September 16, 2008

Living (and Writing) on Purpose

If you know me and I asked you to use a handful of adjectives to describe me, “chatty” would most likely not be one you’d come up with. Because I'm not. I tend to be quiet and reflective. I prefer one-on-one chats to large group conversations. And I’m perfectly content to listen to and observe a conversation instead of dominating it. I suspect my blog reflects that part of my personality.

In the world of blogging, “chatty” is good. If you’re unfamiliar with this blogging stuff, you probably wouldn’t believe the number of moms, both Christian and not, who spend their days "chatting" in the blogosphere with others like them. (When I was a young mom craving connections this probably would have appealed to me.) Anyway it’s pretty clear the chattier blogs are more “popular.” It seems they attract a larger audience and receive lots of comments. And chatty or not, comments are the life blood of any blogger!

Sometimes, seeing all of this “popularity” and the numbers of comments others receive makes me feel overlooked and left out. Like the one not picked for the team or asked to the dance. And it’s discouraging, at times, to spend so much time writing an entry it seems hardly anyone reads.
But when my thoughts go in this direction, I give myself a whack on the head to recall why I blog. It’s not to become a popular blogger, seek out friendships or write about the details of my day-to-day life as a mom (not that I can imagine anyone being the least bit interested!). It’s to honor God with the insights and writing ability He’s given me. I'm still finding my way, and while it's not my purpose I have met some lovely people in the process.

About three weeks ago I installed a free program that tracks traffic to my blog. With it I can see how many people visit my site, how long they stay, how many pages they view and more. And you know what? I was shocked to find out—many more people view my blog than I imagined. (If you’re reading this, thank you!)

And coolest of all, a world map geographically pinpoints my blog’s visitors. (Don’t worry; it doesn’t reveal your name, address or any personal information!) The web is truly worldwide and in 21 days I’ve had visitors from all over the United States, plus South Africa, Taiwan, Australia, Philippines, Pakistan, Netherlands, Croatia, Italy, England and Brazil. Sitting at my desk, in almost complete anonymity, my words have traveled to six out of seven continents (and I don’t even think they have the internet in Antarctica)!

It’s amazing! (Although some of those visits were from people looking for something completely unrelated, like a person in Pakistan who Googled “free awesome god karaoke.”)

I’ll admit my selfish side was happy to see my words going further than I’d thought. But once the thrill of virtual world travel wore off, I realized a greater sense of responsibility to not only write well, but also to share the Good News. Because I really don’t know who might land on the steps of my blog. And each of you with a web-presence has this same opportunity

To that end I wanted to share something based on a book I was reading yesterday.
To be continued...

Check back tomorrow for part two. And one more thing...please do a girl a favor and leave a comment and say, "Hi!" Seeing you as a dot on a map is great, but “meeting” you is so much better! :-)

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17 comments:

Cheryl Barker said...

Kelli, as a fellow blogger, I understand all about wishing more people would leave comments. They're fun and just help us feel connected to our readers -- not to mention that all writers long for feedback :) Like you, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I have several readers who are lurkers. What a ministry opportunity God has give us, huh?

Donna Teti said...

Kelli,

I too know how you feel. I think for me it is how I gage if I am on the right track. If people are responding positively then I know my work has purpose. If I dont get a response then I feel as if I am failing. Only to find out later when I run into someone they mention my work and how much they liked it. They just didnt leave a comment.

Thanks for reminding me that we are honoring God with our work, using the gifts he gave us.

Dan said...

Kelli,
There's a name for your condition - it's called "introverted." As a fellow sufferer (introverts of the world, unite - just not all at once!), I can relate that even we need the occassional "attaboy." So, here's one for you. Just keep doing what you're doing. You know, "where two or more are gathered in His name" and all that. Stay with it - it matters.
Dan
(P.S. OK, Ukraine - let's hear from you next!)

Sue J said...

I purposely didn't put a sitemeter on my blog, because I don't want to track the numbers. And, given how many times I go back to a blog to read comments (others must, too), I can't imagine those numbers are very informative.

You are a writer and blogging becomes part of that writing discipline for you--and of a higher purpose as you bring the Word to light for others. Knowing that He reads your blog (helps write, edit, comment, etc.), is enough.

Glad to see you staying true to yourself. I enjoy your good writing!

Chatty Kelly said...

Well, I am a chatty Kelly by definition! But I did go through this same thing that you did of figuring out why I was blogging. If you are interested you can check it out here:
http://chattykelly.blogspot.com/2008/05/now-serving-party-of-1.html

But in any event - it is very important to remember WHY you are blogging. For you, or for God. And let the numbers come as they may. That is what I am learning to do. Blessings to you!

Michelle said...

I totally relate to this. Thank you for reminding me why blogging is important to me and helping motivate me to write!

Kathryn said...

Kelli, This was wonderfully expressed.

And, you're right: we are honoring the Lord with our posts, and pleasing Him is all that matters. He will lead those whom He desires to be nourished through your writing, whether or not they leave a comment!

May He richly bless your faithfulness, dear sister. I look forward to your next installment!

Kelly said...

Kelli,I wrote an email the other day to a woman from my church, telling her what an encouragement she is to me. I had felt that way for a long time, but found it to be God's time when I expressed it. The day she opened her email, she was having a self-pity day, but when she read my note, she told me it immediately cheered her up. Sometimes God silently waits to see what our motive is...is it for our glory or His. I know there are days when the threat of discouragement without encouragement tends to take me down. But then there are days when I recieve a written note, and it is right on time...God's time. Keep writing my friend...you bless me!

Anonymous said...

Kelli - i read every blog and enjoy every word - i always have something to think about after and reflect on how your subjects parallel to things going on in my life...i really do appreciate your writing and im sorry i dont express it more often...im more of a chatter than a writer - as you well know - mouth of the south! luv, suz

Jodie said...

Kelli, stopping in to say "Hi, from Minnesota". I'm fairly new to the scene of blogging. I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog - keep writing and sharing your thoughts. Also, thank you for posting the video of Nicole Johnson. I had forgotten how annointed her ministry is...needless to say, I was awestruck and in tears (good tears) this past weekend.
~~Jodie

Susie Merchant said...

Kelli, your words reach so many people. You have the gift of being able to bring God's Word into today's experiences. As someone who frequently has trouble figuring out how the Bible is applicable today, you words give me food for thought.

Bet you never thought you'd see a comment from me (since we've talked why I don't).
Love,
Susie

Fran said...

Hi Kelli....

Sorry I haven't gotten on your blog as regularly as I would like. I am on overload once again.

I am proud of all you are doing. Keep up the good work. It is exciting that people from different countries are connecting with you. Remember, we will never know exactly how many people we touch, but it is definitely more than we can imagine. God is full of surprises. He never ceases to amaze me.

Love...Fran

Liz said...

I'm just saying hello because I wanted you to know I'm here and a subscriber.

Peggy said...

Kelli.....
How can you doubt yourself , you are doing God's work (we know that He does more than we ever imagine). Your insites, feelings, and love of God comes through for all of us to follow and grow, (yes, even us old gals can and do grow with God every day) and believe me you help me grow.
Thanks for your words of wisdom, praise, happiness, wonder and love. Don't ever stop writing, I'm waiting for your first book!!!!
Blessings and Love.....Peggy

Smith Fam said...

Keep writing, Kelli! Had fun meeting you at the writer's conference. We'll see what God opens up in our lives as we move forward on the journey! Smiles.

Joy in The Truth (Sharon Sloan) said...

Hi, Kelli. Honest hearts are so refreshing. You have refreshed me!

I have had SiteMeter for a few months and it is fun to see where blog visitors come from. The internet connects people all over the world. It's amazing.

I find most visitors who comment are bloggers themselves. As I am sure is the same with you, many of our family and friends verbally comment to us (or e-mail), but they are shy about leaving a written comment.

It's humbling when I see visitors from other countries (some countries I have never even heard of!). And it reminds me of my responsibility before the Lord. Mine is more of a family blog where we share our hearts, but putting any writing out there is a huge responsibility before the Lord.

1 Peter 4:11 "If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God." Wow.

Thanks for the honesty of your post. As you honor Him, He will be glorified. You may not see a lot of the fruit until heaven.

Warm Blessings,
Sharon :)

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Kelli:
You are speaking the penchant of my heart with this post. I've been blogging for 8 months now and am nearly worn out! Not because of the writing, but rather because of all the "rules" that go with the game...for you see, much of it seems to be a game of give and take to me.

I understand that, but I also understand that my focus has been skewed at times, especially as it pertains to comments, site visits, etc. I often think of "sitemeter" as a way of tracking my ego. Make sense?

I had a conversation with a friend just today about the issue. My focus has never been to entertain. My focus has always been to paint the truth of who Jesus Christ is and what he means to me...

a daily journaling of the faith I walk.

It's never a quick pause at my blog, and I've come to accept that it means fewer visits on a daily basis.

So be it.

At the end of this day, truly at the end of this life, I am after the applause of One, and if he "gets it"...I'm good to go; in fact I'm more than good! I'm ready.

Love your blog and will be back as time allows.

peace~elaine