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Tuesday, March 5, 2013
A Peek Into the Life of a Marriage Blogger
It’s been close to a month since I posted here. Did you think I’d never post again? Well, for a while there it came really close to becoming reality.
I’m going to share the story of my journey with God over the past month. I share it in the hopes that it will speak to some of you who find yourself discouraged and overwhelmed by your circumstances.
Here are the facts: My day job has had me traveling more than I’ve been home for the last six weeks. And when I am home, I’ve been scrambling to meet some hugely challenging deadlines. In addition to work, all I had left has gone to giving my marriage and family the support and attention they deserve. To top it off, during February I had my three week stint leading worship at our church
Long story short: the stresses all added up and brought me to a breaking point. I decided I just couldn’t do it all. Something had to give and I decided it was my marriage ministry. I was ready to quit this blog and marriage ministry in total.
But God wouldn’t let me quit. Something with it just didn’t sit right in my spirit. Yes, I did feel some relief (okay a lot of relief) from not having to spend every waking minute trying to figure out how to squeeze in blogging, writing, emailing and social networking time.
But when I actually imagined walking away from it all, there was a crushing sadness in my soul that I knew it was not of God. That’s not how he works. So I decided to seek him, and I told him I would do whatever he wanted, but he had to make the way clear.
I prayed a lot as I traveled about the US and the globe. I got nothing for weeks on end. Then just this week the Lord started to lead me across a few simple yet very important truths.
Truth #1: I Am Enough
I was really struggling with a sense of failure and inadequacy over not being able to do it all. Ever been there?
Then Lori Byerly (aka The Generous Wife ) shared a post that showed up in My Facebook feed. It was a post by Holley Gerth, whom I had never heard of and who I’m convinced God had write a post just for me called “You Can Embrace the Ordinary.
What if our life doesn’t matter? What if what we do doesn’t really count? What if no one recognized our efforts? We panic and strive and end up exhausted.
She (and God) had nailed me. I had promised myself when I began writing that I would not drink the “celebrity” Kool-Aid. I wouldn’t let my strong desire for impacting marriages drive me into platform-building mode.
But slowly, over three years of blogging, I got sucked in. I began paying too much attention to the many ways in which bloggers measure success (pageloads, followers, comments, likes, etc). The numbers started mattering too much. I slowly slipped into platform-building mode. I began to gauge my success by numbers.
The thing is, that’s not how the Kingdom of God measures success. As Holley’s article concludes, “But here’s the freedom: you don’t have to strive. You can embrace where you are right here, right now and know that it is enough. You are enough.”
Then, through my wife God also led me to a teaching by Eric Johnson called “The Box.”
Among the many striking things Eric had to say about how we view ministry, the one that hit me between the eyes was this:
Ministry is Not What You Do, It’s Who You Are
I couldn’t NOT be in marriage ministry, because it’s who I am. It is something the Lord put inside of me.
God did not call me to be a “successful blogger” or published author or to build a platform. He called me to minister his truth to marriages, to speak what I find is on his heart for Christian couples everywhere I come across them. It might be in a small group in our church; it might be across a table at Starbucks; it might be to someone in The Philippines looking for an answer on my blog.
The where and how are God’s to figure out. My part is just to do the next thing, resting in the assurance that I already have his approval and blessing and that I do not need to strive for it in my own strength.
Now, that isn’t exactly easy for someone as driven as I am, but I am convinced it is the right way – the only way - forward.
When Something Has to Give
The other thing that struck me from listening to “The Box” teaching, is that I need to be careful about my preconceived notions of what marriage ministry has to look like.
When we try to put a box around our ministry and define it too narrowly, we limit how we let God move.
So when I came to the realization that I had to give up something in order to survive the current madness, I realized that what had to go were my assumptions and expectations.
So here is my grand plan for marriage ministry: let go, let God and stop striving.
I appreciate your patience in the near term while I try to figure out just how this new blogging paradigm will unfold. Stick around and enjoy the journey with me.
What about you? Have you ever felt at the breaking point and unable to do all you felt you were “supposed” to be doing? How did God break through to you? Share your story in the comments.
photo credit: jayfish / 123rf.com
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