Okay, now what?

“Be careful what you ask for,” they say.  They’re right!

I participated in a SITS (the Secret is In The Sauce) “Comment Love” challenge for bloggers a few weeks ago.  We had five days to comment on 75 blogs and potentially receive 75 comments.  Yeah.   8-O

A week later, Embrace the Struggle had its SITS day, which showcased the blog to a large number of bloggers who visited, commented, and followed.

Part of me was exhilarated.  The other part was exhausted.  And wondering:  “Okay, now what?

ok-now-what

When I first started blogging and nary a comment appeared on my posts, I was despondent.  Why put so much effort into something that no-one seemed to want to read?  

Buoyed along by the dream of “If you build it, they will come,” I plugged away at blogging until, finally, I started receiving the responses I had anticipated.

But a funny thing happened on the road to “more.”  More interaction meant more time devoted, not just to writing, but to the other aspects of blogging.  This thing is WORK!  Clearly I hadn’t read the fine print.

I didn’t want to play the numbers game, consumed by SEO scores and Google Analytics, increasing my presence on social media in order to gain followers, and endless commenting on other blogs.

So… I’ve been noticing some backpedaling among several of my blogging buddies, and in me, too:  blogging breaks, scaled-back blogging schedules, slower response times, less social media involvement.

I get it, totally.  As much as we love the camaraderie, the friendly banter, and the encouragement, at some point we all have to ask:  “Okay, now what?”  And unless there’s an overwhelmingly compelling response, we have to pull out the microscope and examine our motives.

So, this Lent, I believe God will help me with the Love Idol lurking behind this blog:  a root of rejection that creates a misplaced sense of identity outside of God.  

I get attached to people, projects, and causes–all of which have merit–although His desire is for me to be attached to Him.

I want my heart to be sufficiently open and obedient that God can sear into it the truth that I am accepted in Him.  Full stop.  I won’t let satan trip me up with FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).  Rather, I’ll let God set me free from likes and comments and retweets and shares and follows and …

It’ll be an interesting six weeks, which I pray will be the beginning of a lifetime of being set free from attachments.  Instead, I want to attach myself, Velcro style, to the One who truly does set us free.

Preapproved 1

I’m Alison, and I’m preapproved by God.  His validation is more than enough.  He will never reject me!

Thanks, Jennifer Lee, for allowing God to birth The Love Idol Movement in your heart.  I’m excited to read  Love Idol:  Letting Go of Your Need for Approval–and Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes.

Friends, don’t sleep on this book; it comes out on April 1. 

What are you giving up for Lent, if anything?  What Love Idols might God want to reveal to you?


Comments

  1. I tried to give up something twice for Lent but could not stick through it and I was so disappointed that I don’t know if I can try again. What I will do is try to have a better attitude about things so giving up my poor attitude and having a better one. I think I can do that.
    kita recently posted..Ways to spend less moneyMy Profile

  2. I know what you mean about how much time it can take to blog!!!
    My 2 goals with blogging are to not let it take away from family time and to not let it feel like work!!
    Kim recently posted..You Take the Good, You Take the BadMy Profile

  3. I’ve been blogging since 2009 but almost quit several times due to burn out. Yet once I scaled back my posts and realized that if I didn’t show up on social media for a day, or was not able to do blog comments, everything was gonna be okay anyway!! So glad I didn’t quit.
    Psalm 127:2 is always dancing in my heart to keep my grounded. :)
    Yum Yucky recently posted..Intermittent Fasting Results: How It Works, and My Before & After PicsMy Profile

  4. Oh Alison, I’m so with you on this. I think it’s part of the reason why I’ve been struggling with writing recently. It can be so much work. There is so much I love about it but I need to find a balance. I need it to be all about Him and for Him. I just love how Jennifer’s book is touching the hearts of many. Love you!!
    Beth recently posted..Three Word Wednesday: My Lenten JourneyMy Profile

    • Love you too, Beth! It’s comforting, in some senses, to realize that others are going through the same challenges. We constantly have to get back to our motives and the #loveidols that keep hamstringing us along the way.
      Alison recently posted..Okay, now what?My Profile

  5. I hear you, my spirit jumps, I struggle with the same
    “what no comments? no one loves my writing? no one is reposting or tweeting?”
    and my heart aches
    and I’m tired of it, because I’m hurting the One Who already approves and loves each and every word I write, each and every part of the Karin He created

    we will walk through this in victory, closer to Him!
    HisFireFly recently posted..One True VoiceMy Profile

  6. Hey Alison! I was just reading Kim’s post about giving something up at Day With KT and it reminded me that during Lent people give something up for 40 days. I think she is right that doing that periodically especially when you feel like you are overly consumed by something, that’s it’s a great idea. As for me, I know exactly what you are saying about being consumed with what is going on in the blogosphere and with the attention you get. About a month ago, I had to really examine myself and see what my blog goals were and if I was going to allow any whisper from a person who is trying to make money with it influence or change those goals. I decided that my blog Homemaking With Style was created because I enjoy interacting with people and connecting with them and sharing my experiences in my life in my current roles. Making money is not involved in that at all. So page views and analytics really shouldn’t matter right? And now, I’m thankful I did that self examination because it made it easier to start observing Sabbath on Saturday when my family and I decided to do that. Now on sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, I am nowhere to be found on blog land or social media :) I am just resting with my family and enjoying other believers in a time of fellowship. I’ve cut down on how often I post too and it feels liberating because I don’t have to pressure myself to do more work than a hobby was intended for. :)
    Brittnei recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: 3 Years Ago Tomorrow….My Profile

    • That’s the key, Brittnei: relieving the pressure to perform and to be “out there in the blogosphere”. Sabbath is a countercultural lifestyle in many respects, and all good ones. We need to incorporate the concept of Sabbath in order to replenish our souls and realign our priorities with God’s priorities. Glad you were firm in your resolve to maintain the original focus of your blog.
      Alison recently posted..Okay, now what?My Profile

  7. Hi Ali! It’s so good to get priorities in line with the Lord, isn’t it? You needed to be set free, and you accepted the grace you were given to do just that. Wonderful!

    Knowing that the Lord is pleased with you should be enough. And it should be enough for me too. Best of blessings with the new book, you are not the first one to write about it! The topic is setting fires, so God is in this movement for sure. Bless you for being the torch bearer for him.

    Have a great day my friend, being open and obedient to the Lord. What more could he ask of you?
    Ceil
    Ceil recently posted..His Hands and FeetMy Profile

  8. I think we can all relate to the now what feeling as bloggers. Taking time out to reflect and spend time with God as well as finding your purpose is needed. I’ve taken several breaks over the past year, and everyone is still out there when I return. I’m working on not letting my blog consume me this year and allowing other opportunities to come about and flourish. I just did a 21 day fast with my church in January, and the time was needed to reflect.
    Sherelle recently posted..Don’t Let Changing Your Blog Niche Make You FlinchMy Profile

    • Good for you, Sherelle! It’s vital to have a listening ear, open to recognize what God might be calling us to as opposed to what the blogging world would have us do. Blogging is truly a gift from God, but it’s not too difficult to take that gift and turn it into work. That’s when the problem begins and we step outside of the grace we’ve been given to write and interact with others. The balance that we need is found as we lay our #loveidol before Him and stay tuned to His perspective, not ours. At least that’s what I’m learning.
      Alison recently posted..Okay, now what?My Profile

  9. such a good lessen to start the lenten season. a friend of mine said that for every day of lent, she would give up one unnecessary thing. love that! my lenten goal is to prepare to be the best mama ever for my baby’s may arrival.
    Catherine Gacad recently posted..Full-Proof Way to Make Money BloggingMy Profile

  10. Go girl! I can totally relate. I blogged a whole lot more before anyone ever really commented. It was easier back then too. Just to write and not care who read it or be validated by a certain number of comments. I’ve scaled way back on writing just to get around to other bloggers. Not sure that’s really being far to myself but it has given me time back in other aspects of my life that I was just running through to get back here.
    Kenya G. Johnson recently posted..LEAVE ME ALONE!My Profile

    • See! Many of us are on the same page. There has to be balance and a clear motive for what we do, or else we’ll be all over the map. Here’s where my One Word for 2014 comes to the surface again: #focus. I want to be in it, not to “win” it, as in tons of followers etc, but to enjoy it. We’re preapproved, Kenya!
      Alison recently posted..Okay, now what?My Profile

  11. I can’t believe the amount of work in this blogging business! Mostly, I enjoy it and catch up on the overflow on the weekends. Often, I just devote a lot of my days to the kids. I have to!
    I don’t do Lent in my religion (or lack of one) but I like Kim’s idea of how sometimes it’s nice to give up something at any point in the year. It was food for thought for me.
    Wishing you a peaceful and spiritual 40 days! (or is it 40 nights? both?)
    Tamara recently posted..Adele Dazeem, Or In Other Words, Happy Blogiversary!My Profile

    • LOL, forty days and nights, I think, Tamara. I’m not Catholic, but many family members are, so they go deep on Lent. Me, I’m just hoping to cut back (ideally, waaaay back) on bread, my Achilles heel, and really getting a better perspective on what drives my issues re: blogging. As someone else said earlier, when it becomes a chore, it’s no longer fun to blog. I want to stay in the fun zone!
      Alison recently posted..Okay, now what?My Profile

  12. Obviously I didn’t read the fine print either girl! That’s how they get ya. LOL

    During Lent I hope you receive everything you desire in the way of an emotional, mental, and physical awakening!
    Kesha Brown recently posted..Words Worth A Thousand PicturesMy Profile

  13. This post reflects the grace in which you walk Alison – wisdom and willingness to wait. I’ve blogged for a year now and to say its time consuming is an understatement. I’m working this year to set goals that prevent blogging from consuming my life. I love it and feel led to be in this space, in this time….but I have to be careful. It’s funny because I noticed the number of comments you’ve been getting recently and thought to myself “how does she keep up with that?” I was going to reach out to you privately in hopes you’d reveal the secret. Lol.
    The inherent praise-seeking and longing for attention produced by blogging is a sure killer of joy. That kind of attention should only come from God. Because otherwise, we, as humans, don’t know how to handle it. Keep it light. Keep it happy. Seek only his approval. Let’s keep each other accountable friend. This was brave. Can’t wait to read Love Idol.

  14. Me too! I see people getting their pre-ordered copies of Love Idol, Lisha. I’m a Kindle girl, so I want to get it on my Kindle rather than a hard copy, but I might get some hard copies as gifts for friends as well.

    Re: the comments when the numbers were up high a few weeks ago… after a while it became a blur. The thing is, there are people I’d really like to follow as a result of those comments, but I haven’t had the time to follow up on them. So there’s a certain tyranny to the increase in interactions that isn’t particularly enjoyable, at least to me. I marvel at those who stay on top of it all and respond to everyone and genuinely engage everyone. It’s a skill. Not sure that I have it… or want it!

    There’s an appeal to the “what about me?” part of us in this new frontier of blogging. Everybody’s hawking their goods in the blogosphere. It’s sort of contrary to what we’re called to as Christians: us decreasing as He increases. Hence the need to backtrack and really check ourselves out in the mirror of the Word. Is He getting the glory, or are we? That’s what this #loveidol smashing will be about for me.

    Indeed, let’s keep each other accountable, Lisha!
    Alison recently posted..Okay, now what?My Profile

  15. I don’t observe Lent, but I think it’s good to give something up that you may rely on too heavily. It’s good discipline, and a great way to refocus on what is important to you. I can relate to the crazy commenting of SITS day, and I’ve stopped doing blog hops in an effort to relieve some of that blog “work.”

    Your loyal readers won’t reject you if you post less, comment less, tweet less. We’re here because we like to read what you have to say, however often you say it.
    Dana recently posted..Insider tips for your Disney vacationMy Profile

    • There’s the word for me, Dana: #focus on what’s important. I hear you re: dropping the blog hops. They are work, and sometimes the return on that work is negligible. Thanks for the encouragement, Dana!

  16. I have been reflecting a lot on blogging lately and although I’m by no means well-known it does feel like it was easier when no one really knew my blogging space existed. I want to get back to that place of freedom of my early days. I’m learning that blogging is cyclic and God always has away of prompting me when I veering off the track He has set for me.
    Wanda recently posted..The Friday Five: Knowing Your Beliefs, Who You Are & That You Are LovedMy Profile

    • That’s the word, Wanda: freedom. As much as I love the interactions, I find it becoming a bit restricting re: my time. It’s a delicate balance. I want to hear from God what direction I really should take. As you said, He will prompt us when we’re off course.

  17. Blogging – I’ve almost closed up shop a few times. But then I remember if it weren’t for my blog I wouldn’t be writing much and writing helps me process life.

    • Melanie, yes, it does help us process life, so we do need to keep that in mind as we weigh whether we should stick with it or call it quits. Thanks so much for visiting!

  18. Beautiful post! A few weeks ago I participated in the comment love tribe with SITS as well, and it was overwhelming! It took me a while to get through the comments and to really check out the blogs that I liked. But with everything going on, it’s not the way I wanted to spend my time.

    I love writing and sharing peices of me, just not at the expence of my family.

    In our quest for more we realize that less is best.

    • That’s some pure wisdom there, Kalley: “in our quest for more, we realize that less is best.” And it applies across the board, not just to blogging.

  19. Yes! I am one of those people scaling back. How can I do all the things I need to do if I’m attached to the computer? Besides, you need to do to write. You need to love to write. You need to laugh to write. You have to live. Then you blog. As always, I appreciate how that you bring those thoughts of God back into my life. He never goes away but He doesn’t always get the attention He deserves. Which is all of it.
    Carla recently posted..Goals…What Goals?My Profile

    • Carla, that’s the rub: without living a full, well-rounded life, there’s nothing to blog about. It all comes down to perspective, motives, and mindset.

  20. Oh Alison!!! You KNOW I get every single part of this post!!!! I too, am constantly trying to figure out where God wants me- and how to balance it all- amidst the HOURS UPON HOURS of blogging…

    But here’s the thing- if we are called to ‘this place’- then I surely will be God’s voice in ‘this place’ and call it my ministry on line. I have a purpose and a passion for it. So I tread the waters carefully and prayerfully… in hopes to idolize Him and only Him in doing so.

    My Lenten devotional is coming tomorrow- and I pray it speaks to the many souls that don’t know Him. THAT is my mission. And every single blogger I engage and connect with is important and worthy of my attention, and HIS love. That’s how I see it. :)
    Chris Carter recently posted..The Writer’s BreathMy Profile

    • I do believe that that is your mission, Chris. It’s stamped on each and every post you write. It is a fire shut up in your bones, as Jeremiah described his calling. God will breathe on what we write when we consecrate it, and its results, to Him. I’m excited t read your Lenten devotional!

  21. Congratulations on your SITS Day! You ARE preapproved by God. After all, HE declares, in HIS word, that you were made in HIS image. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

    Blogging is quite different than I thought it to be. I really believed that Christian bloggers would play fairly. You know, comment and support others who are in the same game. I often comment on blogs. However, many bloggers do not return the favor. It has been an eye opener for me. There seems to be so many little “I’s” and big “U’s” in blogging – as with almost anything else. I’ve learned to stay in my lane, albeit discouraging at times. I’m grateful that I have a space to share and write even if I don’t always receive comments and visits.

    Thanks for allowing me to comment on your blog. During this Lent Season, I have been focusing on healthier lifestyle changes.

    • I hear you, Trinity, especially about the eye-opening aspects of Christian blogging. I guess the wheat and the tares must grow together, even in the blogging world! But you’re right, it is discouraging sometimes. At first I was quite dismayed, but now I’ve just learned that it’s like real life: you click with some people, and with others, no matter how you try to engage them, it’s a lose-lose situation.

      I always respond to comments and try to return the favor whenever I can. Some weeks, I’m just too wiped out and have to bow out, just to maintain my sanity. It can be a bit of a whirlwind, this blogging business.

      Hang in there, Trinity. What you do matters. To each of us who ready Transition to Victory, it’s a blessing and there is always a word in due season.

      Hugs, Ali

  22. I will be scaling back as well…but honestly I think people think that I am behind the computer all the time. It could certainly seem that way….I post a lot, I comment alot and I maintain a blog. This blog for me is a bit of a business so I keep it going. I find ways to cut corners and still have a life though, I travel to events often and most nights im vegging out at home. I think because I do a lot on my commute to and from work, it might look like a lot more than it is. Anyway, I say ALL of this to say…unplugging is good for the soul. Not letting the blog world interfere with the really world is so so important.
    Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama recently posted..5 Ways to Stay Mentally Engaged In Your Healthy Living GoalsMy Profile

    • You get a lot done, Nellie, and you’re to be applauded for that. I know it must take a toll, hence the need to veg out. That’s important, that balance and rest in the midst of all that you juggle. I’m excited to see what God will bring to me during Lent as a means of getting a grip on the many things that vie for my attention. Unplugging? Yes indeed. I am making it my business to have more time to socialize and just have fun, face to face with others.

  23. This was such a lovely post I thank you for writing this. I agree with what you said I feel the same about blogging. I am a writer first so that is way my passion lies NOT in numbers. It did and sometimes still a numbers games because i need exposure but I really really don’t want that to be why I am doing it.

    Great post.

    • I agree, Ola. If our perspective is that of creating compelling, quality writing, numbers shouldn’t mean anything to us. But we’re human, so that desire for acceptance will crop up from time to time. Thanks very much for your kind comments!

  24. There is a lot of work in blogging and while I don’t want to scale back on my blogging or commenting or social media, I am always looking for ways to work smarter. I do disappear from commenting here and there but because I keep my faves in bloglovin, I can catch up on those most important to me when I have time. I do try to comment every day but I can’t always get through everyone I want to visit in one day.
    Michelle recently posted..Microsoft Store Opens at Westfarms MallMy Profile

    • Working smarter… that’s a huge part of the answer, Michelle, as well as spacing out (pacing) our responses and our commenting on other blogs.
      Alison recently posted..WaitingMy Profile

  25. I had to fall back from blogging because time is a precious gift that I need to use very, very wisely. I launched the blog as a means of practicing and creating published works so that I could freelance write. I know that I must keep it going, but again, time is precious and the devil knows how to use it against me. I love the message behind this post about being pre-approved by God. Excellent.
    Andrea recently posted..Prom Nostalgia: JenJenHouse Prom Dress ReviewMy Profile

    • Thanks, Andrea, and I understand fully re: time and its scarcity. It takes a wise woman to discern where her time is going and channel it in the right direction!

  26. It’s been a long time since I’ve given up anything for Lent. I hadn’t thought about doing anything this year. I’m thinking about it now. Hmmm…
    Cam Bibs and Baubles recently posted..A Case of the Blah’sMy Profile

    • Last year I gave up all unnecessary Internet activity, and it was really freeing, Cam. At first I hadn’t thought about doing anything, but along with using the time to really let the Lord inform me re: next steps, I’m doing without bread until after Easter. This is huge for me, as I’m a breadaholic!

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