Monday, September 3, 2012

Getting Out of the Boat

Since I attended the Beth Moore conference last week, I've had lots of things running through my mind.  You see, even as I was sitting listening to her teach, I was thinking about what she was saying and how it related to this space here - my blog.  I found that there were some things which she talked about which I could relate to how I conduct things here.

If you'll recall, she said that We need to become more honest versions of ourselves...we need to get honest to be blessed.  She also shared that We cannot walk in our full birthright as part fraud.  Those points struck me deeply.  I don't think I'm a dishonest person, but I think if we're being honest, I don't think that anyone can say that there isn't something they aren't sharing with people.  I think we've all got something hidden deep within us that we aren't proud of or aren't willing to share.  While we aren't necessarily being deceitful, we are hiding who we truly are in a sense.  In turn, this prevents us from receiving all that God wants for us.

It's really the "part fraud" part that hit me.  I'm not calling anyone out at all, but, again, if we're being honest, I think you'd agree that there is a lot of deception in the blog world.  It's not done by people who are intending to be malicious.  It's not even blatantly obvious much of the time.  It's subtle, but it's there.  Who here hasn't photoshopped a picture to give off the best image of ourselves that we want the world to see?  Who here hasn't talked about our weekends without cutting out the parts about where our kids threw tantrums for hours, driving us to rip out our hair?  Who here hasn't spent the day in their "comfy clothes", hair thrown up in a ponytail because it was so much easier than trying to put together that "perfect" outfit for the day?  The stories we share are indeed true, but we often hide something in the process of telling the stories.

There's a lot that I'm seeing out there and, consequently, much more has been swirling around in my brain. Beth spoke specifically about how social media promotes this falseness that we tend to portray.  It's like it's no longer ok to just be who we are - we have to project an image of ourselves which is perfectly staged so that no one can see any of the blemishes that exist in our everyday lives.  Social media encourages this competition and perpetuates the fraud.

In addition to projecting the perfect image, there's also the matter of which bandwagon to jump on.  There are so many.  Which to choose?  Which ones will take you where you want to go?  Is the one you're on a means through which you can positively convey your message?  Or is it the coattail you're grabbing on to as a means to get you somewhere higher?  Are you grabbing on because you think there's something in it for you?  Or are you truly sincere in what you are doing?

I have struggled for the past several days about this post.  I think that the message is so important.  We need to be true to ourselves.  We need to stop it with the coattail grabbing and be real about who we are.  But I struggled because I don't want to offend anyone.  Everyone has their own style and we are all certainly free to write however or whatever we want.  I struggled with whether I should even write this post.  Then I saw this tweet:

Joyce said perfectly what it was that has been on my mind!  We are a community of individuals.  It shouldn't be about people-pleasing.  If we're truly being honest, then we should be honest in our writing.  We don't necessarily have to write about all of our messes but we can be real that we actually have them.  We don't have to be picture-perfect all the time.  Everyone who blogs is not a professional photographer - we shouldn't have to compete with each other to be a pro.  Let the spirit lead you to capture whatever images you want and go with it!

We're individuals with amazing ideas and insights.  We're all here with a purpose in mind.  We shouldn't become a community of heel-grabbers.  There is nothing wrong with helping to promote other bloggers - absolutely not.  That is a way to help built community.  This is one of the reasons I cut back on my sponsor spots.  I can't honestly promote 40+ swaps.  I don't have enough time in my day to read 40+ blogs.  But I can help to promote 10 or 12 swaps.  I can also help to get the word out on a reduced number of larger ads far more easily than a larger number.  It want to be better at trying to build people up.

So much focus is put on the numbers.  Stats somehow dictate how good a blogger you are.  The number of followers you have somehow dictates your status in the blog world.  The more elevated your status, the more I see people being idolized.  There's nothing wrong with being a popular blogger, but I think people really need to be cautious.  I am sure people don't want to hear this but I have heard it said that anything you hold up high that is not God is an idol.  We're all people.  We happen write.  I have a really hard time with the "celebrity" status I see sometimes.

When I began this blog, it was a means to share the blessings in my life during a season which was particularly difficult.  Then there's the life experiences which I have been able to share with you.  I don't in any way think that I'm an expert in anything.  Seriously, I'm not an expert in anything!  There is a lot to be gained by sharing our experiences with one another, though.  My experiences might strike a chord with someone.  Someone may actually be touched by something I wrote.  But it's more than that.  I might be blessed in return by someone's heartfelt comments.  It's not a one way street.  I would love to encourage dialogue here in the comments or even via email.  I'd love to keep the discussions going and build community that way.

I don't know if I know what my ultimate purpose in life is, but God knows.  God has a plan for each and every one of us.  Whether we are going through difficult times or not, God has good things and abundant blessings in store for us.  I know that when we are not honest versions of ourselves, we can't possibly fully realize these blessings.  I know that I want to have the blessings that God has for me, so I will keep working towards that.  It's a difficult journey and there are so many ways to make mistakes along the way, but the promises of God are so worth the effort!

Won't you join me in trying to consider how you can be the best version of yourself you can possibly be?  Won't you join me in getting out of the boat and being your own YOU?

Have a very blessed week ahead!

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.  {Philippians 1:6, NLT}

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