Read Part One here
SO, as I was saying last week before I was so rudely interrupted by myself, one of the HUGEST lessons I have learned since I started sharing my writings on the internet is this:
priorities have really got to come first (i.e. husband, kids, church, and home before internet), they must be pursued with DELIGHT lest they become drudgery (and sometimes this requires a magical combination of the Holy Spirit, prayer, and determination), and, accordingly, trust in God must be fostered every step of the way.
There have been so many times when my spirit has just railed out in desperation during this season of my life, and I’ve internally shouted out a prayer ceiling-ward of “God, please give me time to write this book!!!” Or this blog post. Or this desperately important list of things that people need to know about me.
When we have passions within our hearts, whatever those passions may be, it can be difficult to lay them on the altar of self-denial and loving-others-more-than-we-love-ourselves.
And what results is a stringent exercise in holiness, finding the perfect balance between giftings and callings…yes, giftings and callings…because I think there is a difference!…and coming to a steady and even joyful faith that, if God wants us to do something, He’ll give us the time and presence of mind to accomplish it.
Simple as that, really.
So, yes! I believe this wondrous thing, with all of my heart! We can trust God with our “birds of the air” stuff like food, clothes, etc., and we can also trust Him with the fluffy stuff, including our dreams and hobbies. If our Creator has a purpose for those things, He’ll do with them what needs to be done. In other words — and we all already knew this in our heads — He has it ALL under control, and all we need to do is just simmer down and follow Him.
And the reason I’m sharing all of these things in the first place is because this newfound resolve has really planted a new heart behind my blog and my writing “career.” (Ha!)
You see, during the earlier years of my blog, when a random post I wrote went surprisingly viral, I immediately struggled with the temptation of turning this creative outlet into a machine, of sorts.
Up until that point, I had only been writing for family, for friends, and for my own pleasure, and I didn’t know how to adjust, overnight, to an audience of people that I didn’t know. There were so many of them! And they wanted to hear more from me!!
I was flattered, I was atwitter, and I had no clue what to do next. So…
I turned to the internet for answers.
(Always a brilliant idea, yes? NO.)
All the research I found said I should write *this many* times a week, and keep my blog posts to *this many* words (riiiiiight), and that, cha-ching!, I could make *this much* money doing all of the above.
It sounded exciting!
And during that time, my life, whether I intended for it to or not, began to take on a manufactured hue, and there were days when even I couldn’t tell if I was writing for God or for more readers, or if I was hosting birthday parties for my kids or for Pinterest followers.
It was tricky. Life is rarely black and white, so I won’t do my past the disservice of saying I was a full-out fame chaser who saw dollar signs everywhere she looked. Temptation is more nuanced than that and, as a believer, I was as genuinely trying to serve my God and my family then as I am now.
But, in the midst of my good intentions, there were heavy pulls in several directions. I had gotten this teensy tiny droplet of fame on my tongue and I felt tug after tug to find more of that flavor, and fast! I couldn’t help but feel an eagerness to see where the road would take me and, most importantly, whether or not it could get me independently wealthy!
But, my dearest dears, I have good news.
Through His Word and His Spirit, God has slowly and graciously brought me through the trickiest part of that trickery.
I understand now that I CAN’T write for readers, because readers come and go. (For reals, I’ve lost about as many “followers” on this journey as I’ve gained!)
I can’t write for fame, because fame is a mirage.
I can’t write for the sake of money, because the love of money is the root of all evil and it will poison everything I say and everything I do.
What is left, then, and what should have been there all along, is to write for God, for His glory, for His fame, for His pleasure.
As a result, I am developing an ever-deepening love for the Spirit of God who leads me daily. So kind, He is. He gives me freedom. He helps me to be genuine. And — even better than “going viral” — He allows me to contribute in small and beautiful ways to the Kingdom of God, which is the sort of gift that leaves the recipient speechless, breathless, the works.
And THAT…finally!…leads me to what I want to tell you most of all, and I hope it will bring you some measure of comfort on this Friday morning: as a rule, I don’t write about anything these days unless my heart is truly passionate to do so, nor do I feel any pressure a’tall to publish so many blog posts per month or keep them to so many words.
And what I really want you to take away from that is the assurance that I’m trying not to use you. To manipulate you. To stir your heartstrings so you will ‘like’ what I’ve written and share my blog with others.
The same is true over at the Facebook page. I tell stories as they happen if I feel like it, I share the pictures that grab my heart, no more, no less. It is exceedingly rare that I will think to myself, “Oh! You’ve haven’t updated to FB in two days! You’d better think of a story!”
And my prayer is that, with this mentality at its heart, this space on the internet will always be a safe place for you to come, for refreshing, for humor, for truth, and for, as much as I can offer during this hectic time of our life, friendship.
(You don’t know HOW HARD it is not to reply to my private messages and comments! I want to, OH, how I want to!).
Call me crazy and self-indulgent, but I just wanted you to know these things today.
The world is FULL of people who are trying to sell you stuff, who are trying to use you to get somewhere higher. And while I can’t promise that I won’t ever do that, I can pinky swear that I am at least trying to refrain from it, with all my heart.
Full disclosure for any newbies, at this point, the only money making part to this blog has been my account at Amazon Associates. If I share a product…which, again, I only do when I feel eager to show you something we are actually enjoying…and you shop for anything at Amazon from the link I share, I will get a tiny commission. It pays less than a paper route, but it makes me happy to add a tiny something to the Gore family fund and to make up for all the time spent behind a computer screen. To everyone who does their Amazon shopping through my links, THANK YOU! (It doesn’t take much to make me giddy, you know. I’m going to go look up how much I’ve made this month so far, hold on, I’ll be back…Okay, I’m back. $10.03, baby!! I’m RICH!!!!!).
Anyhow, other than Amazon Associates, I am very picky about shielding my readers from ads and junk and more “stuff” and nonsense.
Why? Because I genuinely cherish you, and I take my tiny role in making your journey more enjoyable very seriously. Hence this 1400-word blog post about that very thing.
Friends, I can say this with an honest heart: I share my “journal of life and life abundant” not because I want to be famous, not because I want my kids to be famous (please, God, no!), not because I’m trying to build a mansion or buy a Volvo, but because…
gosh darn it, life is BEAUTIFUL.
My God compels me to share that with anyone who fancies a listen.
Thanks for being one of those people.