November 11, 2009

The Insignificance Antidote

The blog’s been quiet lately. The words haven’t been there. The ideas not fully formed. The confidence waning.

The silence has caused me to ask once again, “Why do I blog? Am I wasting my time?”

Do you have any idea how many Christian blogs there are? So many lovely, women (and men) tapping away at their keyboards sharing their hearts, insights, experiences, tips and even recipes.

I don’t do well in crowds. I tend to let the most vocal/entertaining/charming take over while I quietly step away and observe.

There are plenty of bloggers out there far more talented, outgoing and engaging than me. Some attract quite a crowd. I pretend I don’t notice or it doesn’t matter, but I do and it does. Not because it’s a competition (although I’m extremely competitive, so maybe it is), but because I wonder, “Why not me?”

In the blogging venue, in particular, I lose track of what’s important. I take my eyes off Jesus and put them on me. I check, compare, measure how I stack up against others. I tie my value to how many readers/comments/hits/ followers I have. And I think others do it so much better, so why bother.

I wonder, Do I add anything to my little corner of the blogosphere? Do others see God through my words or am I adding to the noise? If I quietly stepped away would anyone even notice?

Typically this is when I’d cue the violins to add background music for a big ol’ pity party. But, I refuse to go there—or send out invitations. But, I stand at the edge of the pit, knowing how easy it is to fall or be pushed in.

I have listened to enough heart-to-heart conversations and observed enough life around me to know that for many of us, our greatest fear is being insignificant. That we don't matter. We fear that at the end of the day our contributions won’t make a difference and if we quietly stepped away few would notice.

The enemy loves this kind of attitude. He schemes for ways to push us to the sidelines so we wallow in doubt, fear, anxiety, jealousy and depression. Because when we’re there, we can’t do much good for the Kingdom. Satan’s done his job.

Well, we have a choice—to struggle in our humanity or reach for the divine.

When Jesus came He didn’t seek out the most popular, charming, attractive or qualified. He went to the sidelines and picked from the cast offs. To them He said, “Come, follow me.” (Matthew 4:19) And when they did, He used them for great things. But let's not forget how much His followers struggled with doubt, fear, rejection, pain, discouragement and much more.

It looks like we’re in good company!

Once again on this writing journey, I’m faced with a choice: to give up because the road’s not filled with applause or press on in the silence.

Why do I blog? Because God’s given me an ability to write and for now it’s one way I can, and I’ve connected with wonderful people—friends—who keep me coming back. I believe God cares more that I’m faithful with the gifts He’s given me than how large my audience is. Because even if I reach just one, isn't that enough?

From time to time I need these wake-up calls to reassess and refocus. I need the reminder that one day I’ll stand before my Maker and account for my life. He'll ask, “What have you done with the talents I entrusted to you?” (Matthew 25:14-30)

Will my answer bring condemnation like the foolish servant who dug a hole and hid his talents out of fear and returned exactly what he'd been given... or applause like the good and faithful servant who doubled what he'd been given?

When we live a life set on multiplying the gifts God's given us surely we've discovered the best insignificance antidote out there.

Lord, I pray as I write, talk and serve that my sole purpose is to make your name famous. Extract me from my need for acceptance, admiration and accomplishment. Help me set my sights on you and you alone.

How are you investing the talents God’s given you? Even the tiniest pebble thrown into a pond ripples far beyond the point of impact.

photo credit:


Victoria said...

I think you've just spoken the heart of every one of those Christian bloggers you spoke of! We've all been there...and honestly, I've been there all week. When we share something so meaningful and dear to our hearts and inextricable part of who we are, it is hard not to want feedback. We don't need to see the ripples to know they're there and you just reminded us of that as God reminded you! Keep shining His light! We need that!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

"I believe God cares more that I’m faithful with the gifts He’s given me than how large my audience is. Because even if I reach just one, isn't that enough?" and if that one is only you, I believe that is enough too.

I believe God is using my writing gift to teach me more and more about Him and what He wants from me. If by sharing any of it on my blog strikes a cord with any reader, than I'm doubly blessed by writing for Him. It's hard to take the me out of it. But I do strive to, often fail, but I've finally gotten to the point where I no longer even remember my password for that stat counter. I still receive the emails every Sunday telling me how my blog is doing, but I'm learning how to ignore that too.

Onward I go, striving to surrender to Him.

Don't quit blogging, KelliGirl, I appreciate your shared wisdom way too much. He's teaching me through you, with every post I'm gifted to read of yours.

Terri Tiffany said...

A friend once told me when I struggled to do a writers group or not that if one person showed up, it was enough. I could make a difference.
You have with me and I would miss our friendship tremendously if you blogged off. I look forward to your posts and hearing about your writing journey:)
I'm not one for numbers-- I write what I think God gives me to write--if someone reads it, ok-but it is being me. Just be you like you've been. That's the person I've connected in cyberspace with and hopefully someday in person:)

Kelly said...

Kelli, I have been following you for some time now...almost a year. I haven't always been vocal in comments, or whatever, but I've read.

I know that you are an instrument of God and I see and hear him in your posts. Would you believe, honestly, that often he speaks right to me...through you!!!

Yes, you might not be as big as the tuba, or as loud as the bass drums, but you are a flute in this orchestra of God's children and without your sound...something would be missing.

You are doing great work with your God-given talents and I love it!


Peggy said...

Dear Kelli...
I know you really don't want to stop blogging. The fact that you do speak to so many of us always, even if we don't comment, you do speak to us and we thank you!
If at this time the well is dry of what to say or write, have you thought that God is telling you "Kelli, why don't you take a short rest and quiet your mind.
Then I (God) will give you new insites, but for now , REST."
Take care dear friend, and know we will all miss your words if you quit your blog.
Blessings and Love....Peggy

Saleslady371 said...

Yeah, there are a bunch of Christian bloggers out there and it is easy to feel insignificant sometimes when I read an awe inspiring post. But then I think of how glorified God is in each one of us. Even though we are many, our styles are so different as our websites. Our lives are very different because our personalities are unique and even though we share a common thread, we are all needed to glorify Him. I would miss you if I didn't see your name on my blogroll.

Runner Mom said...

I am so thankful that you do blog! I truly receive some type of blessing each time I read your work--either a new look at a scripture or a thoughtful post that makes me sit an extra minute at the computer and think. God has blessed you tremendously, girlfriend!

I am just testing the waters of my strengths that He has given me. Baby steps in women's ministry and starting a photography business. Scary stuff...but He is there holding my hand each step of the way.

Love you!

Kelly Combs said...

I struggle with this too. I try to keep it blogging for Jesus because it can get competitive. But I do wonder why I can pour out my heart and get only 10 comments, but do a "useless" meme and get 25.

I haven't been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul like some people either. ;-)

So keep your eyes on the goal, as you are. It's hard, cause don't we all want to be "popular?" I do! I love validation. But the bottom line is I have to find my worth in God alone.

Side note, I am taking the month of December off from my blog, but will still do my Titus 2 guest blog and Examiner page. I think that we help me come back fresh and refocused in January.

Carmen said...

Well written! We all experience those feelings...and it's okay. I believe, like you, that even if there is only one of my posts that blesses someone, or makes someone a better person in some way...then it's all good and it's worth it! I think you're a blessing in more ways than you realize!

Mama Mote said...

I keep adding blogs to read because there ARE so many fun things to read, to learn from and creative ideas for crafts. And then I wish I had talent so I could have a store and sell things (esp. now since I don't have a job) and could write better. As I read and think about things, I may just find something I can do through my blog, but nothing fancy, and that's okay. I just enjoy reading my friends' blogs and their friends' blogs, etc., etc. and so on ......

JerryLyn said...

Kelli, I feel so blessed to know you and to experience God's love and grace through your words. The truth you speak, your faith's journey that is so authentic, the gift you have of acknowledging God's presence in the ordinary, is so very special. You have given me courage on my own writing journey to really listen to God's call on my life, and listen for His voice. I truly thank God for you...and however He chooses to use your gift...I know it will all be for His glory.

Cheryl Barker said...

Kelli, I've struggled with blogging issues, too. After being encouraged to blog by so many in the writing industry, I started my blog to grow as a writer (to build an audience/platform and also just gain more writing experience), and in the process found what a great ministry tool it is. And it DOES keep me writing more and growing in the craft.

Like you, though, there are times I get discouraged because my readership seems to stay at the same level, and I don't get many comments. Several of my readers are not other bloggers, though, and are just not into the whole comment thing. I haven't added the "followers" tool to my blog because, just knowing myself, I could drive myself crazy with it :)

The thing that really blesses is hearing that something has touched someone in some way -- that indeed makes it worth it as my desire, as stated in my tagline, is to refresh spirits and nourish souls. Bottom line, it just helps to keep committing it all to the Lord, asking Him to use it as He will.

On a side note, something that really encouraged me not long ago was hearing a newly published book author state that her newsletter list had about the same number as mine currently does when she landed the interest of an agent and publisher (and it's not a huge number). The important thing is to already have the way to connect in place and have a readership started.

Sorry this is so long. Hope hearing my thoughts and experiences so far will help in some way as you keep sorting it all out for yourself. Thanks for such an honest post -- you're not alone!!

susan s said...

Do you know who Caroll Spinney is? Probably not, but he has touched the lives of millions of children for 40 years as the voice of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. What a gift! There's an analogy in there somewhere, I hope you can find it.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Just love you Kelli Girl! Completely get this one. I've had a similar pause in recent days, actually lots of them, but for now, I keep writing because I really enjoy writing. I no longer pay much attention to my numbers... I used to, but honestly, I've truly been delivered from it all. Now, I just write because I can and because I believe that, every now and again, God uses it for something further in someone's heart.

That's enough for me.

If you ever want to chat further, shoot me an e-mail or call. I love coming here as I can. You're a great writer, even without the violins!


Justin said...

You ask, "Isn't it enough that you have touched even one?"

I answer, "Yes. You have touched my heart with your writing. More than that, you have touched God's heart with your writing. And that is enough indeed."

Keep blogging, Kelli Girl, for an Audience of One, though an audience of many will read and benefit.

I adore the picture of the Regan Girls, by the way. Big love to you and the whole family!

Sue J. said...

Who would write about Dan's escapades if you weren't here?!?!

Oh, friend! It's OK. I think we get more worried landing on our own page than we do going to any other page--bloggy or otherwise!

Life is so much bigger than just our blogs. I love knowing that mine is there, and I can share through the written word as I am able. But, this fall, there's been too much time spent away--investing in others' lives and other efforts. And it's OK!!

Revisit your goals, because that's always good to do anyway. God doesn't want us to be stagnant in anything we do. Friends are friends, blog or not. As with all of our choices in this life, we can go them alone or we can go them with God.

[But, those of us who smile and block out time when this blog shows a new title on the roll will miss your insights and inspiration.]