Today I am going to attempt to continue sharing my heart regarding why I’m not going to blog (indefinitely). In addition to breaking all the blogging rules about the ideal length of a post (this will be very long, your fair warning), it’s also a little scary for me.
While I want to share the beauty of the road I have traveled, I don’t want to share the ugly. But, I suppose that since both beauty and understanding can come from a tumultuous road, I should. And something I feel strongly about is being “real.” So, here goes…
I have walked 8 months through a very, very difficult time. There are several factors involved, but one of the primary ones is my struggles with despair (or others would say depression). Now, I’ve never kept it a secret that this is a tendency of mine (but I don’t tell everyone when I see them, either). I have written about it a bit and talk openly about it with safe people. It is a “bent,” if you will, that I have. Whether it is due to personality or a recurring “thorn” for me, I don’t know.
Typically, I’ll be mildly affected by little bits of this invasive despair, but it has been a long time since I have experienced it in the way I have most recently. It’s nearly debilitating. It affects everything, and it does not relent. It seems to be an impossible foe to escape from, much less to defeat outright.
Interestingly enough, I don’t think that it kept getting worse and worse and worse. The feelings of despair seemed to stabilize at a constant, but still discouraging, level. This level ebbed and flowed somewhat, but was relatively steady for 8 months. Yuck. Even so, God began to break in, and that is why I believe I didn’t continue spiraling deeper down. There was a real battle. While I didn’t feel like I was moving forward, the Lord was helping me battle against the downward pull. When you tread water, you usually stay in the same exact spot. But in order to stay there, a lot of work is being done underneath the water. In fact, it’s really tiring work and vitally important. If you quit, you’ll sink.
About two months into it, the Lord began to move in the midst of my emotional bleakness. In one night, the Lord broke in and began to change me and my perspectives. I was broken and recognized my need for the Lord to conform my unrighteousness into His righteousness through His grace and by His power. My love for Him had grown cold (in my opinion), and He was jealous for my heart.
Fast forward to this past December. I began seeing many of my prayers of those 8 months being answered. It has been quite interesting, exciting, and hard, all at the same time.
I have become extremely, painfully aware of pride in my heart. And really, this one sin is the root of everything else I’ll share which has led to the decision not to blog.
I have discovered that I love writing. It is a way for me to process what God is teaching me and to respond to Him, and to share with others. I love sharing with others things that have helped me, brought me joy, etc. I don’t consider myself a “good” writer, but I do enjoy it.
However, I’ve also discovered (recently) that it has also been an outlet for pride to be manifested. God hates pride. I believe that God does not want me to use blogging as a means to exalt myself, even if the exaltation is hidden from public view by residing only in my heart. I believe that, for now anyway, God does not want me to blog. In a sense, He is taking it away and moving me in a different direction.
I consider the need I feel to give up the blog to be both discipline from the Lord and the gracious leading of the Holy Spirit. And I am so thankful for it. The decision to cease blogging has been quite freeing. If I really want to live a life for the Lord (I do), than His glory should be my goal, not my own. He has shown me that I have been seeking my own glory through blogging (though I wouldn’t have said that was what I was doing—consciously it wasn’t). I have wanted to be known, to be respected, and to be made much of (not sure I would have said that either). Funny what the Lord sees that we either won’t admit or can’t see ourselves.
I was seeking my validation from everyone else but the One whose validation really counts.
And God would not have it. Not for His sake, and not for my sake. You see, He knows that I am most satisfied when I’m feasting on Him, not consuming more of myself. It’s what I was created for: to glorify Him, to make much of Him, to make Him known. I have not been truly happy when I have been serving myself. In fact, the last 8 months have been little more than spiritual wandering and emotional gloom (my poor husband!). God wants me to be satisfied—in Him. It’s the ONLY way I’ll ever be satisfied.
I do have to say that the smiles you’ve seen in pictures over the last several months haven’t been fake. Anyone who has struggled with feelings of depression knows the yoyo feelings that accompany it. Some days are great while others leave you feeling like pond scum. It hasn’t been constant misery.
And the praise of man is empty. It does not ultimately matter one iota if someone thinks anything of me—good OR bad—if I am walking in obedience to Jesus Christ. What matters is what the King of the Universe, My Creator, and My Redeemer thinks of me. He wants me to understand and believe that. Because when I do, I will act like I do, and my life will look very different than it does when I am busy worshipping the idol of man’s approval.
So, I see the end of this blog as a sweet discipline from my Father. He knows what’s best for me. He knows that only destruction would have come if I continued in my pride. He also knows that the only way joy, purpose, and true discipleship will come is if my validation comes from Him alone.
He is lovingly showing me that he wants to give me something so much greater. The decision to stop blogging was not initially my own. It was the Lord’s.
I want to walk in the meekness of Christ. That is not possible when I am making much of myself. Through false judgments toward me, the revealing of my own pride, and some pretty awesome teaching I’ve received, I have realized that I have not been a meek woman. I want to be meek because Christ is meek. It is the meek who are blessed.
I don’t believe that at this time, I can accomplish that goal and have an online presence, in large part because of my pride. But, there’s more to it than that.
We did not have the Internet in our home until after Tara was born a little over three years ago. People thought we were so strange. I had to go to the library, which was inconvenient, to check email or do anything else online. Later, it took about six months of deliberation before getting onto Facebook. We chose to live that way for a number of reasons. And looking back, I miss it.
I have wasted time. When I need a break or just want to rest, it’s a quick, easy, and fun way to spend my time (or was). But ten minutes leads to twenty and twenty minutes easily leads to an hour. And can I tell you the amount of time it takes me to write a post? By the time this one is done, it will have been several hours. That is time that I will never have back. That time could have been spent investing in my family and things that will have eternal significance. In the truest sense, I have been grieved over this.
The instant change I have experienced with regards to my desire to spend time online has astounded me. It’s been awesome! And it’s come, I believe, as a result of prayers not directly about being online, but about other things in my life. Spending less time online has been the answer to several things I’ve been seeking the Lord about.
So, while I got off Facebook nearly 7 months ago, I have also deleted blogs from my reader, and have blocked some from my browser. I want to help myself, not hurt myself.
But in addition to the fact that the time I have spent blogging has resulted in little fruit, it has also become very selfish. I wanted to write because I enjoy it. I wanted to write about subjects I enjoy. Me, me, me. Like sin is wont to do, my selfishness was in the process of ruining my life. Blogging was beginning to grow to be what I wanted to do more than serve my family. I began to want to blog more than I wanted to play with my children, care for my home, or look for ways to help my husband. Laundry piled up. I felt overwhelmed by neglected dishes, etc. The things God has already given me to do weren’t getting done. Ahh!
Instead of denying myself to serve my family, I was indulging myself. I realized this fairly early on and was praying for help, for a desire for my family and children—for the roles God created me to fulfill. But two competing desires can’t exist for long. One cannot serve two masters. I want to serve my Lord, not digital words and an Internet idol. For me, one of them had to go. So, this is another reason I must stop blogging at the present.
My family is my primary ministry. Right now, I have no overflow. I am in process of learning some pretty basic life skills that many people learn when they are still children so that I can be a good wife and mother. It’s taking every ounce of my effort (that and trying to teach my children these things at the same time). When that effort was being poured into the blog, it was not being given to these character issues. This is another reason the blog is ending.
I am jealous for the souls of my children, that they would know Jesus Christ. Instead of wasting my time online and exalting myself, I want to humble myself by crying out for them in prayer. I want to equip myself to better serve and lead them to Jesus. I want to invest in relationship with them that can only come by spending time with them instead of my blog reader, HootSuite, and WordPress.
The bottom line is this: I have one shot at this life. I have one opportunity to know Jesus and become like Him and to sow for eternity. I believe the more I invest now, the more I’ll reap then. The more I enjoy Him now and become like Him now, the more I’ll enjoy Him then. I don’t want to have regrets. I already do, but from here on out, I want to do whatever it takes to avoid them.
It will be costly. And I do mean costly.
I am learning what Jesus really meant in Luke 9:23-27. I want to deny myself so that I can follow Jesus, in “radical” ways. (I may be misunderstood. That is ok with me as long as Jesus is pleased by my actions.)
Denying myself earthly pleasures (even being known, respected, made much of) so that I can know Jesus and be conformed to Him, and actually hear the Holy Spirit because I’m not stuffed with the things of this world, is actually quite indulgent. It may seem sacrificial on the front end, but it is laying up treasures for the day of reaping in eternity. It may hurt some on this side of the eternal divide, but I’m willing to endure the temporal pain for eternal, everlasting pleasure.
Can I just tell you of the amazing fruit I’ve already seen over the past few weeks because of this change? It’s blown me away. And this is only the beginning!
So, dear readers, I thank you so much for your grace toward me. You have been most kind, encouraging, and generous in your comments. I am humbled thinking about what I have undeservedly received from you.
I don’t know if or when I’ll be back, but I feel confident that if I do begin blogging again, it won’t be at Domestic by Design. Who knows what the Lord will do. It might be that He has no intentions of giving my any sort of public outlet for my writing, but desires me to be totally unseen. I’m super excited about that—it’s definitely what He has for me right now.
I want to leave you with a few songs that have spoken powerfully to me during this time. Tomorrow, I’ll have a post up with a link to resources that I really believe will bless you, so do come back for that.
But otherwise, may the Lord bless you and cause you to grow in your knowledge of His love for you, and therefore, in your love for Him. It changes everything.