I have quit a lot of things in my life.
I quit swim team (twice actually)
I quit piano lessons
I quit karate
I quit the MDiv program
Quitting is not something new to me. I am pretty well versed.
Most bloggers give up on their blog 3-6 months of starting one. I am in the midst of that block and getting ready to tap out and add something else to my list of quitcomplishments.
I originally started this blog in response to my job. I spend my days reading and editing sermons and articles and working with very creative people. Because I am constantly surrounded by and interact with some great writers and thinkers it has sparked in me a desire to respond. Have you ever read something or had a conversation with someone that just lights a fire inside you and something has to come out? That was the motivation for this blog, a place where the stuff that welled up in my heart could come out.
That sounds super noble and spiritual huh? I’ve been trying to write three posts a week on a variety of topics and ideas to bring a broad spectrum of people here. I started to write and read and talk with people about how to get people to read this thing. While it might be good for me to get this stuff out, if no one is reading it what’s the point right? So I began to get really into checking stats, watching page views, viewing analytics. Trying to develop SEO elements to get the most eyes on my site. I have flooded my friend’s Facebook timelines promoting the blog. How can I get the most eyes on my site became my focus and desire. This escalated quickly.
In a sermon I heard last week (at Destination Church, come check us out) Matt Sweetman preached about how we view our careers and work. What’s our motivation? What is driving us in our work? I’ve thought a lot about this idea in regards to this blog. Originally my motivation, the driving thing was just to get out the things God was putting on my heart. I am a verbal processor and so writing is a good way for me to work through things I am thinking about feeling. My motivation was just to produce something, create something that people might enjoy and might be challenged by. If nothing else it would help me.
Pretty soon my motivation centered around getting as many people possible reading my stuff so that I could, in turn, use that for something else.
Maybe I can get a speaking gig out of this. It’ll help me with trying to get a future pastoral position. Someone might read this and want me to guest post for them, or be on a podcast.
All of those things are fine but they were not supposed to be my main motivation. My main driving force very quickly stopped being responding to what God was doing in my heart and instead it became what can this do for me? I quit.
I am not quitting entirely. I am still reading and interacting with creative people and want a place to process through things and challenge and encourage others. Instead, what I am quitting is the nonsense of checking page views, being so concerned with how many people are reading each day, and getting so wrapped up in producing content that this stops being fun. God’s gonna use this just like he uses everything else, the way he sees best. So if someone is supposed to read a post he is going to make that happen, my focus on SEO is not going to control that. As usual, I have been reminded I’m not in control.
I like doing the Monday devotionals, those might continue. If I find something funny online I’ll post it. And when I have something to say, I’ll say it, not because I need to but because I want to.
I believe that even if God gives us a passion for something we can turn it into an idol if we aren’t careful. I know this to be true from my own life. I enjoy writing and God has given me certain things I want to say but by getting away from trying to become a blogger I think I will more accurately be able to say what he wants me to.
This is the part of the post where I am supposed to have a call to action, or something to spark discussion so here it is: be careful with the gifts God gives you. Don’t let the good stuff become God stuff in your life, it will get messed up and ugly, and it doesn’t take long, it took me about 4 months. God wants to do stuff through you and has given you the gifts and talents to make that happen, how are you using them?