Back when I was back and forth about putting my words from notebooks or files on my computer into a blog, I made myself a promise: numbers wouldn’t matter. Ever.
The stats page was a mere acquaintance, not a friend.
I promised to myself that as long as I was did the following, I would be content:
1.Be as honest and transparent as possible
2.Share what God was teaching me and revealing to me in my day to day life
3. And being brave enough to post the blog in the first place.
Those three things. Those were my goals.
And then somewhere along the way, something happened.
People actually started reading my words.
They came slowly at first, and then grew.
No. I don’t mean I’ve had any viral posts.
But for me, they were growing.
The night I had well over a hundred hits on a post I didn’t quite know what to do with myself. How could that many people possibly be reading my words? And the numbers slowly began to matter.
People were actually reading my words.
But then something else happened.
The next post had less hits…
Questions began to flood my mind:
“Did my writing get worse?”
“Was this something stupid to write about?”
“Does this even matter?”
“Maybe I should quit.”
And then, through the voice of a dear friend, the Lord spoke to me.
He didn’t even speak to my heart the direct words she was speaking, but in the moment she and I were talking about the blog, I clearly heard Him speak:
“Have you not done what you set out to do?
You follow your three things and then some.
I gave you the ability to write.
You question your posts and topics –
Is what I’m doing in your life not enough?”
Sometimes in life, I think we downplay the passions and abilities God has given us or others because for some reason in our eyes those gifts don’t measure up to something, or because of fear, or doubt.
That something/fear/doubt varies depending on the person, the thing, the situation. It could be someone else, something else, or even what our own perception of what ‘good’ is. But regardless of the “something” it can be a very dangerous place to reside. When we begin to doubt and criticize the abilities and passions God has blessed us with, they can become ‘ours’ exclusively, instead of Gods. How audacious of us to hide and tear down what we’ve been so abundantly blessed with! This is true for how we view and speak of ourselves, but also how we view and speak about others.
God so graciously and intricately designed us with the gifts and passions we have. He also created us with the ability to speak His truth and love and joy to others. We were made with the unique opportunity to encourage – with the gift to foster joy and Heavenly things. And we are robbing ourselves of that truth, love, and joy when we choose to use words of dishonesty, hate, and misery into others and to ourselves. We often take the low road instead of the high one. We choose to knit pick a woman’s outfit instead of admiring the beautiful smile on her face. We speak unkind words to a man for making a decision we view as unwise without ever considering where his heart rested in the matter. We choose gossip, and teasing, and yelling. Or sometimes we choose silence, and apathy, and passivity – which can sometimes be worse. It is so easy to fall into the arms of the enemy and this world and choose to focus on the negative or to remain silent on what needs spoken about .. but that is not the life we were made for! We were made for joy! We were made for HIM. It may not always be easy, in fact, most of the time it isn’t. But it’s right.
I have a friend who playfully teases me because I am guilty of using the hashtag “Choose Joy” on my instagram photos and frequently speaking about living life with a desire to seek the joy of the Lord, and in turn spread that very same joy. It seems like such a simple and even cliche phrase, but it is often ignored. When faced with a feeling of doubt our inadequacy in ourselves, or we see those same feelings in someone else, we are left with a choice: Christ (joy) or the enemy (negativity).
Which will you choose?