Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

I had pretty much decided to give up blogging.

My computer is broken. I have no internet at home. The stress of being misunderstood or held accountable to what I write is daunting.

It seemed easier to crawl in my little hole, limit my writing to my personal journal, and use the Christianese of “a season.”

I can’t do it.

Call it narcissism, a craving for attention, or {what it really is} a desire to connect and be connected. I’ve missed you all, and I’ve missed the perspective that blogging gives me.

It forces me to walk around with my eyes open.

To see the things that God is doing, and to acknowledge them outside of myself.

I can’t stop.

So, thank you to all of you who have encouraged me over these past few months, and also to those of you who have peeped in here at that same last post that’s sat there since October.

And…check out what God showed me yesterday! It’s over at the Everyday Testimony Project.

I’ll be back here tomorrow!

My, Aren’t We Nosey?

What is it about human nature that makes us so concerned with the lives of others?

A trip through the check-out line at the grocery store inevitably includes bombardment by numerous publications, ones that make their money spreading the latest gossip about celebrities. Who’s dating who? Can you believe they wore that? Guess how she messed up?

Obsession with the day-to-day lives of others isn’t confined to celebrities. Facebook, Twitter, blogs and more are ways to check in with our fellow human beings on a minute basis. We love to be in the know…

What About This Man?

Monday I wrote about a life-changing moment between Jesus and Peter. Following Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, He had a picnic breakfast on the beach with His disciples (John 21). During that meal Jesus confirms Peter’s calling, despite his betrayal during Jesus’ imprisonment.

What must Peter have felt during that conversation? Not only was Jesus dismissing any guilt or shame Peter had regarding his denial of Jesus, He was charging Peter with the task of tending His sheep. I can only imagine what was going through his mind.

Oh, but wait…we don’t need to imagine…look what Peter’s reaction is:

“Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them…So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!'” (John 21:20-22)

Peter’s response to Jesus’ revelation of his future was, “What about John?”

I don’t highlight Peter’s actions to condemn him, more it’s because I realized how normal they are. I’m constantly comparing myself to those around me; whether material possessions, physical appearance, or accomplishments. As a parent, I compare my children to other people’s children.

Don’t even get me started about comparisons in blogging.

You’d think, though, that in the area of spirituality and my walk with God there would be no place for comparison. It’s holy, set apart. Obviously not.

The Horse and His Boy

I love the Chronicles of Narnia. I have learned so many spiritual lessons through C.S. Lewis’ narratives of the imaginary land of Narnia.

One of my favorite books in the series is The Horse and His Boy. The book tells the story of two children, Shasta and Aravis, and two talking horses, Bree and Hwin, as they travel from Calormen to Narnia. I’m not quite sure why it’s my favorite, but it’s the one I pick up most frequently to re-read.

courtesy of photobucket.com

Towards the end of the book, there is a scene that has always stuck with me. Shasta, encounters a Presence while traveling alone.  This Voice in the fog explains to Shasta the purpose behind many of the trials they had come up against in their travels. When Shasta asks for information regarding an experience Aravis had, the voice replies:

“Child…I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own.”

A few chapters later, Lewis reiterates the point when Aravis asks about the future of a young servant girl she had wronged. Again, the voice says:

“Child…I am telling you your story, not hers. No one is told any story but their own.”

Keep Focused on Him

Peter’s redemptive conversation with Jesus, Shasta and Aravis’ illuminating encounters with Aslan; these are major moments. Yet in these times each is concerned with what will happen to others. Instead of appreciating the gravity and significance of what they were experiencing, they asked, “But what about so-and-so?”

How often have I sought out God for guidance, asking Him to reveal the plans He has for me, and then turned around to say, “What are you doing with them?”

Each of us has a unique purpose in God’s kingdom. Comparing and contrasting giftings, callings and ministries is not what God desires us to do. Instead, He reveals to us what our plan is, where our path to follow lies, and then expects us to walk it while keeping our eyes focused on Him.

I can’t promise that I still won’t be tempted to check out the latest gossip rag headline or do a little Facebook stalking, but I do know that the most important thing is to not be obsessed with how God is using others.

My obsession needs to be to live out the story He’s telling me about me.

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(needed to be reminded of these truths from the archives today)

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Today I’m guest posting for Kay Weight on her blog Heart & Soul Pursuits! She is running a series called “Inspire Me.”

“Inspire me” is an invitation to gather with the heart of an amazing sisterhood of girls across the earth living their lives ‘destined, devoted and daring’. A gathering of ordinary girls living extra-ordinary lives. So whoever you are and wherever you come from we would love to hear from you. {Kay Weight}

Take a moment to discover what I have dedicated myself to this week, and see what others are sharing!

Now, I have no excuse not to clean the toilet…

My computer is working again!

When I thought that it was dead I felt despair…and relief.

Why relief?

I’ve been praying about giving up blogging, Facebook and Twitter. There’s so much pressure to keep up. More than just putting my thoughts out there for others; social media involves commenting on others sites, responding to comments and emails, and interacting with everyone on Facebook and Twitter.

It is beginning to feel like a job, a chore, a checklist item.

Plus, it’s so emotional! I worry about what other’s think of me, if I’m good enough, how I can be better. Jealousy, fear, doubt, and depression are all part of writing for me. I know I’m not alone in this. Friend (and fellow blogger) Angela Russell @ The Coupon Project wrote a post about the emotional cost of blogging. Jenny Rain @ Rainmakers and Stormchasers wrote a fantastic post about blogging stats and how we can misunderstand what success looks like. These ladies spoke right to my heart!

So, when my computer shut down, I thought God was just being dramatic. Instead, He was forcing me to rest.

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I realized things need to change. Maybe only for a season, maybe for good. I am not balancing life well.

I’ve been posting daily: to be consistent, to be disciplined, to be fresh.

It’s

too

much.

I began blogging to hone my writing for outside work — freelance work. My blog has kept me from being able to pursue that; I just don’t have the time. So, I’m changing the frequency here. I’m thinking I’ll post two, maybe three times a week.

In his book, On Writing, Stephen King cautions writers, “you must not come lightly to the blank page.” In my efforts to create daily content, I have been guilty of this. And that’s not fair to you, the readers who stop by here. If you’re taking the time out of your day to read my words, I want you to come away with something worthwhile, not fluff or filler.

Which brings me to another topic…

When I spend too much time alone I think…a lot. And that thinking causes a downward spiral that can become too dark, depressive and self-deprecating.

For over a month now I have been longing to have other voices here. Not just people who have established blogs, but friends and family who have stories and ideas to share.

So…I guess I’m saying:

Do you want to write a guest post for me?

Would you be willing to share your story, your dreams, your laughs and your tears here?

I would love to have a whole month full of others, but I’ll take what I can get.

If you’re pausing, thinking, “She can’t want me to guest post” Stop! You are the exact person I want.

If you’re reading this blog, I want you to share here. So, don’t hesitate to email me, send me a message on Twitter or Facebook, or even just leave a comment below. I want community and differing perspectives.

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I’m excited! Scaling back will allow me the opportunity to read more of others writing, to pursue some outside writing opportunities I’ve been putting off, and to clean my toilets.

Ok, I’m not overly excited about that last one…

What do you do to keep balance in your life?

Do you find it difficult to maintain?

Do you hate cleaning the bathroom as much as me?

{Although I’m cutting back on frequency, there are some great things ahead here! Don’t miss a post! Sign up to have them delivered to your inbox or subscribe in a reader. You do not want to miss what’s coming!}

{Overlooked}

Yesterday, Lisa-Jo (aka The Gypsy Mama) supplied a place for those who feel forgotten, or overlooked. Individuals who put their heart not just on their sleeve, but on the Interwebs for others to read and respond to. Sometimes people don’t always read, and frequently there is little or no response. The question then became, “was it worth sharing if no one shows up to read?

I’ve asked myself that same question plenty of times. Not just with blogging, although that’s the latest of my insecurities. In ministry, in hosting parties, in life — if no one sees, do I matter?


…You know me, O LORD; You see me… {Jeremiah 12:3}

The Bible tells us there is one who never sleeps, whose eye is always on us, who is intimately acquainted with all our ways.

He sees.

From the response to Lisa-Jo’s post, there are at least 105 individuals out there who have felt overlooked. I think that number is low. So, for all of you who have shared your life, opened your heart, and felt the sting of little or no response, I want to join Lisa-Jo in saying that you matter.

If you have a blog post that you feel not enough people have seen, I’d encourage you to link it up over at Lisa-Jo’s site. There it will be read by many who are eager to encourage and “see” you.

If it’s not blogging for you, I’d love to know what area of your life you are proudest of from this week, month or year that you wish more people knew about. It could be something you created, or an accomplishment you achieved, or a work God has done in your life. I want to rejoice with you in it, and I know from my experience yesterday, that others will be blessed by what you have to share.

Just leave a comment below, and if you have a link I’d love for you to share it!

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For those of you who haven’t already read it, below is my post that I wished more people had read…

Music Memories

The other day, as I was driving to pick Josh up from work, I was listening to a playlist on my iPhone.

The kids were in the back seat chattering away and I was feeling mentally exhausted.

A new song began streaming through my radio, and I recognized the intro to “A Long December” by Counting Crows. Suddenly I was 17-years-old and driving my little, blue Geo Metro. Instead of a backseat full of children, I have a group of my friends with me. We are all laughing and singing along to the radio.

As the song continued to play, I felt memory after memory of high school wash over me. Friends I hadn’t thought about it years, the emotions of being in a new relationship with Josh, and the carefree ability we had to go where we wanted whenever we wanted. Everything seemed young and fresh and fun.

The song changed and this time “Babylon” by David Gray brought me to my first year of marriage.

The coziness of our loft apartment, our first home as a married couple, surrounded me as I remembered listening to the song while I cleaned on my day off. I could picture our cats sitting on the couches and a fire in our little pink fireplace as the rain came down outside. Our marriage was new and sparkly and it felt more like make-believe than reality.

With a third song, “Yellow” by Coldplay, I am engaged and visiting Josh in California. We are driving down the freeway and excited to see each other after a month’s separation; what seemed like an eternity to me at the time. We are in love and excited for what the future holds. We talk about what our wedding will be like and he tells me about how this song, that I’d never heard, always makes him think of me.

And I realize that all of the memories that these songs are calling forth are softened by time; rose-tinted. The worries, fears and stresses that I was dealing with are minimized in the remembrance of the small joys I experienced. Laughing with friends, cleaning my house and planning a wedding replace the broken relationships of high school, the cancer my Grandma was battling during my engagement and the difficulties of the first year of marriage.

It made me think about how I view my life now and how I’ll view it in a few years.

What song will bring me back to this time when my kids are young and I get to spend each day with them? I realize that the joy of hearing them play together, the sweetness of baby arms wrapped around my neck and the excitement of celebrating their small victories will someday minimize the stress of finances, never-ending household chores and being frustratingly overwhelmed.

I silently pray:

“Dear God, please help me to recognize and appreciate the things of today as I’m living it, instead of tomorrow when I’m remembering it. Help me to have a softened, rose-tinted view of my life and acknowledge the joys that surround me.”

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