Yesterday was the start of the “finals” of the Homeschool Social Media Awards hosted by Alpha Omega Publications. For the last several weeks, bloggers and social media types from within the Christian homeschool community nominated their favorite bloggers. Yesterday, the nominees were announced and the finalists were revealed. The voting phase has begun.
I’ve been blogging for 4 years. I’ve had 3 different blogs. And probably a total of about 55 readers. Well, that may be a slight under-exaggeration, but you get the point. I don’t have a big following. But that’s okay. At least it is now.
But there have been times over the last four years that I allowed my blogging to define who I was. I lived for the comments. I lived for the stats. And trust me, when you don’t have a big blog, that can be a bit of an ego slam.
How many people read that post?
Why didn’t they comment?
Didn’t they like it?
Maybe I should just quit.
Here’s the thing. I love to write. I love homeschooling and I love to talk about it. And when I started blogging, that was enough. But I didn’t realize at the time what I was getting myself into. I didn’t realize that I was joining a community of sorts. I didn’t realize that, in a way, this community could be a bit like junior high with its ability to make me feel invisible just because I didn’t have Gloria Vanderbilt jeans or a Dorothy Hamill haircut. Suddenly the need to feel noticed trumped the simple joy of just doing what I loved.
Visiting other blogs became a struggle. I would see AMAZING blogs with gorgeous photography, TONS of comments and hundreds of followers. And I’d feel inadequate.
And, oh dear, blog awards were a struggle. A blogger with 55 followers typically doesn’t get nominated for many awards. But I would graciously visit all those nominated blogs trying to choose someone to vote for. But rather then learn from them or be encouraged by what the nominated bloggers had to say, all I could see was my own blog…with all its perceived inadequacies.
During that time, blogging became a burden. I wasn’t writing because I loved it. I was writing because I wanted other people to love it. And when they didn’t, I felt crushed. I lost my joy. And my purpose.
There’s a little bit of wisdom that someone once shared with me that I had completely lost sight of. I’ve shared it over and over with my daughters and other folks over the years. Now I had to listen to my own words.
“If you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.”
My identity is not found in my blogging. Or anything earthly or worldly. Because no matter how big a tower I build in my own strength or wisdom, it will never be enough. And it’s that way by design. If my purpose and my joy are not wrapped up in doing all things for HIS glory, joy and contentment will be illusive. And that’s a good thing. When joy and contentment are illusive, we are more inclined to cry out to our REAL source of joy. There will never be feelings of inadequacy over even the smallest of towers that we allow Him to build in our lives.
I don’t know what towers you’re trying to build. I’ve had to learn this lesson over and over again through the years. And I know I haven’t learned it for the last time. In fact, a couple of weeks ago when the blog awards were announced, I found myself having to revisit this lesson! We are human. And prone to tower building.
Now, mind you, blog awards are not bad things. They provide an opportunity to tell a blogger that has touched your heart in some way that you appreciate them. They provide an opportunity to expand the circle of people that you can learn from. It’s not the awards themselves that are flawed. It’s our hearts. If the Lord has used these awards to reveal something to you about your heart, don’t ignore it. It won’t go away. He won’t let it.
And for that I am very grateful.