"Use what talents you possess. The woods would very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best." -Henry Van Dyke
I thrive on words of affirmation. It is most definitely one of my primary love languages, and is the one I most often 'speak' to those around me. I am fed, renewed, and restored when I am given positive feedback, words, praise, and encouragement. I guess sort of like a golden retriever. Throw me an "atta girl" or a "you're such a good girl!" every once in a while, and I'll do whatever you want.
Although this can serve beneficial purposes, it can also be a stumbling block. Sometimes I can get so wrapped up in seeking praise for what I do, that I lose focus on why I do something in the first place. My motivation can easily slip to 'performing' or 'earning' praise instead of obediently following or serving where I have been called.
Blogging opens me up to this same temptation. For a while, I was convinced that God was going to use this little blog to reach others for His kingdom...that my calling was to write what He was teaching me...that this site was my mission field. And I still believe those things to be true. But what has happened is that I slipped very easily off the path of my 'calling' and into the trap of searching for praise and worldly success. I'd track each day how many visitors I attracted, the number of referrals I got, my traffic sources, the comments, any possible statistic I could use. I became concerned more with the number of my followers and readers than in the quality of my words. I would post certain things because I thought it would mean more readers. Or I'd read other people's blogs and feel inadequate and so not want to post at all. I let others determine my choice of words or lack thereof. And that is most definitely a problem. If the point of my blog is to point others to Him, it shouldn't matter whether that means I reached one person or one thousand.And whether or not someone thinks that my writing is 'good' shouldn't matter, either. Maybe my readers don't agree with everything I say, or feel that I'm the best writer around. That's okay. I have a message to share regardless of what others may think.
Any of you who also blog know how good it feels when you receive mail from a reader who tells you how much one of your posts has helped them. Or when you find that another blogger liked your writing so much that she's sending all of her readers to your page as well. But you know what? If that is what I am seeking and what I am focusing on, I might as well hang it up.
I write because I want to testify to the goodness of God in my life. I write because I want to share any life lessons or experiences I have gained. I write because I can't help but want to glorify Him. I write because I want to encourage. I write because He is worthy, not because I am. And, I sometimes write about my kids, because let's face it, they are SOOO stinkin' cute! Here's a recent picture just to show you how amazing they are!
So I have a new focus. I will be writing as He leads. Not to attract new followers, not to make money through AdSense, and not to attract the attention of the blogging world. I believe my calling is to point to Him in every way that I can, in every interaction I have with people I come across each day, with those I talk to on the phone, with the neighborhood children, with my husband and kids, with strangers at Wal-Mart. My blog is a part of that. The number of comments and readers I receive in return, is not.
I will continue to pour my heart into my words and to speak truth and transparency about how life is happening, without glossing it over and pretending I have it all together. I will write, whether anyone reads it or not. My writing is my offering to Him, so because of that, I will write...