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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.”

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 /


Paul Byerly said...

"Ministry is Not What You Do, It’s Who You Are"

Yes and amen. You are called to this, and I know you do it all over the place in small ways as you travel. I love what you do here, and pray you will be able to do more of it again in the future, but I have no fear you have sold out!

Unknown said...

I agree with all Paul said, above. You have my prayers and support, Scott. You've zeroed in on many things we all struggle with in this virtual ministry.

Beth Templeton said...

Excellent post Scott. The truths you shared are ones we all need to embrace, whether we blog or not. I hadn't really thought of it as koolaid, but that spoke to me too-- the measuring of success, or meaning even, in the response. Not helpful. It's a subtle thing how we shift our focus from the Lord and His leading us to the call itself-- I mean to the thing we are doing in response instead of focusing on Him primarily. Thanks for your ministry!

Chronic Marriage said...

I loved this post Scott! As a fellow marriage blogger, I can relate to a lot (OK, EVERYTHING)you just wrote. Thanks for being transparent and vulnerable and for having the courage to speak from your heart. I look forward to seeing how God guides you on this journey.

Anonymous said...

This is such a timely post for me Scott, ty for sharing your heart. Seriously, I've not stopped today and I knew something was up when I started berating myself for actually sitting down to eat my lunch - and just look out the window - and nothing - but --- eat! Normally, I eat on the run, between answering emails, loads of laundry, walking dogs, going to the gym (I puree my brekky thro it in yogurt and call it a smoothie)reading other blogs, FB and Twitter, and researching for my own blogging, etc (you know the drill).

Anyway, I decided to cut myself some slack; ate my lunch on the couch while watching Chopped (I'm a foodie) - I was able to identify with you and thanks for that!

Scott said...

Thanks to everybody for sharing your similar experiences and your encouragement. Grace and peace to you all!

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