaningful because He IS meaning. He created meaning from nothing. The world was dark, void, an infinite sea of blackness until he created by speaking words into existence. He named things for understanding, not so we could figure it all out. (Genesis 1)
I tend to do that in blogging. I want to figure things out. I want to know where my traffic comes from, what resonates with someone’s heart; I want to know how I can format my words so you’ll read them and then come back. I want to know the optimum time to share stories through social networking (did you know you can access that?) like knowing the exact moment you sit on your couch with your computer on your lap.
I want to know too much. And that insatiable search for unreachable outcomes leads to insanity.
Nothing in this life is certain, except Jesus and His love for us.
“We love closure, resolution and clarity, while thinking that we are people of ‘faith’! How strange that the very word ‘faith’ has come to mean its exact opposite.” ~Richard Rohr
He decides who will read my words, what resonates, how a story will be shared, and who sees fit to publish it.
Blogging has taught me that God isn’t as interested in our certainty as he is with trust, our ability to surrender our nets and follow Him when he asks us. Like those fishermen he interrupted by hijacking their empty boat, shall we let go of the need to know how things will turn out, and trust him to navigate? He determines outcomes and our future is in HIS grasp.
I’m certain of that.
Join us in the comments and for further discussion at Redemptions Beauty Book Club on The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown as we let go of certainty and comparison this week to cultivate intuition, faith, and creativity. This is day 15 of 31 Days of Letting Go in the Deep End. Find out more here and join us for daily posts delivered to your inbox by adding your email address to Subscribe in the sidebar. It only takes a few seconds and it’s painless, I promise.
amen- hence my fast. thank you for your honesty and transparency. love you Shelly.
Love you too Lori. Hope you are enjoying your time off the blog. I’ll be doing that for a bit in November I think.
Right now I am in a sea of uncertainty and I hate it. I woke up this morning in a total panic with my mind running completely amuck imagining every possible bad outcome. Why is it I have such a vivid imagination for the bad and ZERO imagination for other creative endeavors? I literally had to set myself down this morning and give my mind a talking to; really. Discovered new meaning to the instruction to “taking every thought captive.” I finally said to my mind, “we are not going to think that so come up with something new.” It took some time but I finally got my thinking going in a new direction but it wasn’t easy. And I still don’t know anymore tonight than I did this morning not one thing was resolved today. So I had pizza for dinner. I am hoping for some pizza dreams tonight. 🙂
Cheryl, I’ve been praying for you since I read this. The thing that keeps coming to me is this: Ask God what your part is in it and let him handle the rest.
“He decides who will read my words, what resonates, how a story will be shared, and who sees fit to publish it.”
Oh how I needed this reminder. Thank you, wise friend. xo
I think I need it almost every day Krisitn. Glad to see you here friend.
This is all me, Shelly. But then, that doesn’t surprise you. I am in that surrendered place with my writing. Trusting God to bring the readers, if I will bring te words and the revelations He gives me. When I can rest here, it’s very freeing to accept that it’s out of my hands. I can serve and I can set my table, but Jesus is the ultimate host. And HOST. In every way. Love you, lady. So thankful you’re in my life.
Thankful for you too Kris. I think for me, and maybe for you, is to be faithful to what you know God wants you to do and leave the other stuff in his hands. We do have a hand in it, but we need to know when to take our hands off too.
I hate the stats. I have been there, and now that I am on different platforms it is even easier. Especially with FB, the temptation is there to check and see did anyone “like” me or my post? The internet really taps into an ugly longing for validation. I try my best to ignore it all, but some days it is difficult.
I know Anna, I vacillate between wanting to abandon it all to loving every minute. I think blogging is a good lesson in perseverance and trust for sure.
Hmmm… I see you have more followers than I do, and I’ve been blogging longer. See how I do? 😉
I don’t think we can ever really know how many our words touch–not everyone follows or likes or comments. Our job is obedience and the pursuit of excellence, the falling down and the getting up, and in trusting that He has planted this desire to give voice through writing–and trusting that it’s His gift to do with as He sees fit, whether we are a little trickle or a whole waterfall that feeds the river.
Two more weeks on my break… xo
Yes, I could go there too Sandra with other bloggers I know. We have to trust that what you say is true here. I know its how I feel, obedience is the main thing. I just get diverted and distracted some days.
This reminds me of when I actually got with the 21st century. Bought a laptop. Had my son set me all up. Started sending and receiving mail. My sister-in-law said, “You have now opened yourself up to a whole new level of….rejection!” On days when there were no replies from others, I would actually feel depressed, thinking no one cared to hear from me. Thankfully, I’ve gotten over that. I cannot imagine the turmoil that can result from writing your heart out, and yet receiving little response to that. But it does quickly turn into an idol of sorts. I’ve thought about blogging, myself, but fear I will have nothing of real importance to say. And exposing myself is too frightening. So I stay safe…as always.
I think you have a lot to say Jillie and you are wiser and more thoughtful than you give yourself credit.
yes. oh yes. how i know this trap, how it ate at the very thing i was trying to create in myself and others. that their words mattered because they showed up. but what happened when numbers became attached to those words? for me it still is, honestly, a hard game to control caring. it’s why i don’t post as much any more and sadly why i don’t spend as much with the people i love on-line as much, being too “in” gives me the feeling that i’m “out”. i love me the beautiful people on this journey with me, and if i’m not around every day to say it, know that you all firmly planted on my heart. And Shelly, you in particular are one of the first that i joined hearts with. i’m always in this with you, so desperately excited to see where this road is taking you.
Thank you Tara, feel the same way. And your non-conformity is actually appealing and inspiring. You have a healthy group of followers and you seem to be blooming in unique places. Perhaps that is what you mean by being “in” too much gives you the feeling of being “out”. I get that, I do. And I’m thankful that you have the courage to be yourself. It’s quite refreshing actually.
Post a blog = Feel Lonely. That’s the truth for me. Why I keep doing it, I am not really sure anymore? Except last night Priscilla Shirer said something on a video on her study of Gideon that struck me…paraphrased..we don’t just throw our stories to the side and start over, we build on the story of our lives, from that foundation we move forward in our the calling … Basically she was saying all the circumstances of life are leading you to your calling in the present. I’ve seen your focus and writing grow-up over the past two years. I really admire that. You didn’t start over with a new story; you built your ministry through the lessons that brought your to your present calling. I think you would agree that it has been a God-thing. I love your writing but it’s you that keeps me coming back to your blog. One thing is certain we are in the grasp of a Loving and Faithful God.
Throwing down my nets again today. Living in grace and grateful.
I passed on doing Gideon here in my local church because I knew I would be too busy writing. Your comment makes me want to do it though. I do think all of my circumstances have led me to this moment. Thank you for being my friend, I am so glad to have you along the journey.
For the past month or two, I’ve been not paying attention to likes and followers. I’ve spent less time on social media, knowing it means fewer visitors to my blog. But, I didn’t like how I was getting hooked. I felt like it was making me nuts, and I was doing it to myself. I’m starting in again, but trying to remember I’m writing for God and not other’s approval. Great post.
I think that is what addiction does, it makes you feel nuts. Glad you are finding some balance Laura. Glad you stopped by.
Oh, we can easily become lost in the stats of our blogging and I had just decided that I just want to be myself relying on our Pappa for every word I write to bring His love, joy and peace to the hearts of others. Ever since I have handed my blog over into His hands, I never look at my stats anymore and it is such a feeling of freedom! Since I suffer from Fm/CFS there is times when I cannot think two thoughts in a row and just love asking others to write a guests posts. It makes me feel that my blog belongs to Pappa and not to me! Keep on writing, dear one, for you encourage many!
I have relinquished my writing life to Jesus but it seems like I take it back almost daily. I’m a living lesson in surrender. Thanks for being here Mia.
This is so good, Shelly. It made me think of the little boy with the loaves and fishes. The disciples saw the insufficiency, but Jesus knew what God could do. I want to think of my words like that, just offered up as lunch for as many as God sees fit to feed. Thank you!
I love that Kim, thank you for sharing that. It reminded me of a time when God spoke to me almost exactly a year ago from that portion of scripture.
Oh yeah. I know this. I looked back on some really old posts the other day, and was almost blushing from embarrassment.
And the stats? No. Can’t do them. Allergic. Stats make me think crazy thoughts.
Love you and your beautiful heart.
Hi Shelly, blogging has been a beautiful surprise to me but lately I have been really honing on the ways blogging can become an unhealthy focus. In our humaneness it’s hard not to what to lean on our own devices.