Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Removing expectations for my blog and just writing from the heart

photo source
Can I be honest with you?

I feel like I have lost my voice....

....my writing voice that is!

Everytime I have sat down to write a blog post, nothing has come out. Until today that is-when I decided to be honest.

I have put it down to burnout but I think it's more than that.


As I have been pondering on all that 2012 will hold for me, the thought of quitting blogging has crossed my mind more than once. This space that I call Princess Warrior Lessons is just another blog in amongst the thousands of blogs. But to me it is so much more.

It is here on my blog that I shared quite transparently about my struggle with depression, and my journey to overcome the darkness.

It is here on my blog that I shared how my journey of learning who I am and to take off the masks that I have worn for years, learning exactly who I am.

It is here on my blog that I shared my journey into homeshooling and my struggle I have had with God asking me to be 'just a mother' in this season.

It is here on my blog that I have connected with so many women and developed authentic friendships.

It is here on my blog that I have shared how I could say with all honesty that 'I am Beautiful' and discovered what true beauty really is.

It is here on my blog that I disovered that I have a gift of writing and that my gift encouraged others.
It is here on my blog that I have learned how to fly....

It is hear that I am learning to live in the unforced rhythms of His Grace....
I have found such a freedom in expressing who I am on this blog....it has become an extension of me.

Until it became something else...
Somewhere along the way I got caught up in stupid stuff....

I received an email from someone in USA asking me if I would be attending the next Blog Conference (yes, I know they have them here in Australia too). I thought that she must have not noticed that I lived in Australia, so I pointed out that fact to her. To my surprise, she knew that and thought that I would make the effort to fly across the ocean, costing me thousands of dollars to attend the conference. Madness? Maybe. But it appears that blogging is big business these days.

I started to read blog posts from other 'successful' bloggers (whatever that means) on how to well.....blog. 'Content is King' was the catch cry. 'Blog often otherwise you'll lose followers' was another. I tried to keep up with what other bloggers were doing and started to strive. I listened to these 'experts'. And when I did....I no longer enjoyed my blog. It became a job. Another thing to add to my to do list. I put expectations on myself to produce quality blog posts (whatever that means). I worried about whether it was inspiring and encouraging enough. I started to blog for an audience....instead of for me.

Author John Acuff shared this photo on Twitter last week and it spoke to my heart...

I have a dream to use my gift of writing and I believe that He will (and is now) using that gift. But I am trying to make it happen in my own strength. I have stopped relying on Him. In a twisted way, I have thought that my writing was more important than it really is. My job is only to point people to Him. Only He can truly change people. I forgot momentarily that I am only a forerunner paving the way for the Messiah. I am not the Messiah.

I have been shouting "Hey! look at me. I can help you. I have the answers.", instead of whispering, "Hey! Look at me. Look at how He has changed me. Look at how He loves me. Look at the grace He gives me. Just ask Him, He'll give it to you too. I don't have all the answers, but we can journey together."

I have beat myself up internally for not finishing the series I began May 2010 called 'Overcoming Depression'. I was a slave to my own expectations. Everytime I have sat down to share how I overcame depression,  I didn't know how to put it into words. I know that my journey of depression, and how I overcame it will look very different to anyone else's.

The truth is, the way I overcame depression sounds way too simple, you may not believe me. Here is what I did. I made a decision each and every morning to trust Him to pull me out of the darkness. That simple. Was it easy? No. Did He pull me out? Yes. Was it really that simple? Yes. It all comes down to a choice. I chose to believe that He could, and would free me from depression, and He did. Was it instant? No. It took nearly a year from when I first decided to trust Him.

I am going back to basics with my blogging. Back to why I started blogging in the first place - to articulate all those thoughts in my head and to express myself. I'm going to remove all expectations I have put on myself in regards to blogging, and just share my heart, like the good old days.

So if it's OK with you (or even if it's not OK), I am not going to write for you...I'm going to start writing again for me.



Still taking lessons from the King,






36 comments:

  1. Go for it Jo! The siren song of "success" can be very seductive, I know exactly what you mean ...

    I am really really loving doing my Friday Files series on my blog. Do I get many comments? Many readers? Any applause? No. But I'm having a blast so I'll keep doing it til I'm not!!!! LOL

    love Janet xxx

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    1. Thanks Janet. It's nice to know someone gets the seduction of a "successful' blog! xo

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  2. i was reading this nodding in SO much agreement. I have felt much the same way about my blog/writing. Love that note. so true. wow

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  3. Dear Jo, I love your honesty. In fact it's what attracted me to your blog in the beginning. Sounds like a great start to 2012 - letting go and being free to be you! I say go for it! Mel. xx

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    1. Mel, you are always such an encouragement to me. In fact, the same thing attracted me to your blog- your authenticity! xo

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  4. Blogging can be such a roller-coaster of emotions. I start drowning when I compare myself to others. In reality, I'm such a little fish - but when the comments flow from readers, there's no doubt it feels good and I sometimes think I'm bigger than I am. I've had to rethink my "why's" as well. Thanks for the encouragement.xx

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    1. Such a roller-coaster Deb. Yes, I agree. I have felt really big with lots of comments and the opposite without them. Drowning is a good description of what I feel when I play the comparison game. xo

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  5. Jo! I have been struggling with exactly this for the past few months! It's like you took the words right out of my head. The note really struck a chord with me. Perhaps my problem is, I don't know what the dream is? I know I'm not a writer, I don't feel the need to write. I do love to share. And one of my biggest flaws has always been, and still is, that my need for positive reinforcement. I thought I'd grow out of it eventually, but here I am at 43, still waiting for the comments.

    This is a great post, thanks for giving me something to focus on.

    And sorry for the long winded comment! :)

    PS....I can see 'reply'!!! YAY

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    1. Thea,I only have just allowed myself to dream last year. I would tell people, "I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up!". But in reality, I didn't want to dream because dreams require risks, and that could mean failure. It was the fear of failing at anything, or not being as good as anyone else that stopped me from daring to dream.

      I see you have a passion for (and are good at) photography. Maybe you could dream of taking amazing photos? It doesn't matter if you're not the best. Whatever your do allow yourself to dream and take risks. This is when you feel most alive!

      I too still seek validation (or approval) from other people at times. Although when I see myself the way God sees me (which is the way you see your child in awe, and marvel at just how amazing they are!), my need for approval diminishes. But as soon as I forget that, I seek man's approval again and get on the 'comment to validate me' treadmill. (If that makes sense.)

      PS - I am so happy that we can reply in Blogger!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  6. Jo ~ You go girl! You have been such an encouragement to me and now that I have started blogging it is another blessing to me that through your complete honesty that I am able to learn through you to not lose site of why I too am doing this. I loved that note. How powerful!!!
    I started this journey to not please anyone except my family. If my blog encourages others it is because God touched their hearts. I am going to continue to come back and forth to this post as a reminder to not get caught up in the "blogging world" to where I lose the focus of why I started on this journey.
    You are an amazing writer and God is using you in some amazing ways even though you may not see it right now. You be "you" and we will continue to be here cheering you on in even that harder days that you think there aren't words for.
    Sorry for the book!! Big Hugs... even if they are going through the cyber world and across an ocean.
    Heidi :)

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    1. How great is the note? Love it. Very powerful. Heidi what is your blog address? I want to come and visit you!

      Thank you so much for the encouragement. You are always like a breath of fresh air. Thank you so much for being such an amazing cheerleader for me. (I think I will need to re-read this post regularly too, to remind myself.)

      Thanks for my cyber-hug xo

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  7. Of course it is ok for you. You SHOULD write for you. I do and it scares the heck outta some people. I have lost members but I gained more. When I censor my thoughts or myself, I am unhappy. God is always reminding me that "We are not earhtly beings having a heavenly experience we are Heavenly beings having and earthly expeience."

    You touched my hear SOOOO much the other day. I cried and cried. I could tell you were listening to the spirit and it spoke to me. Me my hert. Why because it came from your heart honey and I knew it. That is why I commented Tahnk you.

    I miss you when I don't hear from you, because being a child of god is hard and having and knowing other women of faith is harder. But JPW is out there and I may not know her IRL, but I know her in my heart because she knows God in hers.

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    1. I know, I know, I know Trisha!! I started off just writing for me, but lost my way...but I'm back on the right path now. So grateful for His grace.

      Oh Trish, *tears* when I read that I have touched your heart. I love it when Holy Spirit puts something on my heart to share for someone else to be encouraged. (Thank you for commenting!)

      Love the sisterhood around the globe that I am a part of. Love that we share the same heartbeat - His heartbeat. xo

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  8. I love this post!
    I have struggled with the same questions, as you know, about blogging.
    I often wonder why I do it, and then I realise I've forgotten the dream in the midst of trying to fit in!
    Thank you for being so transparent, and honest - it's why we all love you! xoxox

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    1. Glad to know that I am not alone in my struggles. So important to ask 'why?' isn't it? Love you too xoxo

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  9. This is FANTASTIC. You go my friend. It's funny...it blogging for you...He is going to use that to touch other's hearts and let them know they are not alone. Journeying together. It's a beautiful thing.

    So glad your voice is coming back.

    Jon Acuff posts things often that get me to thinking that one you posted is one I really liked too. Because he spoke such truth. In the last 2 years I have learned to question why I do things....and if the answer is for applause or anything to that effect I know I am not doing it for the right reason.

    It's why I now enjoy blogging again. I write because I am compelled too. Words fill my heart. Creativeness fills my heart and my blog is my way for those things to spill out. And I enjoy it. And will enjoy it even if no one ever reads it again. <3

    This post is a great Princess-warrior lesson for us all! :)

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    1. It was amazing how freely the words flowed again when I didn't care who read them and what they thought of me. Feels so good to blog from the heart again.

      I write because I am compelled to, too. I get that!I love words and the power they hold. I think we enjoy it because we are using our gift form Him - it is what we were born to do. xo

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  10. HI Jo ~ I am so glad you're back to blogging again...for all the right reasons. It's easy to get caught up. I'm not a writer and without GOD giving me the words I don't have much to say. HE has always asked me to be transparent in my writing. I am not so in person. When I started following you I noticed that you were and that drew me here. It's good to read what the LORD is doing in the lives of other believers. It lets everyone know that if HE can do it for you...HE can do it for me. Keep blogging and be transparent. The LORD works through you! I'll keep coming back.
    Blessings to you...Chelle

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    1. Chelle, it feels so good to be transparent again! I felt like I was in a prison when I put expectations on myself and worried about what people would think.

      Thank you for your encouragement. Back to being transparent for me. I agree, when we are transparent and share our stories, there is a sense of, "Hey, He will bring me through this, because look what He did for her." xoxo

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  11. Hoorah and hallelujah! Praise God for His mercy and grace. I hope and pray that you enjoy your new found freedom. May God bless everyword that comes from your keyboard. xx

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    1. Thank you Nicole. I feel so free...didn't realise what a prison I had put myself in! Thank you xo

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  12. Hi Jo!
    Go for it! I'm sure I'll enjoy reading whatever you write:)
    I have always blogged for 'me' and no one else:) It's my online journal of some aspects of my life I choose to share to the www.
    Having said that, it amazes me that people actually read my blog and comment lol!
    It's good isn't it to have a clear goal and stick to it, it's very freeing! Have a great 2012!
    love
    Rosemary

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    1. Rosemary, I really want to have a cup of tea with you one day xo

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  13. Thank you again for sharing your heart, Jo. It is wonderful how the Lord uses our foibles and confessions to reach others. I continue to be taught as I read your blog. It is too easy to be "seeking the approval of man" ... not the Lord's. The photo quote from John Acuff is so convicting. Bless you, Jo!

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    1. Tracey, I always love when you stop by. You are a constant source of encouragement. xo

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  14. I have to be honest and say I don't read a lot of the blogs I used to because they were too um 'bloggy' for want of a better word lol. A monday this and a tuesday that and a link up for this, and while some of that can be fun, I don't have time for random, meaningless stuff. The blogs I still read are the ones where people just write what's on their heart, where people are real and where they are sharing their journey with others, which is why I love your blog dear Jo!! And as for the directive to 'blog often', I find that many people who do actually don't have much to say, I prefer quality over quantity and you have plenty of that :-)

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    1. I'll take quality over quantity anytime. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. They mean so much to me Carolyn. xo

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  15. Was skimming through old blogs I've bookmarked and found yours. This post really spoke to me in that I have been trying to write for the past year and I can't seem to do it. When the Lord nudges me to I can but other than that I cannot. Lately I've been stressed over being able to write new material since I have, totally via God's provision and not mine, some of my work being published soon. I feel this pressure that I need to write new material and every time I sit down to do it my mind goes blank. I keep feeling that it'll happen when God says it's time. This is very hard to hear even though I've heard Him say this time and again and even though I've learned so often His ways are best. The world , and ourselves, pressures us for moremoremore nownownow but God does not work like that . It's all in HIS timing and not ours. We are to be vessels used by Him for His glory and not ours. Sadly though my flesh and insecurities and fears speak louder than that still small voice.

    I'm still learning to trust Him and it's getting better but I'm not at that place yet. Your post here just re confirmed what the Lord has been telling me, to trust and rest in Him. Thank you for sharing with the world your struggles and learnings. It's helpful and God uses it! : )

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    1. There is so much freedom in listening to the God whisper isn't there as opposed to writing for an audience.

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  16. It's ok with me! Write for you. I'll still love you! xxxx

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  17. Linked here from "Transformation" to tell you that I liked your comment over there. And, I like this post a lot. The best writing is what comes from within. It is honest and real, which is what the world craves (or at least needs) today. Good jog. I'll read another post or two.

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    1. Thanks Warren. So great to have you here. I hope you liked having a look around. I appreciate your encouragement!

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  18. I'm visiting from a friend's blog


    (http://bibletreasuresandpearls.blogspot.com/2012/03/sharing-some-links.html )

    She had you linked up as a site to see. I have been experiencing the "burnout" lately myself and my blog has really changed direction from when I first started.

    I'm trying to not take it too seriously, and just write as I am moved to by something.

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    1. Hi Ma!
      Thanks for stopping by. I am doing the same - just writing when I am moved by something. It removes the pressure and expectations.

      So nice to 'meet' you.

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts on my lessons!

I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

Love,
Jo Princess Warrior xo