Sunday, May 27, 2018

The Underbelly of Blogging * Misplaced Focus

Listen to the voice who calls you the beloved,
because otherwise you will run around begging
for affirmation, for praise, and for success.
And then you are not free.
-  Henri Nouwen  -


  
Truth be told, an unspoken focus of blogging {and much of social media} is to gather an ever-expanding crowd of enthusiastic friends, fans, and followers around ourselves.

This validation allows us to feel visible, accepted, effective ... and to believe we're soaring upward toward whatever goals we've set for ourselves.  

For those of us who are prone to craving recognition and endless words of affirmation or battling an insatiable need to belong, the result is often feeling 'less than' when all the glory doesn't pan out.  For this misplaced yearning for approval and acceptance leads to an unsettling up-and-down, round-and-round twirl akin to a merry-go-round on steroids.  

If the kudos and complements are coming our way, we're flyin' high.  But when the accolades are sporadic, fading, or few, we begin to question our effectiveness, our giftedness, our worthiness.

Bottom line?  If we become fixated on humans to define our value and unwittingly allow ourselves to be held hostage by the whims and opinions of others, we will always end up disillusioned because praise will come and go, transient like late winter winds.  

The Apostle Paul shared a simple, powerful 8 word message to the church in Corinth that still speaks bold truth to us today.

We make it our goal to please Him.
-  2 Corinthians 5:9  -  

Imagine the peaceful, purposeful freedom that comes to our creativity, writing, and online connections when we find our complete identity in Jesus Christ.  We become able to generously pour out all that God has given us with no agenda except to bring Him joy and to encourage those He brings on our path.  We're not looking to others to satisfy our insatiable cravings because God has called us His beloved and we believe it, even as we're learning what it looks like to daily live out that unfathomable grace.

Let the beloved of the Lord rest in Him.
-  Deuteronomy 33:12  -

And if and when the applause comes from those around us, we quickly release every bit of it right back up to Him, with great delight and sheer gratitude.  For He is the one who gave us anything of value we passed on to others.

*

also in this little series ...


*

grab a whole bunch of hands-on tools ... 

and yes, I'd smile if you'd share this post 
with your blog community
and social media gang




*

48 comments:

  1. This hits the nail right on its head, Linda. Years ago discovering that verse about being "accepted in the Beloved" solved any major self-esteem problems I had. But there's a frequent battle for contentment when there are no responses to blog posts and such. And as I am reading more and more about what's required to publish anything bigger than a blog post, the need for platform, and followers and such, it seems like that side of things could took up so much of one's life. Thanks for highlighting those parts of those verses and reminding us where the emphasis needs to be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't imagine how difficult this is to navigate for those who are aiming to publish, who need their blogs and social media accounts to put food on the table and a roof over their heads.

      This, a difficult balancing act, yes, Barbara. Only by His grace can we do this whole social media thing well. And what works for one might not work well for another.

      Thanks for kicking off this dialogue ... most of us find ourselves in this picture in one way, shape, or form!

      ;-}

      Delete
  2. AMEN, SISTER! HE is enough!
    Great post!
    Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
  3. You hit on a sensitive subject Linda. Not just in blogging but in life. Living for accolades is a horrible way to live. I know. I did it for way too many years. When i stopped living for people to like me, I was able to become a better leader, a better friend, a better husband, a better father, and a better follower of Christ. I no longer lived for the approval of others. Misplaced focus it is for sure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, it's a sensitive subject, and hopefully I've put the cards on the table in a way that's respectful and not offensive to anyone, Bill. Thanks for letting us know that freeing yourself from people pleasing has real life benefits.

      The old life was such an albatross, wasn't it ...

      Delete
  4. "If we become fixated on humans to define our value and unwittingly allow ourselves to be held hostage by the whims and opinions of others, we will always end up disillusioned because praise will come and go, transient like late winter winds." Beautifully stated, Linda. If not done for His glory, blogging (along with anything else) is futile. It's not about us, it's about him. Blessings to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Praises to the One who's given us this privilege!

      Delete
  5. I just try to tell the truth of life in a kind of hell, that grace is a choice.

    If people like it, fine. If God likes it, fine. All I can do is write this stuff.

    https://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2018/05/your-dying-spouse-477-my-reason-to-live.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You show us how to do this faithfully, sacrificially, honestly, Andrew.

      Praying for you even as I respond ...

      Delete
  6. So interesting I would read this when I did - just after chatting with a friend in Messenger that I was a "words of affirmation" girl.

    How did you know? *smile

    As a blogger, it does hurt when what I think is a praiseworthy blog gets no comments. Thanks for reminding me who I blog for! If I've told the truth as He has revealed it to me, and I've done what I felt I was called to do, encourage others; then I should feel good about my efforts.

    Thanks for this word!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Takes one to know one!

      ;-}

      I love how the conversations with your friend and here have gently collided today, Jerralea.

      Such a God thing ...

      Delete
  7. Doing for Christ instead of 'likes' and 'comments' and other skewed success stats sure takes the pressure off doesn't it? It's unfortunate to see that the message seems to be that you need to build a platform more than you need to actually be good at what you do! I know that sounds extreme yet a so-so baker can post a really nice altered picture on Instagram and get lots of likes even though her/his cakes may taste terrible! lol! This is such an important message Linda. I loves Paul's simple statement you shared. Our Christ-centred goals, being our best through His strength to develop our skills and how we present them to a hurting world as we serve Him and His creation, and becoming more Christ-like as we go, is a very contented journey indeed. I haven't reached it yet--and know it's a life long journey for sure. Thankful for God's redeeming grace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm with you, Lynn, still very much a work in process. It's good to know we're not alone in figuring out what this all looks like ... and there's a real joyful grace in inviting each other to be honest about the nuts and bolts of this challenge.

      Makes you realize how much easier life was before social media.

      {Or not.}

      ;-}

      Delete
  8. So.very.true, Linda! This something I've struggled with from time to time. But the Lord reminded me that my mission is simply to be faithful and not necessarily "successful"--at least by human terms. Thank you for this wise and eloquent encouragement to focus our passions and efforts on the Lord rather than on garnering our next follower or subscriber. Hugs to you! And I hope you and Tim are enjoying a Memorial Day filled with sweet family and loving memories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the gentle nudge to remember that the goal is to be faithful, and not necessarily successful, Beth. So clearly put ... maybe we should write that not only on our hearts, but on the wall directly in front of our computers ...

      Appreciate that wisdom, friend.

      Delete
  9. You are spot-on, Linda! May all our accolades be redirected to God's glory, giving Him the thanks and praise in all things, knowing we are His beloved, and that's always going to be enough.
    Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
  10. You’ve touched a tender spot within, Linda. It’s good to re-examine the scars even as it seems they’ve been healed. All is grace today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, this is a tender subject for many of us. For lots of reasons which re-emerge from time to time.

      Grace and peace to you, Debby, when those tender scars are touched.

      Delete
  11. Linda - you said it clearly "to encourage those He brings on our path". You will never know who God leads into your path. They might want to comment on a blog or they might not be ready for that. They might be sitting in a meeting beside us but never let us know how our words or actions affected them. We are called to share our faith with others - their response to it is up to the Holy Spirit working in their hearts. We just need to continue to be faithful to what He calls us to do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point that it's seldom that someone checks in with us and says, 'hey, look at me, I'm on your path!'

      Maybe we'll be surprised at who we'll meet and the conversations we'll have beyond the pearly gates, huh?

      Delete
  12. Living loved is something that I am finally understanding. It involves all of my life not just blogging. But it is still a struggle at times. Thanks for your reminders of who it is all for.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Living loved.

      I love the way you put that.

      He calls us beloved. What could be more assuring and priceless ...

      Delete
  13. Thanks for this gentle and wise reminder, Linda. I love this verse in connection with writing: "We make it our goal to please Him.
    - 2 Corinthians 5:9 - " This gives me permission I need to let go of writing, blogging, and posting when I need to walk peacefully with Him. As HE leads.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is one of my favorite verses, Betsy. For all us former people-pleasers, it's been our salvation, our lifeline, our freedom, our sanity.

      ;-}

      Delete
  14. This is so, so well said.
    "Imagine the peaceful, purposeful freedom that comes to our creativity, writing, and online connections when we find our complete identity in Jesus Christ. We become able to generously pour out all that God has given us with no agenda except to bring Him joy and to encourage those He brings on our path. "
    YES to that!! (And to all of it)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thank you for this little series. It seems we were thinking on a similar wavelength with our posts this week. Bigger is not better and God is the One who will always be in our audience. I love your wisdom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so excited about your wonderful new opportunity, Mary!

      Hey, y'all, come join in the fun on Tuesdays at her place
      http://marygeisen.com/small-is-the-new-big-and-an-announcement/

      I'll see you there!

      Delete
  16. Amen! Whatever we do, we must do for the glory of God. Thanks for sharing, Linda. Blessings to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's been fun to meet you this week Boma ...

      ;-}

      Delete
  17. Linda,
    I've recently taken an unintentional break from blogging and you know, it was refreshing. No self-induced deadlines to publish. Not looking to see how man view or comments there were. It was time well spent just being in God's presence and refocusing my attention on Him and the ministry He has called me to. Blogging is going to have to take a back seat and I will post as the Spirit leads, but it will be good to step off the merry-go-round for awhile. Though I do love the community of bloggers....like you. Great post!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those unintentional breaks are sometimes the best, aren't they, Bev! Great recalibration, that needed refocusing on what matters most. I'm still deciding what to do in June.

      'Yes please' to posting as the Spirit leads, to be watching for His call to different pastures.

      I'm with you, friend ...

      Delete
  18. Wow, Linda, this is exactly what I needed to hear! I have been so focused on "building a platform" that I forgot it was about His glory, not mine. In the last few days, the Lord has been reminding me that we are called to trust and obey, and leave the outcome to Him. Thanks and blessings for your candor and wisdom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love what you said about leaving the outcomes to Him, Alice. And building relationships, one comment, one encouragement, one visit at a time sure beats building a platform ...

      Delete
  19. Love this.

    Found you on Holly's link up.

    So blessed by this.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thanks for this, Linda. I work hard at maintaining a yardstick that measures faithfulness rather than "success" (whatever that is this week!), but it's definitely a conscious thing, so your words are very helpful and inspiring.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You said this -->'"success" (whatever that is this week!)' ... and I think that says it all.

      Meanwhile I love that yardstick concept, Michele. Faithfulness is our watchword, isn't it ...

      Delete
  21. Ah, Linda ... spot on again! It's all about motivation, isn't it? Are we gathering a community because we love to encourage people, or are we building a platform because we want to feel loved ourselves? Am I writing to share a message or to validate myself? I've definitely felt the tension between growing an audience and being who God made me to be in this online world. I was eventually convicted that I simply need to do what I'm comfortable doing (which isn't much, honestly) for now. For me, that means if I ever write another book, I need to write it first and THEN think about the platform. I have no idea how that would work, but that seems to be the way the Spirit has led me thus far. I love this conversation, my friend ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, right on Lois with these questions -->'are we building a platform because we want to feel loved ourselves? Am I writing to share a message or to validate myself?'

      Because they are ones that I need to revisit repeatedly. And you make me happy knowing I'm not the only one.

      Appreciate you ...

      Delete
  22. 2 Cor. 5:9 - amen! I've had to check and recheck myself several times in this area. To God be the glory--for all of it. I'll be sharing this on fb. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sending your FB friends this way, Kristi ...

      It's been fun!

      ;-}

      Delete
  23. Amen! I literally just wrote about this very thing! The Spirit is speaking! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't you love when that happens?

      Glad to have you here, Rebecca ...

      Delete
  24. YES! thank you for this... I think we all need to be reminded of these truths on a regular basis...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ain't that the truth!

      ;-}

      Good to see you out and about again, even from afar ...

      Delete

Dear Reader ~

Technical glitches happen.

* sigh *

Doesn't seem to be a place to leave your comment? Or your comment doesn't show up within an hour or so?

I'd love if you'd email me your contribution ... I'd be delighted to hand post it as soon as possible.

lindastoll @ juno . com

My apologies. And thanks for the grace ...

Linda