Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Measure of Success

The other night, while having a nice, quiet dinner with friends, my phone dinged.  It happened to be lying innocently beside me and I picked it up, checked the email and promptly exclaimed, "A new record for comments!"

My friends (and husband) just kind of stared at me and I plastered a sheepish grin on my face.  "Well, it's just that it's exciting that people are reading my blog, ya know?"

Success.

I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be successful in the writing world.  If you put me up against, well, most anyone, I don't look successful.  I have a record of 14 comments on any one given post.  I have 19 followers.  I've been published online, but not on actual paper.  I would think that most people might look at me and think...mediocre, at best.  

Looking at the numbers, that might be true, but for some reason, I look at the numbers and shrug my shoulders.  Sure, there are days when I am a bit deflated by the lack of responses.  I submit an article and hold my breath, wondering if I'm good enough.  But I have to remind myself, if I am writing for God and His glory, all that matters is He who is greater than me.  I know that I want to be humble, but this does not come naturally to me.  Pride often rears its ugly head and I yearn to take in any accolades.  In reality, though, I know that I can only write these words because He is at work in me.  The truth is, even as hard as it is to swallow, if I only touch ONE person that has to be enough for me.  Over and over again, I must repeat to myself -- This is not about me and my worth.  My worth comes from Jesus.

When I stare out into Blogland and think, Does anyone hear me? (echo, echo, echo), I have to trust that I am just doing what He wants me to do, that I am turning these hands placed precariously on the keyboard over to Him.  And I have to be willing and ready to listen to what others are saying to me, as well.  I continually stand in awe at how amazingly blessed I am to have stumbled onto so many fabulous blogs.  I find Him continually refining me through your stories -- your joys, your heartaches, your lives.  In such the cutthroat field that writing is, I would think my natural reaction would be to view you as competition.  How could I ever stand out in such a rich talent pool?  I can't honestly say that I don't care how many followers I have -- I do.  I can't say that I don't get excited about comments -- I do.  But, I'm not trying to be better than anyone else.  I'm happy with just giving what I can offer and taking in all the other goodies that people offer me.  This is a whole new world for me and I am reveling in it.

Link up with awesome people like Andrea at Caffeinated Randomness and Rachel at Home Sanctuary.

18 comments :

  1. I am thankful I found your blog. I know what you mean when you write something and there isn't much response, or no response at all. I continually have to remind myself that I blog to bring Glory to God, and to hopefully encourage just one person. If we do that, we win!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I get ya! Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Blogland can be a hard place to be. But as long as you keep your focus on Him...You are doing your very best. <3

    What you have written needs to be a reminder to all of us. Yes pride is going to get in our way sometimes but if we come back to Him that is all that matters.

    Thank you for reminding me to bring Him glory. Not me.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am so in that same place right now. Trying to grow my blog audience to reach more "for God" and trying to keep it "about Him" and not "about me".

    ReplyDelete
  5. I understaand where you are coming from. There have been times I have posted, literally feeling like if I don't blog about whatever topic has come to my heart, I will just burst. Little or no comments sometimes follow, and I wonder why I was supposed to write that post at all. Thank you for the reminder of where our focus needs to be. Well done.

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a great post! I've been blogging for just a year and a half and what a fun, fun adventure it has been for me. I didn't even know that you could comment when I started blogging, but little by little I've figured out the ropes. But, the one reason I blog still remains, I do it for me and in the process I pray that I will touch someone's soul or bring a smile to someone's face by sharing a "snipet" of my life through my blog. Blessings abundant to you!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for stopping by today! I hope you and your hubby have fun on your date! BTW...I think God's heart is obvious in your writing....and have followed your blog in my google reader for a while! It is hard to remember, but so important....that we are supposed to do what God calls us to... and lift Him up as we do it... the response is....all His deal to worry about! We can be content to know that the God of the universe decided to use us...in whatever small or big way he decides! I feel like that truth slips away from me daily...but really it is a total perspective changer when I actually stop to think about it! Keep up the great writing!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I totally understand where you're coming from - I feel the same way quite a bit. Everyone else seems so talented and popular that sometimes I feel like a fool "trying" to fit in. But, your post reminds me that we are doing it for Him...

    I've only been blogging for, hmmm, 5 months? This "world" of blogs is amazing... Thanks for popping by my blog! I'm enjoying yours very much!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I hear ya! I don't write much on my blog as I set a limit of one day a week.(I didn't want it to take up a lot of my daily life.) Some days I do write more then once and then there are days and days in between where there is nothing. However, I love comments and when I don't get any, I start to wonder why. It is then that I have to step back and remember why I am writing in the first place, just like you!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think everybody understands what you are saying. I often remind myself with many things... it doesn't matter what anyone thinks/says/doesn't say. Only ONE opinion *really* matters!

    ~Jennifer

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ah yes, we certainly did write similar posts today, didn't we, Jen? HA!

    Remember: You Follow Me.

    You know, when I find myself slipping and discover that my pride is getting in the way or I am writing for MY glory instead of His, I take a few days off to refocus. It's a constant struggle.

    The other thing is that you ARE a published writer. Simply call yourself a writer because that's what you are!

    You have a gift. Keep writing for His glory - that's why He gave it to you to begin with. :)

    Natalie at Mommy on Fire
    http://www.mommyonfire.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. Sweetie, I think we all struggle with this, especially when we are starting out. It's so easy to get distracted by those crazy numbers. We want to know that our efforts are not in vain.

    I spoke in March about this very thing - about being comfortable in our callings no matter how big or small they are. You have such a beautiful voice and are touching so many lives you may not have otherwise. Keep in mind that only a fraction of readers actually comment, and even less on a regular basis - so who knows how many are blessed by your words each day!

    ReplyDelete
  13. It is so easy to keep looking at the numbers and wondering, but I think if it is for His glory, He will use what you have, where you are, and who you are to do great things.

    Thanks for visiting today. Yes, it has been cold here in sunny California! Warmed up a bit yesterday and today, but I'm still had to put on those fleecy PJ bottoms this morning for a bit. It has been an unusual year in terms of weather for us.

    Enjoy your weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Jen!
    Again, you have very well articulated what I have in my heart. You have the gift! I'm always blessed every time I read your post. I wish I can write as good as you....
    I have 66 followers in my main blog but I very seldom get 14 responses. It's always lower than that so I sometimes doubt my writing ability. It's good that my hubby keeps me in focus by reminding me of my goal why I blog. It's good to know that it's not a competition but it's how I glorify God in every post.

    Keep writing! I am reading you well.

    (((hugs))

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh girl...we must go out for coffee and discuss blogging/comments/worth/Jesus/competition/humility/pride. I think we could have a great conversation. I totally get this entire post.

    I'd write more, but my brain is toast, thanks to Beth Moore. I simply cannot formulate a good thought because she sliced open my heart and made me examine a bunch of stuff in there.

    Oh, and now your comment record is 15. Yay YOU!

    Blessings new blogging friend,
    Sandy

    ReplyDelete
  16. Comments are indeed affirming. The term "followers" makes me a little nervous though. I'd rather think of them as regular readers. Thanks for your comment on my post.

    ReplyDelete
  17. In a world where the superficial is easier to digest, commenting on substance is difficult. I long for substance to sharpen and refine me. Thanks for bringing substance from the hand of God to the page. His words are the bread to sustain life. You are a pen in HIS hand.

    ReplyDelete
  18. You've been to the "big blogs" the ones with 500+ followers or more, but what does that really mean?

    You know all those people don't truly connect with each other, and really, quite a few of the followers were probably gained by an "I'll follow you and you follow me" mentality.

    We all want someone to read what we write and connect with it, and I truly believe people connect with what you say here. Keep at it. When you write what is in your heart people relate, and when people relate, your followers grow.

    ps. Looks like you've hit a new comment record. Nice!
    pss You guest blog write-up is perfect. Can't wait to post it.

    ReplyDelete

Don't go yet! Leave me a note with your thoughts.