My heart is stirred by a noble theme
as I recite my verses for the king;
my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1
I remember this verse gracing my computer screen with calligraphy script as a background wallpaper many years back.
I wanted to be a writer.
A scribe for the Lord. I know many of you reading these very words are Christian bloggers who may have had that idealistic glint in your eye and assured persuasion on your soul that you were going to write for God as well in this challenging digital era.
But now complacency has set in. Maybe even the well-known writer’s block. Maybe you just want to give up. But can I throw in another maybe in here, friend? Maybe you (and I) are focusing on what we shouldn’t. Maybe we could use a little hope…
1. The problem with focusing on numbers. We all want growth and there is certainly nothing wrong with trying to multiply our numbers. I feel like we should be faithful stewards of what we’re given and try to multiply what we have. The problem comes when the numbers rule over our thought life. You know the line of thinking: I had “x” number of visitors last week, but this week I only have [fill in the blank] amount. In my good moments, I catch myself in this line of thinking, remembering King David who was too focused on numbers himself.
1 Chronicles 21 shows us the Shepherd Boy Turned King, David being tempted by the devil to count his men. Here’s a brief portion of the story:
“Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, ‘Go and count the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so that I may know how many there are.’”
If you read further, you’ll see Joab trying to counter David, practically begging him to stop the census before things get ugly. His words essentially were, Why, David, do you need to count these men and incur guilt onto Israel?
This may seem a little puzzling. Is counting wrong? No. But the motivation behind David’s counting was seriously tainted. His counting bolstered his own numbers and his own might. Just as David wrongly counted his men, so we can use our blogging numbers to bolster ourselves as Christian bloggers, or even to demean ourselves on the bad days. But numbers used correctly when looking into Google Analytics with a shrewd eye can create a productive method of strategy. Numbers should always rely on our heart’s motivation. A great fiction book that may encourage you on the “numbers game” is a fictional book by Francine Rivers called And the Shofar Blew.
2. Don’t despise your small beginnings because God doesn’t.
”Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin.” -Zechariah 4:10
God delights in us dutifully trying even if that “trying” looks a little closer to a little one trying his legs at walking for the first time. It’s so much easier to conceptualize and have our writings stowed away in a journal that’s saturated with dust mites than to actually “do.” If you have a blog, you’re out of the phase of thinking and onto the phase of doing and this my friend, is a bigger accomplishment than what most will regard it as. If you’re not where you want to be with your blog, good! You shouldn’t be because you haven’t arrived at your final finish line! If you feel super uncomfortable with your progress, it’s time to agree with your adversary. I know that sounds super weird, so let me explain.
The secret to a good lie is to always tell a partial truth. The devil will give you partial truths all. Of. The. Time. And our moments of blogging as Christian bloggers are no exception. So what does that partial truth offered to you as a lie look like?
It looks like telling you that you’re not Ann Voskamp and you’ll never live up to her potential. Well, part of that statement is true. You will never be Ann Voskamp because Ann Voskamp was created by God to be Ann Voskamp. You have your own unique voice, friend. The part of that statement that isn’t true is that little part that dogs you about your own potential. In that moment, we have to hold on to the small ounce of truth that is hidden in the lie which looks a little something like this, “Even though I love Ann Voskamp, I’m glad I’m not her because God has created me to have my own voice, my own unique story, and my own calling.”
At the end of the day, it is God who allows for growth from our small acts of obedience.
3.There is a time to sacrifice our counterfeit gods. Anything BUT God can become misdirected and eventually mistreated as a substitute idol. This can even include our lives as Christian bloggers. A great book on this that will radically reshape your mind is Tim Keller’s cerebral, yet accessible book,Counterfeit Gods. Just like Abraham had to sacrifice his promised and long awaited son, Isaac, so we also sometimes have to sacrifice the gifts that God has given us to God Himself. Before you call your hosting site to have your blog shut down, I’m not talking about ending your blog. I’m saying are we willing to choose “God, may your will be done in our lives as Christian bloggers” instead of “my will be done?”
In the book, The Magnolia Story that we talked about here, Joanna Gaines felt as if God was telling her to sacrifice, “Joanna, if you trust me with your dreams, I’ll take them further than you could have ever imagined.”
Are we willing to trust that God is a good God who can be trusted with our sacrifices?
4. Grace is still an option. Condemnation tells us we are not good enough and actually shuts us down from productively moving forward with an intentional game plan. Grace says our errors will not diminish us and instead, propels us forward. Let me just say, I’m not talking about the cheap grace here that Bonhoeffer mentions. I’m talking about the grace doled out to us when we come before the Lord with a heart longing for His perfection and not our own form of perfection.
Sometimes we mess up as Christian bloggers. Sometimes we hold envy in our hearts towards other bloggers; sometimes we offer bad advice to a reader who is hurting and sometimes we mess up in other ways, like grammatical errors and factual errors within a post. Whatever errors pop into your head right now friend, don’t try to ignore them; attempting to ignore our mistakes and “press on” destroys an opportunity for us to vulnerably come before God’s throne room of grace. Confess to Him your errors. No, “spelling errors” are not a sin. But shoving our errors down and hoping we can manage on our own is a self-sufficiency we need to repent of, myself included.
Remember, His grace is always an option,
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