Thursday, November 18, 2010

Releasing my inner Jeremiah

"If you write for God you will reach many men and bring them joy. If you write for men--you may make some money and you may give someone a little joy and you may make a noise in the world, for a little while. If you write for yourself, you can read what you yourself have written and after ten minutes you will be so disgusted that you will wish that you were dead." ~Thomas Merton

Doubt

I have long known that I suffer from an obsessive, compulsive personality. When I’m at work with my computer right in front of me, I must check my email every five minutes. It’s a terrible habit. I’m sure I do it because I crave attention and I just can’t wait to see who might be thinking of me and send me an email to prove it. I am also extremely hyperactive and fear that if I don’t keep up with answering my emails as soon as they arrive that I will fall behind and be forever playing catch up. I sure do think I’m important, don’t I? And I am important, but it shouldn’t matter to me whether or not other people think I’m important, the only opinion that matters is that of the One who made me, who loves me beyond belief and who will always be right by my side whether I pass a popularity test or not. Still, breaking the habit of being a people pleaser isn’t easy.

This fact was made crystal clear to me a few weeks ago. I had met someone for the first time and he told me that he was familiar with my blog and enjoyed reading it, and he praised my writing skills. Then he added, “But your blog is kind of girly.” All it took was that added comment behind the clause and I completely forgot the compliment that came before it. “He’s right,” I thought, “all those flowers are girly. Why would any man be interested in reading my blog?” Which was a foolish thought from the get-go, because I know that a lot of men read my blog and they don’t seem to be the least bit troubled by the flowers. The flowers are there for me, because I like them and they express my Victorian-leaning, old-fashioned personality. But now, the seed of doubt and insecurity was planted in my mind, and instead of discarding the comment, I began to dwell on it, and as soon as I had the chance, I started searching for a new blog background.

Lesson

I wasted an entire afternoon messing around with different backgrounds for the blog but couldn’t find any that I liked. I finally chose a plain white background with a black scroll on the side. It was the best I could do. I wrote to a blogging friend and asked him to take a look at my new background. He wrote back and said that the flowers had never put him off, and the new background looked awfully plain. When my husband and children arrived home and I told them what I had done, they were all disappointed in me and told me that I should change it back. Paul was especially hurt. He said, “You never listen to me when I tell you something, and now, the first time someone else tells you what he likes and doesn’t like, you believe him and change your blog because of it!”

Desperate to make things right again, I frantically changed the blog back to the background that I love. But it was too late, there was damage done. I lost my entire sidebar and I struggled to make my old background fit in with the recent changes that blogger had made to their templates; it just didn’t look right, it wasn’t the same. It took a lot of effort and frustration to make it look the way I had originally had it. Worst of all, I lost my previous site meter and had to start out at visitor number one when I knew that I was currently topping over 2000 visits a month. I complained to my blogging friend that my site meter was my favorite part of my blog. He kindly sympathized with me. What he should have done was criticized me for being so shallow. What I was telling him was that what I liked the best about my blog was seeing the number of visits I was racking up each day. What happened to writing for the glory of God? What happened to releasing my Inner Jeremiah? Even as I type this I feel shame burning my face at the realization of how terribly proud I am. For the second time since I began writing this blog in April of 2009, God made it clear to me that far too often I put my own glory above HIS glory. I was shaken to the core to realize that I’m not as perfect as I like to think I am. I have serious flaws that only God can repair.

The first time that my faults were pointed out to me through the blog, it was because my husband was complaining that I spent more time blogging-praying-reading-attending church, than I did with him and the children. He recognized my behavior as obsessive and called me on it. Why is it that I panic every time I come close to realizing that I am not perfect? Why is it that I can’t simply rest in the Lord and trust that He is using me for His glory, not for mine, and that I am not meant to be perfect but am only meant to point to His perfection. I decided that I had to quit the blog for the sake of my family…but…I couldn’t! Something in me just has to write, just has to get the words out! So, after a short hiatus, I returned to blogging within a few weeks, at a much more relaxed rate. Instead of daily posts, I cut back to two to three posts a week and everyone was happy with the compromise.

Conviction

Then, just this week, I ran across something that really convinced me that it’s time to make a change. Since I began blogging, I have been a huge fan (along with just about everybody else, and for very good reason) of Ann Voskamp’s Holy Experience blog. Her words are pure beauty. Her photography is perfection. The music on her blog is blissful! (Sometimes when I’m at work and feeling stressed, I click on her blog and minimize it just so that I can enjoy the lovely, calming sounds of the piano music while I work!) Every now and then she writes a post for {in}courage. Her most recent post stopped me in my tracks and demanded that I take notice. She has long recommended writing for God alone and has gone without site meters, comments and followers as the trappings that cause a blogger to write for themselves and their pride instead of for His glory.

This time, something in her message got through to me. Please, please, take the time to read her amazing words and see if you don’t agree. As a result of her post, I have decided that I can follow in her footsteps. I, too, can let go of the site meter and the comments. I will write for God. My email will still be available and can be found on the "about me page", so if you want to contact me, I will always be happy to hear from you as I am not yet ready to release my obsession of checking for new mail every five minutes; I’ve got to take it one slow step at a time. And, I don’t want to say that this change will be permanent, but I pray that God will give me the courage to let go of those few trappings in favor of a heart more open to His love, His will, His desires for me and my life. Pray for me, as well, won’t you, as I continue to strive to release my inner Jeremiah in a way in which He will be pleased?

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for good stuff

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  2. I have interpret a few of the articles on your website in the present circumstances, and I definitely like your fashionableness of blogging. I added it to my favorites trap age file and resolve be checking back soon. Will repress out my orientation as well and vindicate me be familiar with what you think. Thanks.

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  3. Praise Jesus for this post. We are so much alike I had to laugh. I am going to try to *ease back in* without becoming obsessive myself. It is a great consolation to know we share in each other's sufferings of struggling to fulfill God's will in our life in a balanced way.

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