One Thing I Don’t Like About Blogging

by | Jan 16, 2014 | Uncategorized

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Some of the worst memories of my early teens were mornings I returned to school exhausted after lying awake into the wee hours, waiting for my mother to come home. I was sure that every single classmate in the eighth grade witnessed her drunken stupor in the grocery store parking lot. They would all choose to shun me.

On those mornings, I wore a favorite outfit and smiled more than usual. While my inner world churned with twenty-foot swells of anxiety, my outer appearance looked like a still lake. I read the expressions on the faces of my peers like grasping a guide book through the thick forest of my tangled emotions; glimpses of their approval illuminating a dark path back to peace.

While I understand what shame looks like in my thoughts now, it might surprise you to know that sometimes blogging makes me feel like I’m thirteen and emotionally spent. Worn out from listening to the voice I invite back into my adulthood with circumstance that whispers, “You aren’t enough.”

I’m a voyeur to threads of conversation without hearing voices of intent, to pictures without their back story. Self-doubt fills in the blanks; snags on scarcity like God’s love for me is somehow limited. Instead of finding solace in the faces of my loyal followers, I choose perfectionism to inform my identity. I control my outer world assuming my feelings will follow. And that isn’t how God created us.

God doesn’t love me or you for what we do, how many friends we gather around us. The essence of who we are isn’t determined by our definition of success, productivity, or what people think of our family members.

Approval from the masses doesn’t mean we are popular with Jesus. 

He cannot love us any more than he does right now, this minute.

On my twenty-fifth high school reunion, I carried the weight of my childhood with me in the overhead compartment. I thought I would be remembered by what I assumed everyone knew; what I was hesitant about unpacking.

It turns out, I was mistaken. Wrapped up in their own teenage dramas, my friends weren’t paying attention to the one I was living. They remembered my Dorothy Hamill haircut and the silly sound of my laugh.

The one thing I don’t like about blogging is the way it triggers a shame cycle of self-doubt when I let it.

Passion can be the fulfillment of calling or a measuring stick of worth. It’s a choice isn’t it?

When I allow you to determine my value with your approval, I lose my authentic voice. And just like those exhausted mornings and high school reunions, I mistakenly assume you can hear the difference through my writing. I fear you will shun me but that is shame talking, isn’t it?

I continue blogging because it is an exercise in listening and remembering. Making room for the sound of His voice that guides me into the future and remembering nothing I do will change his mind about me.

I am enough, and so are you.

Do you struggle with finding peace with yourself, just the way you are, without judging yourself by your own standards?

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  1. Deidra

    Yesterday, on the radio, some radio evangelist said, “There’s nothing you can do to make God love you more. And there’s nothing you can do to make God love you less.” It’s one of those things we hear all the time. But, it was as if the words were brand new. Sometimes, I need a reminder.

    Here’s what I think of when I think of you: stylish, compassionate, smart, sincere, honest, kind, gentle, a true friend, a soul sister. And that’s just the beginning…

    • Shelly Miller

      To use Ann Voskamp’s words, I have soul amnesia. I have to remind myself of what I know as truth often, which sometimes frustrates me and then I’m thankful for grace. Those words you chose for me? I’m humbled and honored. Feel the same way about you my friend.

  2. Rebekah Gilbert

    It’s so difficult. I’m my own worst critic, and when one or two pile on, well…those voices outweigh the many good ones. I tend to retreat for a few days and lick my wounds until I find the courage to write again. It takes a while for me to make “room for the sound of His voice…”

    • Shelly Miller

      I’m terribly hard on myself. Hoping to be cured of it one day Rebekah. Glad to know I’m in good company.

  3. Christie Purifoy

    “… Listening and remembering.” Yes!

    • Shelly Miller

      I think you do that well Christie.

  4. Glenda Childers

    I have been doing some studying and thinking through some of Brene Brown’s work. She is helping me deal with shame.


    • Shelly Miller

      I love her books. They are in the top five books that have made a life changing impact on my life Glenda.

      • Glenda Childers

        I am looking forward to her 2nd e.course in March. The first one was wonderful.

  5. Sandra Heska King

    Have you read Dancing at the Shame Prom? I haven’t yet, but It was recommended and is on my shelf.

    And I ditto Deidra’s words.

    • Shelly Miller

      I haven’t read that one, or heard of Sandy. Let me know what you think if you read it.

  6. Kris Camealy

    I say it all the time because it’s true all of the time–I get this. I struggle here too. But honestly, Shelly, you are gifted. You have much to offer, and I love your voice. God LOVES you fiercely. There’s nothing you can do about that. 😉

    • Shelly Miller

      So thankful God made us friends Kris. You are a gift. Hope you are feeling better and gaining strength. You’ve been on my mind, in my prayers today.

  7. Caryn Jenkins Christensen

    Oh how I can relate to this Shelly. And I too was fearful of my class reunion…of whispers, of judgement, of the questions I was sure would come. But like your experience, none of those things happened and I was able to breathe and settle into…myself. Your words are a good reminder that we are here to encourage others WITH the very stories we were once ashamed of. {I had a Dorothy Hamil haircut too!}

    • Shelly Miller

      I was the first in my class to get the Dorothy Hamill Caryn. My aunt cut it in my grandmother’s living room during the Olympics. I loved that hairstyle. Thanks for your encouragement.

      • pastordt

        I STILL love that haircut. I had one in my mid–30’s and one of my favorite photos is a back to back B&W of my mom and I with those haircuts. I bet it looked great on you.

  8. Jody Ohlsen Collins

    Shelly, I had a conversation with Jesus about just this thing yesterday….wow.
    I have found myself wanting way too much to be like ‘everyone else’ (or ‘someone else’). And God reminded me my stories belong to Him and are for His glory not mine. I’m the only one that can tell them.
    I really liked your last line,
    “I continue blogging because it is an exercise in listening and remembering. Making room for the sound of His voice that guides me into the future and remembering nothing I do will change his mind about me.”

    I daily want to remember to make room for the sound of His voice, no one else’s.

    • Shelly Miller

      Thanking God for timely words and reminders Jody. And for good news. *wink*

  9. TeriLynneU

    Yes. Me too. But these words, “Approval from the masses doesn’t mean we are popular with Jesus. He cannot love us any more than he does right now, this minute.” A reminder I really, really need. Especially that second sentence. I’m not earning more love when I increase comments or subscribers or fans or followers … the only thing that counts is am I pointing to Him.

    • Shelly Miller

      I think you nailed it Teri Lynne, we just need to know we are loved, no matter what circumstance we find ourselves in don’t we? Hugs to you my lovely friend.

  10. Ashley Tolins Larkin

    Shelly, yes, this shame-perfectionism story is mine too. The vulnerability fatigue I experience in blogging is a constant reminder to entrust my heart to God. My self doubt, feeling I need to perform well and “measure up” to be loved and approved is met in the loving gaze of my Jesus who asks nothing of me, but me. I must keep being reminded. Thank you for pulling back the veil, for sharing the true you that we all know and love. The more I know you, the more I love you.

    • Shelly Miller

      Feel the same way Ashley, you are a gift. I love what you said here, it reveals your beautiful heart, thank you.

  11. pastordt

    This is a rich and important insight, Shelly. Kudos to you for getting it and for sharing it here. We all deal with this, honey. Believe me, we do.

    • Shelly Miller

      I know Diana, but I tend to forget and think its just me ya know? Love you lots.

  12. ro elliott

    Oh Shelly …I think this is a life long process..layers and layers….but with each layer we find greater freedom…when I snuck out into the blog world God used it to expose fear and hiding…I found so much freedom…but I find myself there again…God digging deeper…but He brings us back to these places…not to shame us…but it’s His love that comes to set us free…He comes to redeem these places in our lives so we can walk in the freedom He has created each of us to walk…let’s keep walking into His love…and He wil do the rest. And yes ….yes…enough indeed!!!!

    • Shelly Miller

      You’ve said what I keep hearing through my prayer conversations Ro. Just do what He is calling me to do and let him take care of the rest.

  13. Sharon@HikingTowardHome

    I struggle with these same issues and therefore hardly ever blog on a regular basis like I used to. The condemning thought of “no one’s ever going to read this” makes me not write.
    I had a dorthy hammil cut for years; my mom wouldn’t let me grow it out til i reached middle school.

    • Shelly Miller

      I’m resolved not to allow the enemy to determine what I do with my passion Sharon. Can I encourage you to keep writing it out, and not let the outcome of it be your answer but a lesson in faith? You might be surprised with joy in it.
      Love knowing you had that same haircut, how funny.

  14. Mary Bonner

    YES! I struggle with finding peace with myself and I always think I am not enough. While it is comforting to know I am not alone, I am sorry you have these same experiences Shelly. It is funny, when I look at you I see a totally composed writer that has it all together, always has great content and I wish I could be like that!

    • Shelly Miller

      And therein lies the paradox, right? I think we all assume everyone else has it together but the truth is the more I talk to authors, I realize we are not segregated by our feelings but rather a part of a beautiful, broken community who need each other. And I don’t feel this every day, I revisit it from time to time and I never like it, never.

  15. HisFireFly

    you have hit on something universal, it seems
    all of us broken, needing to run
    to the arms and the voice that heals and holds us
    and care not what the world says (but oh, how we care)
    He is not finished with us yet!

    • Shelly Miller

      I’ve read your comment several times Karin, you wrote it like a poem. Love it.

  16. Jamie H

    Oh yes!

  17. Beth

    Oh, yes, I struggle with this. To often it will lead me to wondering why I keep on blogging. But that is the enemy talking. I related so much to this… “I continue blogging because it is an exercise in listening and remembering. Making room for the sound of His voice that guides me…” I’ve always feel when I sit down to write it is when I most connect with Him. Where listening for Him becomes a bit easier. I can’t say there aren’t times when I measure my worth against number of followers or number of comments. And there are plenty of times when then enemy tells me I don’t measure up. But when I see that happening I know I need to speak His truth to myself.
    I’m grateful for the gift He has given you. The encouragement found every time I come here is a blessing to me.
    Much love,

    • Shelly Miller

      Writing and listening go together for me now Beth. I don’t know how to write any other way but sometimes it feels more like wrestling than listening. *wink*

  18. Natalie

    I tell my kids, “There’s nothing you can do that would make me – or God – love you more or less.” I hope the message goes deep. The little one has heard it the most and says it the most. I hope they all believe. I go through times when have to say “Audience of One. Audience of One. Audience of One…” I’d love to be more comfortable in my own skin, but then I wouldn’t be me, I guess.

    • Shelly Miller

      Sara Groves wrote a beautiful song with the words Audience of One and I used to play it over and over again when I couldn’t understand situations and circumstances and it always gave me peace. Your comment reminded me of that.

      • Natalie

        I did the same with her song, Rain, last year during circumstances I neither understood nor accepted. She’s got a gift.

  19. Nancy Ruegg

    Oh, yes, include me with those who struggle with self-doubt. Here’s an example of what goes through my head: “Why are you blogging? Your readership IS rather puny, you know. What can you possibly add that one of thousands of other bloggers hasn’t already said? What difference do you think you can make? And isn’t that rather prideful–thinking that perhaps your words might help someone else?”

    Thank you, Shelly, for reminding me: I am enough, and so are you! May he use me as he sees fit.

    • Shelly Miller

      Isn’t it nice to know we are not the only ones on the planet who deal with this Nancy? Thanks for all your encouragement and empathy. It matters in my world.

      • Nancy Ruegg

        And your encouragement and empathy mean a great deal to me, too, Shelly!

  20. Lori Harris

    I’m piddling around with words tonight, fighting the same battle I fight everyday:
    If I write in my authentic voice, will they still like me?
    Love your heart here- mine is the same, Shelly.

    • Shelly Miller

      God likes you and I its hard to be satisfied with just that. It’s something I ponder and regret often. Thanks for being honest Lori, its refreshin.

  21. Shelly Wildman

    Hey! I had a Dorothy Hamill haircut, too! 😉 And the “listening and remembering” part–that was perfect. Thanks!

    • Shelly Miller

      I’m realizing how many of us had that haircut, it was so popular wasn’t it?

  22. Jeri@got2havefaith

    Yours is the third blog post I have read tonight where women feel undervalued, unloved, and fighting hard battles. Why do we do that to ourselves? We would never be that hard on another woman. We would never say hurtful words to her, but, yet we don’t think twice about saying them to ourselves. Instead, what would you say to a women who is hurting like you? How would you encourage her, lift her up?

    Now, repeat those words to yourself. It’s not that simple, I know. But with practice I bet it would become second nature. Thanks for being real and open.

    • Shelly Miller

      Yes, you are absolutely right Jeri, it stings just reading your words because they are truth and convicting. But on the other hand, I think it is good that we let people know we don’t have it altogether because we all struggle and empathy generates freedom. Thank you so much for being bold and honest.

  23. Linda@Creekside

    You’ve gently put your tender finger on some very sensitive places. But I thank you for putting this subject on the table, Shelly. Lord knows that what you’ve penned needed to be spoken …

  24. Angie Ryg

    Oh, Friend…this so encompasses what I go through daily. Will they link up? Will they comment? Will they publish me? And it goes deeper…Do they like me? Am I good enough? Why was I asked not to participate? How much am I going to ruin my children with what I do or do not do? Every day the enemy closes in with his attacks and I hear his lies. But this reminds me of Truth. I am loved. And so are you our Creator…and me. XO

    • Shelly Miller

      I think it is a tightrope we walk upon in blogging — do we allow it to dictate our identity or inform it — that is the balance.

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