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.

::

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.

::

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!}
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46 Comments

  1. dustin says:

    Interestingly, that is the exact feeling I had when I started blogging… “there’s no way I can do 5x/week right now”. And it proved to be right- sometimes 3x/week is tiring. There have been many times over the last few weeks where I’m sitting in bed on my laptop at 10PM… with no post for the next day. I’ve realized that rest, breaks, etc are essential. Burnout will happen. I’ve only been doing it a shortwhile and I’ve already felt that!

    1. Melissa says:

      When I started blogging, I didn’t have any consistency at all; but my mom was my only reader. Haha! Last year when began to take my blog more seriously, I decided that daily would be better. Burnout is the perfect word for how I’m feeling. Would you be interested in doing a guest post for me, Dustin? :)

  2. Oh I can’t wait to read those posts you just mentioned. I think you wrote this for me in some ways!

    Steph

    1. Melissa says:

      Now I feel all sorts of pressure. :) Haha! Just kidding. Thank you, Stephanie!

  3. Keri says:

    Girl, we seriously need to set up a Skype date. Can I just say amen, amen, and amen, oh and amen!?

    I’ve also struggled with balance as it pertains to blogging and just balance in my life as a whole. Blogging has awakened the parts of my brain that have been hibernating since my oldest son was born 4 1/2 years ago. And, in that sense, it has given me a renewed sense of purpose, and a reminder of who I am as a person, not just a mommy. But, I admit that I too have been a little too heavy on the blogging and less on the family stuff since this adventure began. There is so much I could say about this topic, but I’d rather to talk to you about it on the phone or Skype when we both can find a time. :)

    Also, I’ve recently been trying to “let go” of some of the accompanying “rules” of blogging, like “you must comment on others”, being on Twitter and FB, etc. Obviously, I’m not doing the best job. But, I don’t want those things to take away from the original purpose of my blog, which was to deepen my faith and broaden horizons for others. Hmmm, maybe I should really write a mission statement.

    Thanks for sharing so honestly and transparently, as usual. I’m so glad you are a blogger and we’ve been able to become real, true friends through this adventure. Blessings to you, my friend.

    Also, my toilets need to be cleaned too!

    1. Melissa says:

      The problem I’m discovering is that I’m excited about doing all of those things. I would love to spend hours each day writing, reading, commenting and chatting with people. It’s another addiction for me. As a mom, I am not able to do this. I have other responsibilities. I know you get this. Ok, I’m realizing that this comment could get much longer…and we just need to set up a “date.” :)

      You wanna guest post for me?! Please, cause I love your words. :)

      1. Keri says:

        I know-I’m excited about them too! What is better that, talking, discussing matters of faith? Plus, it makes me feel all C.S. Lewis-y and J.R.R. Tolkien-y sans the pipe or pub. :(

        Oh, and YES, I would love to guest post. I mean to say that before. You are sweet to ask. :)

  4. Jenny says:

    Intentionality. That is what you are injecting into your life and your blogging… LOVE it!

    1. Melissa says:

      Exactly!! :) Wanna share some of your pics and words here, because they always bless me.

  5. Levi says:

    This sounds very good, very healthy. I was talking with our financial advisor last night (we put on a money management panel at the University yesterday) about this very thing, making first things first and the constant assessment/re-assessment of our priorities and goals. We have to be able to take regular stock of our lives (schedule, health, finances, margins) and make adjustments where necessary – balance isn’t a matter of static equilibrium but of ebb and flow and the minor adjustments that keep us from toppling over.

    I would (as a total non-blogger) be willing to take a stab at a post sometime, just let me know.

    1. Melissa says:

      Yes!! You were one of the ones I was thinking of when I mentioned non- bloggers! I would love to have your thoughts and perspective shared here! I’ll email you. :)

  6. Janelle says:

    I’ll do one, if it means I don’t have to clean my toilets. Anyways shouldn’t Josh be in charge of the pot? I thought that was kind of his domain…

    1. Melissa says:

      He just thinks there…not cleans. His domain is the garbage cans…which are overflowing into my domain (the kitchen). I think in addition to the “Thoughts from the Pot” series I need to start a series for you, because I would love to have you share here regularly. You always leave me wanting to read more from you. Love you! :) I’ll email you.

  7. Sharon O says:

    oh this is so good. Taking a pause is good. I would love to share my sisters story with you and your readers as a guest post. Look it up on Mary Demuths ‘thin side’ a story of Sisters. Her story needs to be shared.

    1. Melissa says:

      I’d love that Sharon! I’ll email you about the details. :) Thanks for being willing!

  8. Jason says:

    The last thing you want me is guest posting. I’d drive away whatever readers you currently have popping in.

    And honestly, I never saw your things as fluff. I wouldn’t have been reading you if I did.

    And don’t get me started on the bathroom. Part of me wants to find a cat, pour Comet on it and stick it in the toilet with the lid down. I think 30 seconds of the cat thrashing should get the bowl sparkingly clean. (Yes, that’s a joke.)

    1. Melissa says:

      So you’re going to make me beg?! Jason, you have so much talent and great things to share! I really would like to have you write a guest post. :) Seriously.

      Maybe you could do a post on household chores… hahah! :)

  9. Moe says:

    I hear you loud and clear. I only blog 3X a week and never on weekends. I spend too much time researching, reading and participating in other blogs that prevent me from blogging more than that.

    Listen to your heart (and the Spirit) and don’t burn yourself out. We like your blog, but we like you more. :)

    Have…..a……good……weekend.

    1. Melissa says:

      Thanks Moe!! Your words are so encouraging to me. Have…a…fantastic…weekend! :)

  10. Tony Alicea says:

    Sometimes things get crazy for me. These past two weeks are evidence of that. I’ve been trying to blog and juggle 2 freelance projects. I only blogged once this week and only finished one of my projects. It’s been nuts. I’m not sure what the answer is. I can’t even imagine having a family and kids. I’m going to need God’s grace when that comes!

    I’d love to guest post for you. Maybe a little further down the line when things calm down a bit. But by then, you may hit your stride again and not need me! Ha! ;)

    1. Melissa says:

      Anytime you are available…I’d love to have you guest post here. :) Just let me know when things slow down a bit, I’m wondering if that will ever happen for me. Haha!

  11. Ben says:

    My wife’s been writing out a few drafts for her blog, as she’s been wanting to get in on this blogging business so maybe I’ll direct her over here to see if she’s interested. I, however will continue to read and comment as much as I can :-)

    I’m still trying to keep balance in a ton of stuff, so yes it’s difficult.

    I hate cleaning the bathroom. HATE.

    1. Melissa says:

      Thanks, Ben. That would be wonderful to have your wife post. I’ll send you an email. And…I hate cleaning the bathrooms too. Ugh!

  12. I’d love to write a guest post! Not sure about the toilet cleaning, though :)

    1. Melissa says:

      Yeah!! — And I hate cleaning toilets, so that just makes me like you more. :)

  13. Melissa says:

    I hear you…I relate so much to this. My focus for this year (well the last 2 years) has been “Faithfulness” and my prayer is constantly to be faithful in the first and small things. I’m so far from being faithful in that way, but I hope my baby steps will eventually leave a trail closely following the Spirit’s leading…and that’s a glimpse of what I have been reading in you for awhile….purposeful direction…And perhaps God’s planting some seeds of rest and refreshment in preparation for things to come…

    1. Melissa says:

      Melissa, we need to catch up! This week has been crazy and I have missed your voice, friend. :) Thank you for your encouraging words today, I needed to hear this: “perhaps God’s planting some seeds of rest and refreshment in preparation for things to come…” Love your heart!

  14. lauren says:

    so stinking proud of you once again friend. i love the beauty in how you wrestle with the Lord and walk out of it obedient. knowing our limits and letting our words be an overflow from Him and His work is a huge hard lesson to learn in boundaries. knowing it’s too much is one thing. . .being able to actually say ‘no’ is a whole new level of maturity. . .

    1. Melissa says:

      Thank you for your encouragement, Lauren! :) Looking forward to you sharing here!

  15. Sunny Cain says:

    I TOTALLY hear you friend. I used to have a passion to blog, and get involved with social networking….then the more I engaged…the more…well…depressed I became…the more of an “outsider” I felt like I was. I saw people engaging on twitter & facebook constantly and wondered why I wasn’t “cool” enough to be a part….why couldn’t I say something “witty” enough…”spiritual” enough, etc….then I just realized that my writing, my social networking had become an idol in my life and that I couldn’t keep up with it.. I have pulled WAY back this year, and it saddens me, I laid down something I was once so passionate about….though I feel like I am finally learning to be secure, being in my own skin, and not always walking in my insecurity. Ok, enough rambling…anyways…thanks for sharing.

    1. Melissa says:

      Your story is so familiar…and sadly it’s common to many. Social networking has the power to be something really positive and beneficial, as long as it stays within its boundaries. I sold my iPhone because I was having trouble disconnecting from email, twitter, FB, and my blog. It’s been a huge struggle, but I know that God is teaching me (as He taught you) to look to Him for fulfillment. How have you come back from that time of scaling back, or have you? Do you place limitations on yourself now, or guidelines for your online interactions? I’d love to hear more about it. :)

  16. Nathan says:

    Melissa, I’m new to your site here, but love your honesty. I’m fairly new to blogging consistently, but since I have, I now feel the pressure (from myself) to post several times a week. This week, I haven’t posted much at all, not because I didn’t want to, but because nothing could come out. I think (like you) God knew I just needed to take a break, to reevaluate the reason I am writing and to focus on what’s really important. Really looking forward to getting to know your through your blog, love your transparency and this new direction your headed! ;)

    1. Melissa says:

      I’m glad you popped in, Nathan! :) This world of blogging can be all- consuming if we allow it. My fellow-blogger, Bonnie Gray, once told me that it’s not a sprint, but a long-distance run. It’s easy to think you need to post, and post, and tweet, and promote, and comment on every blog out there. But, if you want to keep it up for any length of time, you need to create boundaries, and limitations and balance. That’s really stuck with me. Looking forward to getting to know you better as well! I’ve met some fantastic people through social networking. :)

  17. Larry Hehn says:

    I would love to post five times per week, read the dozens of blogs I subscribe to daily and comment on each, and stay completely up to date on my Twitter and Facebook accounts. However…I couldn’t do that without sacrificing my health and my responsibilities as a husband and father. Something has to give. And I’m so pleased when someone like you acknowledges it publicly, Melissa. I can almost feel a collective sigh of relief from a lot of us who suddenly realize that we are not alone in this dilemma. Thanks for breaking the ice!

    1. Keri says:

      Larry, I chuckled when I read “I couldn’t do that without sacrificing my health”. Yeah, all this sedentary activity, and eating on the go, and staring at a computer screen can’t be good for anyone!

      And, seriously, AMEN-thanks a lot for breaking the ice, Melissa!

    2. Melissa says:

      Isn’t it funny how we can feel like we’re failing at something, when really it’s just an acknowledgment that we’re normal. Haha! :) It definitely is a sacrifice of health; late night writing sessions, sedentary reading, too much coffee — haha. Glad to hear I’m not alone in this.

  18. jasonS says:

    Wow, I wrote a lot of these things last week about being able to keep up with everything and everyone. Finding that ‘perfect balance’ if there really is such a thing. Anyway, praying with you and you can pray with me as I wrestle through the same. I would love to write a guest post for you sometime. You’ve got my email, send me a timeline and we can figure it out. :) Blessings, Melissa! Thanks.

    1. Melissa says:

      And I completely missed your posts on this, because I haven’t been able to keep up. That’s what is hard, because there are people that I love to read, and I just don’t always get there. Now, I’m heading over to read your posts, since I don’t have one to write. :) And, I’ll definitely be contacting you about the guest post!

  19. Becca says:

    I want to encourage you that you are a wonderful wife, mother and a very gifted writer. I have too been really seeking for balance with my life and my kids, so I have no real answers for you, but just keeping yourself in check. Am I doing what would please the Lord? I love your heart and how you are always striving after what the Lord has for you. That is big testimony it is self. Thanks for sharing! You are such a blessing!!!

    1. Melissa says:

      Becca! Your words are so thoughtful and encouraging!! Thank you! :) Coming from you, one who I know to be a caring and hardworking wife and mother (and I know you are also a gifted writer), those words are truly appreciated. :)

  20. jess says:

    I have nothing new to add! I just wanted to say good job. The best we can ever hope to do is obey God. Decide what he is saying and do it and you will be fine :-) and- I love you friend!

    1. Melissa says:

      Love you!! I need me some Jess…I’m parched. :)

  21. eloranicole says:

    i’d love to guest post…

    back in november when i had a month of posts from others it was total balm for my soul. i firmly believe those stories prepared my heart for what was to come – my own playing in the pain.

    1. Melissa says:

      I’m still working on my email…hope to get it out today. :) I’m so excited for you to guest post!!

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