Its funny how after leaving something for a while, when you finally do decide to come back to it, no matter how familiar it once was, there is always a bit of a learning curve.
That is how I feel about blogging here again. The last time I visited this blog was one dark Monday night at about 11:30pm, with tear splotched eyes. I hastily went through and deleted post after post after post and left only those posts that I felt weren’t overly personal. I was that lethal combination of angry and broken, and I took it all out on this blog.
In order to spare you all the gory details, I will just say that only hours before that night, someone brought to my attention that I was an over-sharer here on this blog. Folks were starting to worry about me. I was revealing too many intimate details about my family and about myself, and people were starting to feel concerned that I either was a.) really not okay or b.) doing it for attention.
I wish I could say that I handled it with maturity and was able to really process it logically and really examine the situation, but to say that would be to lie. No, I flipped out. I was angry. I was sad. I was broken. I was hurt. I was confused. How could something that I started in order to help people be something that was in turn hurting me? Was I just some drama queen looking for attention? Aren’t we living in a world that yearns for more vulnerability and honesty? Why was I being rejected for sharing my truth? What did I do wrong? Why was this wrong?
I had so many questions with no real answers, so in haste, I did the only thing I felt like I could physically do to fix the situation…I attacked my blog with vengeance and deleted more than a dozen posts.
The next few days, I walked around in a fog. I cried so many tears. I was still so angry. I felt cheated and betrayed. It wasn’t the blog so much as the accusations that I felt were attached to it. I knew that my blog was not one of those hills that I was going to die on, and yet, I felt so completely humiliated and rejected at the thought of how I was being perceived through my blog. It was such a weird and hard combination of emotions and feelings.
But I will say this: it sent me to my knees in prayer like never before. I cried out to God with a voice so loud and strong that I am certain folks that live a kilometer away could probably hear me. I begged God…pleaded with Him to show me if there was any merit at all to what these people were saying to me and about me. I wanted to understand. I had tried so hard to just use my love for writing to bring light and joy and truth to this world and yet it was this very desire that was under attack. I felt that I was being stripped of the very identity that I had wanted to give myself.
And there it was…right in plain few. I felt that I was being stripped of the very identity that I had wanted so desperately to give myself.
My identity little by little was getting wrapped up in this blog. Your likes, your comments, your messages, your shares were like a drug that I couldn’t let go of. It was like you were saying that you like me…you really, really like me! What started as a well-intentioned attempt to just give people a glimpse into our lives as missionaries morphed into an addiction and well-disguised plea for your approval.
This blog. My posts. My writing. My stories. All of it over time changed into something that made me feel valuable and special. And the more likes, comments, shares, etc. that I got just fed into that lie. I realized though as the years passed that the more intimate and vulnerable the post, the more likes, comments, and shares it received. So each time, I went just a little deeper.
And I was hurting people I love along the way.
Because here is the thing, while I am a big fan of vulnerability and freedom from the lie that we have to hide behind masks and filters in order to be accepted and valued, I also realize that there are so many things that are still quite sacred. My marriage, my kids, my family, my friends, my life…my innermost thoughts…those things are all still sacred or at least should be. I should live vulnerably with those that are doing life with me, but the key is doing that with those in my life…not on a blog post that is just sent out into the cyber world.
So these last few months, I have done the only real thing that I could think to do and that was to just stop writing. I didn’t stop writing all together. My journal is fuller than it has been in a very long time. But I have stopped writing here…or at least I had until tonight. Tonight I finally felt ready to share just a little glimpse into why I stopped blogging and why so many of the pieces you may have read this year and last year are suddenly gone from my site.
I don’t know that I will give up blogging for good. Once in a while I may have something that I just want to share, but for now at least, I have decided to just be present in my life right where I am. I have decided to live authentically and vulnerably with my people.
But more than anything, I have learned that having thousands of followers on my blog or having people applaud me for my well-written pieces will never bring me the joy and even satisfaction that I tend to think it will. I don’t need to prove my worth as a Christian as a wife as a mother or even as a missionary. I don’t need to be popular to serve my God well.
And the most amazing thing has happened since I stopped blogging…
I found so much more contentment in my life just as it is. I stopped believing it was less than or that it was lacking somehow. I just decided to stop and just be…just be….just be right where I am right now.
The other night I was headed to the kitchen to try and figure out what my crew was going to eat for dinner. On the way to the kitchen, though, I had to step over 5 different bodies sprawled out all over my living room. There were crayons and markers scattered everywhere. Beautiful coloring pictures of elaborate cakes and butterflies were in the making. And I just got teary as I watched them. All I could think to say was, “God thank you for this. Thank you for all of this. I am so grateful that this is my life. Thank you for ordinary Thursday evenings when I get to just be in my home with the ones that I loved. You are enough. This is enough. My life is enough.”
No one may ever remember a single thing I ever wrote. No one may ever even remember my name long after I am gone. But if my kids and my people here in my everyday life, remember the way we loved each other and fought for each other and chose each other and pointed each other towards Christ, then that is enough…it is more than enough.
It is and always will be a hundred times better than thousands of likes, comments, and shares on social media. Every Single Time!