This whole post–this is just one major confession of where my heart is at. It is part of something that has been going on deep in my heart, behind the screen, in the secret places of my journal and my faith. And I’m not sure where it will lead and where I go from here, but these are the words that I feel compelled to write.
Honestly, there are days when I just want to completely delete my Instagram account. Where I just want to stop putting energy into sharing bits and pieces of my life in squares. Annoyed that there is even effort involved in it–and often, so much more than that. This whole world of being a writer and a blogger and a creative entrepreneur has taken its toll on my heart, and I am so thankful for the ways that God gently works in our hearts and helps us to see all the areas in which we’ve strayed. How we’ve taken His beautiful gifts and turned them into something that they were never meant to be.
I want to be that girl again–that girl that simply ran to her journal day in and day out. That spent hours putting pen to paper in that secret place, digesting all the wonder that God had been doing in my life, and simply documenting my life journey. That felt zero pressure about sharing it with the world and wondering what others would think about it and if they would be encouraged by it, because there were no others. Just me and God and the lined pages of my journals. Faith in the secret places. It was pure. It was no pressure. It was real and raw and intimate and special, and I want that back.
I miss the days when I had a blog and no one knew about it. It was merely an extension of what I was already writing in my journal–each post written with my journal on my lap, just pounding out through the keys and going to deeper into things that I was already writing. It was a place where I ran to simply to share the things that God was teaching me. It was an outlet. A place to share my heart. It was secret still.
Things have gotten so off kilter. This whole online world and the sharing of my heart has turned into something that I never wanted it to be. Social media is both a blessing and curse, and I have deeply felt both sides of it. Even the world of blogging has changed so much since I first started mine six years ago, but I have also changed as well. And I don’t like what I am seeing right now. I don’t like the person that it has made me. I’m seeing so much how I have lost pieces of myself to platform building that it’s made me forget why I even started sharing my story online in the first place.
I am a writer, through and through. Words and telling stories and reading others are essential to who I am. To how God has made me. I can figure so much out about my heart and about the world through the tip of a pen or fingers on a keyboard that I can’t experience anywhere else. From the moment I came to Christ, my relationship with the Lord flourished through written words. That’s when I started journaling to begin with–as a fifteen year old girl just coming to know God for the first time. And those first journals are filled with a beautiful innocence and a special kind of worship as I approached God like a little child that just couldn’t get enough.
Since the very beginning, the words that I wrote became worship. Pure and total worship of my God and King. A beautiful place to run to God, to discover what it meant to be a follower of Christ, especially as a teenager who felt like she was walking so against the tide of everyone else my age. It has always been my place to wrestle with all that I am going through in my life. I’ve always been able to truly figure out the depths of my heart by writing it out, and have always met God right there–in the tip of the pen. That’s what my writing always was. Worship. Something special between God and me.
Faith in the secret places.
But somewhere over the last few years, that has changed. And it is has been slow and subtle and I didn’t even realize that it was happening. This blog of mine that was nothing more than an outlet and a place for me, myself, to share what God is doing in me has turned into something I never meant for it to be. The more that I learned about blogging, the more it became this romanticized sort of thing. This idea that I could do this thing that I was doing anyway–writing–and also make money from it. Turn it into some sort of business.
There are so many bloggers that I know and love and respect who have made a career out of it, and at times I have so wanted to be that. But I think in trying to make a business out of something that I love, I have lost my first love of writing in the process.
My priorities have gotten so out of whack, and it has changed my relationship with God most of all, which I absolutely hate. This thing that was so pure in the beginning has turned into something completely wrong. I used to run to my blog in complete and utter excitement to share the things that God was showing me in Bible study and what He was doing in my life, and in time that turned into studying the Bible in order to have things to share about on my blog. And believe me, there is a difference.
Lately in my quiet times and as I read the Bible, one of the biggest things that I have been wanting and feeling and saying to God is that I want to come to His word to truly experience Him. To read the Bible in complete devotion, and not just to acquire knowledge. To come to Him in complete worship rather than putting in my time and paying my dues as a Christian.
There have been so many moments of my personal Bible study time that even as I have been right there, in the midst of God’s word, that my mind has already been so focused on what I am reading and how I can turn it into something to share on Instagram. Which is disgusting and so completely wrong, and also tremendously sad. And truly, I have no one to blame but myself, which is the hardest part. And I don’t even fully know how I got to this point, but I do know that this isn’t where I want to be. So focused on pleasing others that I’ve forgotten that the only One I am actually accountable to is God.
I’ve bought into what the industry has told me I’m supposed to do. I started an online shop because “that’s what bloggers do.” I’ve worked hard to curate a beautiful feed to try to increase my following to build the platform all the publishers say I need, because even though they like my writing they won’t take a chance on me unless I already have an audience. Because suddenly the words themselves are not enough. But I have lost what makes writing so enjoyable to me in the name of building a platform. And that’s not how I want to live. I don’t want to live a life just so it looks good in Instagram squares. I don’t want to live a curated life.
I have been working so hard at this for years and have invested so much of myself into it, but for what? Because mostly I feel so exhausted and drained and so completely tired of trying to keep up and follow all the social media rules that I have been taught and it has turned so much more into producing content than the original beautiful thing it was, which was just an outlet and a special place to share about God. It turned into striving and chasing after a following, and made me completely forget that first and foremost I am meant to be a follower of Christ.
And to be honest, I am not really sure where to go from here. I don’t know if I am meant to just walk away from all these different ventures completely–my blog, my Instagram, my online shop–or just completely overhaul how I do thing. There is a part of me that feels so free at the thought of just stepping away completely. But I do know that I can’t keep doing this the way I have been doing it. That I can’t make it about pleasing other people. I just want my writing to be worship again, and nothing else. A place where I am bursting to run to and share all about God–not learning about God so I have something to share. I want to approach Him in complete and utter worship again. To get back to a true and genuine faith. And writing for God and for myself and no one else. Which means going back to basics. To my pen and the lined pages of my journal. To faith in the secret places.
And that is the thing about secret places–there is no striving there. No reason to perform. No one to try to impress. All pretense is gone and I can lay my heart bare and throw it all on the table in front of this audience of One. It is where genuine faith is born–where no one else is looking. With eyes that are focused solely on God.
Because striving ceases in secret places.
So maybe I’ll be back soon in this online space or maybe I won’t. There is a lot that I am still wrestling with in my heart. But for now, I need it to just be God and me alone.