The week before my recent trip to the Declare Conference was stressful. I was trying to put the finishing touches on my soon-to-be eBook, trying to collaborate with some other bloggers on a new series, and trying to get mentally ready to start our fifth year of homeschooling. I was trying, but nothing came easily. All of it felt awkward. Near about impossible. Like square peg/round hole territory. Like Blogging sometimes.
Writing is comfortable for me. Blogging is not. There are techie issues, time management issues, social media issues, and more. But the part I struggle with the most is whether or not I am supposed to worry about YOU reading, sharing on FB, subscribing to my updates, making comments, stuff like that. I write because it helps me figure stuff out. I write to connect with other people over the things I care about. I write to do my small part to make His Name great. Writing is a joy. Blogging is not.
Blog experts tell you how to interpret your numbers, increase your numbers, or use your numbers to get publishing contracts and advertisers, etc. Me? That stuff feels really uncomfortable. Am I an underachiever? Am I too set in my ways to get on board? Am I too stubborn to adapt? I just haven’t ever been motivated to do things the “right” way in order to make my blog successful.
Instead I have blogged to my Audience of One, because sometimes He is the only One reading. Sometimes I have thought of you, in particular, and I have grieved over the best way to share my heart with you. Sometimes I have just journaled here. I have done the things that pleased me and the things I hoped would please Him. But the messages are so loud: Numbers. SEO. Unique visitors. Likes. Shares. These are the objective criteria for blogging success. And there is no getting away from this stuff, especially if you go to a blogging conference. Unless it is the Declare Conference.
This past weekend, I heard the things that everyone, in any place in life, needs to hear:
- Don’t strive for “success”, but walk in the calling He has given to you and leave the results to Him.
- Don’t live your life in your own strength. Instead, give everything to the Lord (it all belongs to Him anyway).
- Don’t keep your eyes fixed on others. And for goodness sake don’t keep your eyes fixed on yourself. Fix your eyes on Jesus, the (author) founder and perfecter (finisher) of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:12).
I heard what I needed to hear about blogging and about my life at the Declare Conference. I met “my people”, the ones who feel just like me about all this silly pressure to be important. I wish I were eloquent enough to tie it up neatly in a box and give it to you, because we all need to hear Truth. The closest I can get, to sharing the Declare message with you, is this:
You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people for His own possession,
that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him
who called you out of darkness
into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).
The question for each of us is: how do WE proclaim His excellencies? Some are missionaries, some start amazing non-profits, some write beautiful phrases that stick, some speak healing and Truth and love…and some are dishwashers, and nose-wipers, and crumb gatherers, and clothes folders and listeners. Some are supporting players in someone else’s big story.
Here is what we ALL need to remember: WE don’t get to choose our forum. HE does. If I write for an Audience of One and proclaim Truth about His excellencies, I am being wildly obedient to the opportunity He has given me to do this. If I lovingly fold that 7th towel, I proclaim HIS servanthood. If I share a hug and some tears with a dear friend, it is as if I have done it to Him.
And whatever you do, in word or deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him (Col. 3:17).
When we live the life He has given us, and we do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus…if we proclaim His excellency with our humility, then we are living in wild obedience to the purpose for which He has called us. Thank you Declare Conference, for encouraging all of us weary, uncertain, earnest women to DECLARE Him in our own little corners, just as He has called us to do. Not striving, not calculating, not wrestling but serving, accepting, and following. Thank you Declare Conference for voicing our permission to the live the life God has given each of us, without shame or grief over the size of our impact. Tell me sweet friend, what is He calling you to do today?