T

he really fine folks at DaySpring have been thinking of you
and have asked me if I might invite all of you wonderful people, readers whom we think about, pray for, truly love, to come join us for Part 3 of the closing keynote at
The Relevant Blogging Conference

Read / Listen to Part 1, Read / Listen to Part 2

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To listen to a recording of today’s third instalment of the closing keynote at Relevant:

RelevantClosing.Pt3.Pt6
RelevantClosing.Pt3.Pt7
RelevantClosing.Pt3. Pt8
RelevantClosing.Pt3.Pt9

How Might Christians Blog?

I

have blogged the stories of my agoraphobia and my parent’s divorce and the dark secrets of my childhood.

The stories of my intensely painful mothering failures, and how I have damaged my kids, stories of my selfishness that has wounded my husband.

And I have lived bare on a screen and it has hurt and it has been terrifying and blogging in the upside down kingdom is not about you and glory – but about sacrifice and come lay down and die.

How is your blog not about you, but taking you lower? How is your blog not about you, and making you humble? How is your blog not about you but about Christ?

Because the only platform we as Christians can mount is an altar where we lie down as a sacrifice.

Pluck  your stories from your breast.

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And we blog as sacrificed servants who, like our Lord and Saviour, expose our own wounds, lay our real hearts out naked, and be vulnerable and humble and willing to be made an offering. In the upside down kingdom the only way up is down and there is no other way to be great and this is always the call of Christ in our life, to come and die and this is always our vocation, to be a servant.

Dying on an altar is the way we live in the upside down kingdom and we are a success when we serve because service is worship and this is what we were made for: Worship.

1. Blogging as Avodah

Do you know that in Scripture the word for service, art, worship is the very same word: AVODAH….your blog is service, your blog is art, and your blog is worship and we have these labels for the bits and pieces of who we are and what we do. But God takes up the all the threads of being and weaves them into a seamless silk. He calls it avodah.

Work as Avodah

“The Lord God took the man and placed him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15). We read the translated word “work” and think that is what God meant for us to do. The Hebrew word is avodah. It is the same word in Exodus 34:21, in the writing of the Ten Commandments, “Six days you shall work….”  Six days you shall avodah.

Worship as Avodah

Exodus 3:12 reads: “When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.” We read “worship.” In Hebrew, the word reads avodah.

Service as Avodah

And yet God Himself calls us to even more than work and worship. Deuteronomy 10:12 records the question and answer: “So now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? Only to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” We read the English translation: to serve. The Hebrew original: avodah.

Art As Avodah

We work. We worship. We serve. But there’s another integral element to our identity as human beings, the part that we’ve inherited from our Father who can’t stop creating, producing designs, dreaming beauty. 1 Chronicles 28:21 refers to these innovative, imaginative efforts: “The divisions of the priests and Levites are ready for all the work on the temple of God, and every willing man skilled in any craft will help you in all the work.” The English text renders it as craft—creative acts, the arts—and God whispers again: avodah. He emphasizes his singular loom by whispering avodah twice in this one verse: work and craft are both expressed as avodah in the original Hebrew.

The ancient Hebrews even used the term avodah to describe the sacrifices offered in the temple. And that is the key. To live a fully devoted, interwoven life, we must see everything as a sacrifice to God…

When we see our lives as a sacrificial offering unto the Lord—avodah—our art becomes service and our service becomes work and our work become worship.

(To read this piece on Avodah in it’s entirety at The High Calling)

I am messy and you, my sister in Christ, I need your words and I need your stories, I need your avodah, your work, your art, your service, your worship to God so that I can worship God….

2. Get Free of the Numbers

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You need not be a gifted writer — you only need make your words a gift.

To Him.

In the upside down kingdom, you serve so you are not a slave.

When you are a servant to God alone, you aren’t enslaved by the masters of this world, self, status, satan. In the upside down blogging kingdom, we blog to serve God alone so we are  released from the bondage of numbers. And in the upside down blogging kingdom, we do not keep taking our own David-like census. David took a census, assessing his strength, his Worth – in numbers. Instead of turning to GOD for His worth, instead of trusting God for His strength – instead of trusting in God for God to do whatever God wanted with Him, David took a census and checked the numbers. Are we like David taking a census every time we check the numbers? Does the checking of sitemeters also break the heart of God? Can we simply trust God to do with our blog whatever He wants, and not go tallying up the numbers?

I say this to you, a quote a friend found somewhere and sent to me: To do things no one else is doing, you can’t do what everybody else is doing. To be an upside down kingdom blogger, we can’t do what everyone in the secular blogosphere is doing.

In the upside down blogging kingdom we commit to set our sights on God and not sitemeters. And in the upside down kingdom of blogging the only number that matters is One:

The One who has called you

The One who is your audience

The One who gives you your gifts and the

And the One to whom you give the gifts back to…

All that matters is the Lord God who is One.

I say this to quietly to the blogosphere:

Jesus Himself had only 12 followers.

And He lost one.

So if Jesus had only 12 followers… how many followers do we really need? If God Himself had only 12 followers and He lost one — would you blog for even one follower?

It matters to serve One. In the upside down kingdom, One is the one you serve, not the readers. Because, as I wrote in a book this past year:

When service is unto people, the bones can grow weary, the frustration deep. {Why don’t they comment? Why don’t they subscribe? Why don’t they link?} Dorothy Sayers agrees, “whenever man is made the centre of things, he becomes the storm center of trouble. The moment you think of serving people, you begin to have a notion that other people owe you something for your pains . . . You will begin to bargain for reward, to angle for applause.”

When [blogging is to serve people, we think we] are due some appreciation. So comes a storm of trouble and lightning strikes joy. But when Christ is at the centre, when dishes, laundry, blogging, is my song of thanks to Him, joy rains.

Passionately serving Christ alone, makes us the loving servant to all.”

~One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

Simply blog as to serve God alone, as your avodah, your work, art as worship, and you are liberated from the bondage of praise, power, and people-pleasing.

It’s the striving that makes us slaves. And in the upside down kingdom, it is service that releases us from slavery.

3. Are you Willing to Surrender Self?

Esther de Waal wasn’t a blogger but she wrote words that are blogger’s words and these words might echo the hidden, secret pulse of every blogger who’s ever hit publish. She writes:

It is so easy to play the world’s game which is the power game, the game which depends on setting myself apart from others, distinguishing myself, seeking the limelight and looking for the applause.

I find that it is only too easy to become compulsive in my continual need for affirmation, for more and more affirmation, as I anxiously ask Who am I? Am I the person who is liked? Admired? Praised? Seen as successful?

My whole attitude towards myself becomes determined by the way in which others see me. I compare myself with others, and I try to emphasize what is different and distinctive about me. The three temptations which Christ faced in the wilderness are equally my temptations: to be pertinent. To be spectacular. To be powerful.

Am I able, like Christ to put them down?

Am I prepared to shed all these outer shells of false ambition, of pride?

Am I ready to admit that the mask is a disguise put on to cover up the insecure self? And the armor a shield to protect the vulnerable self? Am I ready to receive a new self, based not on what I can achieve, but on what I am willing to receive?

~Esther de Waal

Might I ask you: Are you willing to surrender the numbers to the One?

Might I ask you: What is keeping you from blogging upside down? What is one thing that is keeping you from being an upside down kingdom blogger?

And might I ask you: What do you need to receive from Christ? And stop trying to achieve for self?

How can you surrender achieving… and embrace receiving?

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Might I ask you: To enter into the quiet and still our hearts and listen to the Holy Spirit — He alone will tell you what is keeping you from being an upside down kingdom blogger. He will tell you what you need to surrender. He will give you one thing to write down…

________ is keeping me from being an upside down kingdom blogger. I surrender _________

Will you consider laying down that one thing that is keeping you from all God intends for you to be as woman, as a blogger? And in a few moments of quiet — will you write a prayer of response to Jesus?

Lord God… forgive my ______________________. Please help me to _______________.

After several minutes of listening to the Spirit and responding to Jesus…

4. Good Enough to Carve?

The word “write”, it comes form Anglo Saxon word writan, which meant to score, scratch or cut. Writing was something you did with a knife. Carving the words out of wood. Like the way lovers carve their name into a tree. And this is what you do as a writer, you cut words out of your breast, and you sacrifice bits of yourself and like  the Word God who carved our names into the flesh of His hands to save the lost, you write-carve out of the tender places of your life to show the lost the way to Him. Pluck. Sacrifice. Carve. Write!

But maybe you are sitting here thinking, I am a mess and I am not good enough. I can’t write well enough. I don’t make art with words. I can’t carve.

And I tell you this story, a story of our son Levi, our Levi who doesn’t think he can carve well enough.

Levi, he comes to me and he shows me a wooden spoon he’s carved and he asks me if it’s perfect, twenty times he asks me it’s perfect.

I laugh wonder at his work, and I ask if he really did all that and he nods and I say yes — it’s perfect! —- because that is what I see and outside the window — I can see them and I count — 13 golden finches, winged suns. They flit about the feeder.

He keeps tracing the grain of the wooden spoon in his hands.

“Is it really perfect, Mom? What could I do to make it really perfect?”

He’s carved it himself.

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I feel along its smoothness and I know that, the wanting, the longing, the yearning to do whatever it takes to make it something beautiful, right, perfect.

What do I have to do here to make things perfect… better? Someone, please, just tell me how.

He’s standing in a square of sun holding the spoon. He’s tracing the waving bands of summers that were before he was, the underlining of years long before he knew light and bird and breath. He traces what he’s carved with his own hands. He feels his way around curves. (Isn’t that the authentic work of art — to guide around the curves when life’s not straight?) I watch him hold wood. He traces time’s lines. I reach out and run fingers down the length of the spoon. Silk. To me, it does all seem perfect.

I smile and I tell him again that it is, yes, perfect and he has done excellent work and he has stewarded a gift. And it is as it always is.

It’s up to him to believe. No one can ever make anyone believe.

He says it quietly, tracing the lip of the spoon, then looks up, searches me, eyes beseeching.

“Do you really like it?”

I don’t know why it is so hard to believe that our work is any good. Why is it so hard to believe?

I lean down, cup his face in my hands so that our eyes can find each other, so that our eyes can lock. There. And then I whisper.

Make a dozen, a hundred, a thousand. Cut down a forest and carve out a million. I’d fill up my house with your carved wooden spoons, right to the ceiling. I can’t get enough of your spoons! I never want you to stop making and creating and doing your best work and I think what you do is perfect and grand and wonderful.” He’s grinning now.

And I speak it right into his eyes:

I think you are perfect and grand and wonderful.”

He shifts his eyes downward and his cheeks flush embarrassment in my palms and he scuffs his feet awkward and that is why it’s hard to believe that our work is any good.

Because we don’t believe we are any good.

But what if God does?

God wears a lens and His name is Jesus and it’s His Grace that makes Good and Right and yes, makes Perfect, and in Jesus, He really likes us, loves us, adores us and He longs to say to the child He loves, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” So yes, just be faithful and just keep making, right up to the ceilinged sky.

“You’d really like me to carve another spoon?” Levi’s eyes dance too. I can’t stop grinning, wildly nodding my yes. I touch his spoon again, the grainy dipper, all the emptiness it holds and I can feel my hunger — like his. I feel along the spoon’s enfolding edge. I am cupped. When we create, we are nourished and we are fed.

When we create, we’re like Creating Father and this is good and we are good. Made Perfect in ChristThis is what He sees. Out the window, the sun of finches blaze and feed.

And the boy holds his spoon high and he announces dreams.

“I’ll make you two!”

5. What can Keep You?

I pray tonight that you have met the Spirit of God in the story, that you know why the upside down kingdom needs your story. I pray you will be filled with the Holy Spirit and you will make art with your life, telling us the truth in new ways, and I pray your work, your art, your service is your spiritual act of worship – your one-piece avodah to God. He who is ONE, and that is the only number Who matters in the upside down kingdom. I pray you every success – to simply be a servant because this is greatness… and the you will go to the next level – and in the upside down kingdom — that is down.

I too am a mess and I leave you with this:

Do not let anything keep you

from flinging out into the streets, eyes and mouth full of His wonder,

to pant it in the marketplace

the back alleys, the front fields,

across the crackling wires

that you have seen Him, yes, you have seen,

and with these very eyes,

and you hear it even now,

the rocks crying out

and you cry it out too, stammering it, stumbling it

into every willing ear

that you opened your eyes one day and ran right into Him

and He ravishes and He kisses wounds and He serenades

and Beauty has branded you,

marked you with awe

and awe is why you grab the keyboard and make the record,

and He who is Beauty is why you carve it down late, day after day,

and He makes the pulse race and He brushes the tear clear and He cups the life tender

and He is why you hurtle over the high fear

and disparaging words can’t keep you and splaying shortcomings can’t keep you and illness, piles of work, constant to-do lists can’t keep you,

and He is your blaze and He is your burn and you cannot be muzzled because what can separate from the telling once the eyes have seen?

Because what could be greater than

the bearing witness

to the sighting

of God?

Your stories bear witness. Please carve a thousand.

May we close in a word of prayer?

6. A Blogger’s Prayer

Yahweh, You alone are my God, not Google

Jesus, You alone are my Savior, note site meters

Holy Spirit, You alone are my Comforter, not comments….

So be it, today, yesterday, and every post to come.

This is my prayer I have made on earth and over this keyboard…

Let it be ratified in heaven.

Amen.

::

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To freely reprint A Blogger’s Prayer:

Click over to here to download the prayer and then print

Related posts:

Why Bother Blogging: Being an Upside Down Kingdom Blogger: Part 1

What is Real Blogging Success? Life as an Upside Down Kingdom Blogger: Part 2

Next Tuesday: Holley Gerth, my roomate at Relevant, and I are continuing our late night talks about blogging from the conference, in an ongoing series of letters to each other on our blogs. Trying to figure out how a Christian should blog? … We’d love for you to join in on the conversation too!

::::

Q4U:

Tell us about your journey as a Christian blogger. What’s working? What isn’t?

How can we pray for each other?

Photos and Text: Ann Voskamp @ A Holy Experience

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  1. 2

    Powerful words Ann, and words I needed to hear tonite! Thanks!!

  2. 3

    I’ve been struggling with my blog, but maybe that’s the problem. When did it become *mine*? I started writing in obedience to Him. I’ve wondered if He would call me to quit during this new, busier season…But maybe, just maybe, I’m more afraid He will ask me to continue…

    Thank you for reminding me why I started writing. Oh, so simple, yet so profound. Only One is worthy of worship!

  3. 6

    Oh my gosh. Ann, I am speechless. I need to read and re-read all these beautiful words that are speaking directly to my heart. About an hour ago, as I watched my post go up on someone else’s site, my first time being featured as a Guest Blogger, I said a prayer: “Lord, help me keep my eyes on you, and resist the pride that so subtley wants to take root.” Thank you Lord for this answer to my prayer and specific guidance for my heart.

    • 7

      Leslie, may God continue to use you with such a heart hard after His… beautiful!
      That our eyes would stay fixed on Him and not turn to the left nor right.
      Only by His grace…

  4. 8

    Wow! Just wow! Love this. I want to be an upside down kingdom blogger!

  5. 9

    Ann,

    This is a beautifully written truth and challenge you have “carved” out for the rest of us. I think the social media explosion has created this frantic over-kill of connection and numbers and online connections and can’t-get-away-from-it-ness. It’s like our generation has just discovered paper money, and we’re printing it by the droves, and buying a million things we don’t need, and feeding our greed . . .

    without realizing that just because we have the money, doesn’t mean we should use it. And without realizing that when we print up a trillion dollars, just because we can, doesn’t mean it has the value we assume it does.

    With that said– I think , honestly, the “purpose” of a blog comes into play, too. While a Christian blogger always, always needs to be laying-everything-on-the-altar for Jesus, if there is an underlying intent of making money as a job, as a way to stay home with your kids or provide for your family, then doesn’t there need to be a bit of “business building,” too? And in order to enable you to have time to write, do you need to “play the game” of encouraging your reading audience to grow {giveaways, etc}?

    Is your blog a Ministry, a Business, or Both {somehow}?

    I guess the Both is where things can really get tricky. But, always, always, always,

    it comes back to the heart. And WHO comes first in it.

    Thanks for your voice directing a look Vertical in a world looking-horizontal.

    • 10

      Laura, I don’t think our paths have crossed, but I love your comment; mine will be coming below but I just wanted you to know I appreciate your questions and perspective :) .

      (And I love the phrase “a look Vertical in a world looking-horizontal.)

    • 11

      Laura, fascinating metaphor, thinking about social media like discovering money. Such food for thought there…

      More in a bit, Laura… I think you raise a needful, thought-provoking questions regarding a blog as a business.

      Thank-you for being such a thougthful voice, Laura — I really appreciate the sharpening….

      All’s grace,
      Ann

  6. 14

    and then there are those of us who write all the time, who long to blog, who want to share with the world what God is doing in our life…
    because we know the journey we are on is one that others suffer too…
    I want to encourage and cry with and bless others and rejoice in what He is doing…
    I am not held back by shame or unwillingness to tell my brokenness…
    I know it is all about Him, His loving us, His dying to heal us…
    I love Him so much
    but it is not my time to be public…
    the pain to some one else would be too great…
    I have to hold my tongue/keyboard until God opens that door…

    I appreciate what you wrote Ann
    I see that my silence in obediance is avodah too
    Thank you

    • 15

      Jill…
      Oh sister…
      Yes… silence as avodah too.
      Your humble testimony is a beacon of His grace, Jill…

      *Thank you*

      So grateful for you,
      Ann

  7. 16

    Wow, thanks so much for sharing these thoughts with us… I have been struggling lately, wondering how many people “really read my blog” (other than my Mom – but do Mom’s count when they read everything you write anyway?). I’ve been wondering how to expand my readership and get people more involved in my blog, wondering if I should write about more topics than just the devotional thoughts God lays on my heart. But you put it so perfectly – it’s NOT about the numbers, the ONLY number that matters is the ONE who called me to blog. And that Christ Himself only had 12 close followers…. it really is worth it to blog for just a handful of regular readers.

    Following this thought out, it shouldn’t even matter to us how many people visit and read our blogs regularly; if God has called us to do it, we should do it, no matter what WE see as the results. There are eternal results that we will not know until we reach heaven.

    Thank you. I needed that desperately today.

    • 17

      E… you beautifully expressed what I was struggling to stammer out. *Thank you* — and just this: “There are eternal results that we will not know until we reach heaven.”

      Thank you for writing, E — what you are carving out, it matters. Eternally.

      So humbly thankful for all the wisdom here,
      Ann

  8. 18

    This is beautifully written, and can apply to so much more than just our blogging. It applies to our writing in general, our painting, our cooking. We need to AVODAH. For Christ alone. All that we do – even our housework! Thank you for this. I will reread again and again for strength and encouragement.

  9. 19

    Time and time again, Ann, your words are just what I need to hear. What my soul longs to hear. Words that speak to my heart – that stir me and my faith.
    Thank you…
    Love to you Ann.

  10. 20

    Ann,

    First, there’s never a time I don’t delight in your wisdom and words and the way you wield both. Your voice sings a quiet, singular song, recognizable to the well-acquainted and it brings a measure of conviction without condemnation.

    Because of the little glimpse I got of your session at Relevant, I’ve been hoping for something more, glad to have found other parts posted.

    But it has come with a price: I’m questioning whether to continue blogging, now more than ever.

    When I began blogging five years ago, it was invisible creative outlet. Six months later when I let a few family members read it, that still held true though it was slightly less invisible. The blogs I read early on would all be characterized as Christian blogs and I saw a pattern that disturbed me from several women I read: there was arrogance and exclusion and a general air of “My way is the right way.” GOOD writers who have a “following” but in my own arrogant way, I saw it as Christianity served neatly in a box and I ran from it as fast as I could. I couldn’t imagine anyone who wasn’t ALREADY a believer buying what was being sold.

    So, with intention, I set about to be a kind of Trojan Horse; to join in conversations across the blogosphere with people who weren’t obviously Christian, to build some sort of relationship, and to “earn” the right to share my faith; and not just share it, but love them in a way they weren’t accustomed to, so that eventually they’d understand it wasn’t me at all, but Christ in me, my hope of Glory, and THAT’S what made me “different.”

    Years passed and that intentionality faded as I set time boundaries with blogging (after realizing it had become idol); coupled with realizing the time I spent writing could be used to serve my family by producing an income, at a time when financially that was helpful.

    I’ve already taken too long in this comment (forgive me?); but I know I’m not blogging with this perspective in mind. My word! My last post is about me trying to bum a beer on the beach and some guy insulting me when I was in college!!

    …now what? THAT is a question I must wrestle through.

    With love and gratefulness,

    ~ rd

    • 21

      Robin…

      Yes.

      I love what you are doing: blogging as a Trojan Horse. Building authentic relationship, loving like Jesus, “earn” the right to share your faith — please be that kind of different!

      I think of Christian bloggers who rarely write of Jesus, and yet their blog is avodah, all for His glory, they get themselves out of the numbers, surrender self, carve out of themselves with authentic stories and God is their burn and their blaze and they write of Beauty and awe in ways that invite many into the conversation… I think this is powerful.

      I wrestle daily with you, Robin…
      Profoundly grateful for you, your voice…
      Humbly,
      Ann

      • 22

        And this conversation makes me think of Melissa’s post this month as well – how a blogger who shares about home and decorating can be just as much sharing Avodah as someone who shares faith in more seemingly obvious ways:

        “I was the one at Relevant who writes about what some might see as unspiritual things like houses and fireplace mantels and housekeeping… Four years ago I gave God the pen of my life and surrendered my will and heart’s desire to His higher purposes. My life changed at that moment. I’m the girl who needs to remember WHO is in control of the pen. I need to live out my life in obedience for an “audience of One” and pray He uses my steps to touch whoever He chooses. That is His plan.”
        http://www.incourage.me/2010/10/beautiful-things-2.html

        Because *whatever* we do, we do it all to the glory of God, right? 1 Corn 10:31.

        I love to listen in as we all work and wrestle through our words and how best to offer them in His service.

        Much love to you both,
        Lisa-Jo

    • 23

      Robin, before I left my comment I read yours and I had an image while reading your words there (and your blog)–of Jesus sitting with sinners (like me). Maybe your words allow you to plop right down among them (us) and a place I would’ve be open to in my prodigal years. You never know how His light shines in someone else’s darkness by your words.

  11. 25

    when i stumbled upon the blogging community, i felt at home. i’ve never been a creative type, but i am a Jesus girl. i was in a season of really seeking to find HIM in all that i do and He led me to blogging. your post was so true and can be applied in many other realms. i’ve read some other blogs that are questioning how much to share, well – how much does He want us to share in order to get the point across? in order to share how broken we were and he still loved us? thanks for encouraging us to follow HIM.

  12. 26

    Oh, I am sitting in front of my computer with tears streaming down my face. It was as if God reached down and spoke the words I needed so desperately to hear through you.
    I started my blog because Jesus whispered into my ear and said, ” Lift up your head beloved and tell others of my love.”
    and I did
    and the few the found my blog where encouraged and inspired to know His love
    and then something creeped in
    and old familiar needy friend called affirmation and success
    I began to study my numbers, I began to try to follow the ” do it this way” blogging rules, I began to be a slave to those who might follow me, desperate for them to comment and so I would comment for a comment..
    …so ugly..so much bondage…and I wanted to quit, shut down the blog, I began to get jealous of those who succeeded, in fact can I share this ugly prideful confession? …Ann you are my hands down favorite blogger and you commented yesterday on a new blog, along with other big name amazing women bloggers, and though I was so happy for my friend and his amazing new blog I sat in an ash heap of sulking …feeling small, feeling worthless, feeling…gulp..envious.
    And so I wonder..where do I go from here?
    How do I get back to simply blogging my journey because Jesus told me to?
    I don’t know but I go to the altar and lay it down. I thank you for your words…they magnify Jesus.
    Thank you.

    • 27

      To “I Am His Beloved”–
      Me too. I want to shine His light, but I also want to know I am appreciated by others. That must be my downfall. And it really racks my heart when I feel happy for another’s accomplishments, but feel dissatisfied with my own. I realize then that I have put myself on the throne, instead of looking up to God in His proper place.

      But it still hurts, sort of like standing at the locker and hoping one of the “cool kids” at least makes eye contact in passing…

      All of this is rather like a crazy wheel and weekly I tinker with the idea of hitting the “delete blog” button. Perhaps we need to find solace in that we may plant seeds that another waters. Perhaps we are not part of the blooming, but part of the growing?

      To Ann–the balance of time and emotions and reasons and needs, that is where I struggle. What if all this time reading and writing and commenting were put into talking to strangers in the grocery store and feeding the hungry in a soup line, wouldn’t that be better? Maybe it is the tangible that is absent in blogging that makes us so vulnerable to the proper balance and perspective?

      Blessings (to you both, to you all).

    • 28

      And I thought I was the only one! I could’ve written this reply. My blog is not my own, but His.
      To you and to Ann; Thank-you for speaking truth. I believe God is doing something so big, ‘incredibly more than all was ask or imagine’ through His humble servants, doing all for His Glory.
      Blessings…

  13. 29

    i don’t have a “Christian” blog, per se. most of my readers are probably non-christians, but i can’t be sure. so i post about life, family, etc. and i’ll often throw in my thoughts about faith, God and how HE sees me through everything and how I rely on God. i don’t feel that i have the writing to just blast people with God. so i talk about motherhood and how God plays a role in my life.

    i sort of agree with what Robin (above) said. i don’t want to shove God down people’s throats. i felt like it wasn’t my place and I hadn’t earned the trust of my readers to do that. i think how i incorporate God into my blog is great.

    • 30

      Thank you for your wisdom and sensitivity, Julie… and writing about your faith in an authentic, organic, natural way that invites folks in…

      This is beautiful, Julie

      All’s grace,
      Ann

  14. 31

    Ann, thank you for always bringing us back to His heart. You are beautiful through and through, my friend. Sending love, prayers, and thanks to Jesus for you all the way to Canada this morning…

  15. 32

    You speak straight to my soul and I know it’s Spirit speaking to spirit and you say the very thing bursting from my beating heart: “Beauty has branded you, marked you with awe and awe is why you grab the keyboard and make the record….” I thousand amens to those words! And I want to brave or humbled or lowered to lift higher the One whom I love and your post here gives me the fire to blaze on. Thanks Ann for encouraging His kingdom to take it by “force” and write those things which do violence to our flesh but sets captives free.

    At His Feet, Tammy

  16. 33

    I began blogging in July, 2010. This journey began with prodding from the Lord. I followed the pursuit to type words from HIM into this big, messed up means of communication. I say that, because of the evil that is so prevelant on the internet, (ruining marriages & lives) it is far & close reaching! What words I typed seemed small ~ but the majority of them ~ after I had clicked published and read them later ~ I was amazed, thinking Lord this is only from you. Some posts, have been driven by (got to post – “they” are waiting expecting) a responsibility that you take on when you see faces in thumbnails. I have struggled & continue to struggle – trying to find focus for Places of my Heart. just sharing Jesus, my heart, my life, my home. Then my next thought is why do people blog? Something is lacking somewhere? Seeking encouragement? Trying to show material possessions? Unanswered ?s on my end,
    still pondering. Then these thoughts lead to – me personally – seeing the Lord working, extending my boundaries, becoming an encourager, not just a discerner. This leads to why not have comments? One dear soul – that reads faithfully – is overwhelmed with situations, and if the words I leave her that HE give me, leading her to HIM, accomplishes this (comments) are worth it. I’m only presenting all of this – because questions – are rumbling within. These thoughts & questions can only be brought to the “Audience of One”. HE will give answers, I’m struggling with these thoughts to find my “place in this world of communication.” I can see where my personal walk, daily communication with the Lord has increased, because I can’t sit down at the keys and come up with it. Sure, I’ve done some like that – I can mark them quickly with an “M” for mine and “H” for HIS.
    You have been a blessing in my life – and the one I first encountered in the blogging world.

  17. 34

    So much to think about…

  18. 35

    Ann–your words bless, challenge, encourage and sting… They are all I need to hear. And then I continue to read. Words written in reply to yours. And they are all I need to hear as well!
    I am one of you.
    Asked by God to write of His faithfulness, His goodness, His completeness…about seeking Him in every season and keeping our eyes on Him even when our heart wants to leave for another–that which is seen, that which brings recognition, that which massages the pride or soothes the wounds.
    And now, after 2 1/2 years of writing, I’ve kept the comments off, the sitemeter down—only because I know myself and my weaknesses too well!
    But that has not stopped the wondering, the questions, the envy–what do I need to do to encourage more readers? Is it worth the time for the few I hear back from through email? Is my writing not good enough?
    Time and time again, God has said to me, “Let me be enough! If you were just writing for Me as audience and not the world, would you write for Me? Would you put into words our walk together–for Me?”
    How I have struggled with Him being enough!
    Can you imagine?
    Honestly, pridefully, weak and wounded wonderings….”will I do it just for Him?” Knowing nothing written ever gets posted before piercing my own heart. It is worth my time, effort and focused attention if it only comes down to Him and me!

    Ann–His wishes wrapped in your words, work both as stinging antiseptic and soothing salve. He will always be enough for me!

    Dear sisters who have commented–your words draw me closer to the Body and the sisterhood of upsidedown Kingdom bloggers! I love and appreciate you all–your honest true hearts and your humility to sacrificially lay your blogging down at His feet.

    Thank you–(in)courage team–for this safe place to share!

  19. 36

    Wow. That is almost all I can get out right now. I was unable to attend Relevant, but soaked up what I could via tweets and posts, and was in awe then, but oh how I wish I could have been there! Anne’s words go SO deep!
    Wild horses won’t keep me away from Relevant 11!
    Bernice
    http://livingthebalancedlife.com/2010/think-of-someone-other-than-yourself/

  20. 37

    Great post!
    May I copy the Blogger’s Prayer to my blog?

  21. 38

    Thanks so much for your thoughts. I wanted to read the ‘related posts’ selections listed at the bottom, but apparently there is a mixup in the links? Please let me know how I might find them. Thanks!

  22. 39

    I’m finding that worship is he best recipe for joy, deep joy. Blogging, even in sadness, with that deep river within, seems to work for me. Otherwise, I spiral – and then so my blog.

    All my love,
    Amber

  23. 40

    Just yesterday I found myself discussing with my sister how less and less people seem to be liking my Facebook status updates. And what’s funny is they’re usually Scripture. I’m more hurt when they don’t like God’s word that has spoken to me and I had to share then if they don’t like something of zero significance whatsoever (the smell of Gain’s Apple Mango Tango and Garnier Fructis Hairspray? Yes…I actually had a status update about that last week).

    So I’m struggling with it. And somedays I let it weigh me down and somedays it rolls off my back like it never even happened. I don’t understand it, but I’m working it out.

    And why don’t we think our words are good enough? My face goes red when I go on and on of how God is working in my life at the moment and people respond as if they don’t care. Like I’m talking too much about God and His faithfulness. And part of me want to say, “I’m a living breathing Acts 4:20, I **can’t help** but speak of what He’s done. So…you need to get over that. ” but I just continue to tell my story whether or not they care that He showed me the same verse every day last week in different places. Maybe I’m just supposed to tell. Again, I don’t know.

    Weird.

    Thanks, as always, for your beautiful words Ann. They moved me this morning.

  24. 41

    I feel as though Holley looked into my heart and wrote words for me Ann. You know I love you dearly and your heart, so full of tender grace and love, makes me weep with joy.
    I have pondered your words over the past couple of weeks, praying and trying hard to do better. I confess that I still struggle. For me, it is the pressure to interact with others – always fearful of hurting someone else’s heart if I don’t comment on each post. I fight for some sort of balance and fail miserably.
    I am so thankful for your words, for I know the Father has placed them in your heart. And so I pray…..

  25. 42

    Dearest Ann,
    One thing that really caught my attention in your keynote was “in Scripture the word for service, art, worship is the very same word: AVODAH….your blog is service, your blog is art, and your blog is worship.” AVODAH… service, ART, and worship… I think of myself more as an artist, not as a writer. When I signed up for a facebook fan page there wasn’t a choice to label yourself as a blogger and so I signed in as a ‘visual artist’.
    My journey into blogging began as a gift to myself for various reasons. I felt impressed by the Lord to share what he was teaching me. I needed an outlet to force me to think more positively. I also wanted an outlet for my photography as well. Feeling led to share the Love and Grace of God through Jesus to those who might read my blog, I set the goal to blog for HIS glory, declaring all his wondrous works to the world.
    Hiking Toward Home, that would be my home in heaven, although at the time I started the blog I was also on my way home in the sense of coming off the mission field. The Lord had given us peace about turning our church plant over to a national pastor. (They are still going strong for the Lord, hallelujah!)
    One thing I confirmed at Relevant is that I am not going to strive to turn my blog into a moneymaker per say. If the Lord wants me to HE will bring it my way without my seeking it out.
    What doesn’t work for me, writing out of bitterness and writing with a critical spirit. I have gone back and deleted a few of my first posts that may have been offensive to some, they were written from bitterness and not grace. I am a pastor’s wife and often I have thought, “I can’t say that, what if a church member read it?” Then the Holy Spirit whispers, “You shouldn’t say that because I AM reading it.” God keeps me on track. (at Relevant Angie Smith spoke of it as ‘having a catch in your spirit’.)
    I do want to be more intentional in my blogging. Be more organized about it. Plan ahead more. I have determined to try very hard to keep up with certain things I have started, mainly blogging on Multitude Mondays and continuing my gift counting. That really has been mind changing… life changing.
    Thank you, Ann, for blogging what God teaches you and for being ‘real’ on your blog and in person.
    Hiking in His Grace,
    Sharon
    PS. You signed my gratitude journal at Relevant. Thank you for that gift of grace extended. God uses it to remind me every day to “Fight for Joy!”.

  26. 43

    Ann…amazing words to digest! I love your ways and words! What a great way to look @ blogging! And the phase Jesus had 12 followers and lost 1 was so good! Thanks for the perspective…i resonate!

  27. 44

    I loved listening to your keynote. There was so much insight, and ah ha moments while listening to your words.

    Nell

  28. 45

    How BEAUTIFUL! I can’t tell you how many times you have encouraged me in the past but this is your best (a gift to bloggers) so far…

    I am always getting e-mails from readers commenting on how surprised they are that I share both the glory of the Christian walk and the pain within. But I knew that is why God placed this blog on my heart (through my daughter’s telling me quite often I should start one).

    It is a way to share His Grace as He has given it to me and to assure those who want to listen that God speaks much in our journey through this fallen world. I have had to learn not to look at numbers but to know He sends the ones He wants to read my way… and in the midst of all He has given delightful friendships.

    Thank you for opening your heart and with your gift… encouraging all of us.

  29. 46

    There is so much wisdom here. We need to be writing about God and letting all the other things take care of themselves.

    Numbers. Platform. Praise.

    it’s all rubbish.

  30. 47
    Anonymous says:

    I love all 3 parts of this Blogger stuff!!!
    I am a woman, wife, mother, wounded person, Child of God!
    I have stories to share, but until reading this have been afraid , insecure to share.
    Why? Well, for one thing, I am insecure because I have no college degree, and the other reasons are ones such as afraid of not wording it perfectly, you know like punctuation, etc. ; and feeling like my stories are just dumb and insignificant to anyone else; and just afraid and nervous due to feeling like a failure already in life!
    I have a prodigal daughter, a son who was a prodigal and still has a serious problem with disrespect for me, so I feel so unloved and like a failure as a mother.
    I have many insecurities due a rough past. God has forgiven me ,but I seem to have a problem with feeling intimidated!
    Any way these words of love and truth that I just read, because you took time to write them, touched my heart and soul very deep within and is already healing some of my wounds. Thank you for caring enough to write.

    I am praying now that God will help me to pluck from my breast. That God will help me to write only for Him, and then God will do with the words what He wants to do with them.

    I would just ask that you pray for me and that you would continue letting God speak through you to me.
    I will keep following you and hope it will keep encouraging me to do something I have wanted to do for years and years and that is WRITE, and to Reach out and help others some how some way with the testimony of my life and how God has worked in me and changed me for the good.

    Thanks to you again,
    and may God always be glorified in your work, as He is today,

  31. 48

    Would you blog for only one follower? That question crystallized for me so much of what you’ve had to say in this series. If my words, my stories have encouraged or blessed even one person, that is enough. It is humbling to hear from another when our stories speak. More humbling to think the One for whom we write asks us only to offer him the broken bread and pieces of fish and trust that He will feed others. Thank you so much for your words–I’ll be revisiting them often. And I love, love, love the story of your son and his spoon–thanks for sharing it here again. It is so hard, this believing that our work is good, that we are good, that our Father sees us with greater grace than you saw your sweet son. Blessings to you. Thank you for this.

  32. 49

    We are not designed to deal with Glory. It belongs only to Him. It is our job to deflect every minuscule iota of Glory to the Lord. The evil one is attracted to Glory and if we keep any of it for our own, it paints a giant target on our chest. You are so very wise to remind us that it is all for Him and about Him.

    Ann, you are such an incredible conduit of wisdom from the Spirit to me. Thank you for being so transparent that I see through you to Him.

  33. 50

    Favorite, favorite (in)courage article EVER. I needed this. I needed to hear this now, and I need to bookmark and reread it again when I start doing things my way and I forget these words (um, probably within the hour). Thank you.

  34. 52

    Dear Ann and fellow commenters, thank you so very, very much for your words of wisdom and love that take me straight to His heart where I can’t help but shout “YES!!!” I will lay it all down, I will drop the comments, stat meter and number of followers. I will write for Him alone, His glory. And, in doing that, I know that it will also please my husband and children, the people that He has given me to love tenderly, as he does. I will become ever more free to give time, devotion and care to all that I do without the agonizing worries of popularity.

    Thank you for giving me freedom!

  35. 53

    what a beautiful reminder.

    when i rise in the morning, my heart says, “Here I am to worship.” As I go about the monotony of staying at home, setting aside my goals and aspirations to become the wife and mom God has called, He reminds me it is all in worship to Him. This awakening to worship has been beautiful and challenging too, but always glorifying to the one who created us for this very purpose.

    i pray i can always approach my blog in the same way. there was a time i was a slave to my numbers and comments. right now is a season i am not checking my stats or seeking comments. i may be writing for just one person and that is God ordained and divine. the season my change where i feel the angst for audience, but for now, El Roi is standing by watching and ushering those in who need to be there.

  36. 54

    Dear Ann,

    Thank you for writing this. You grabbed my Heart with this and allowed God to use you to turn my fears and thinking around. To listen to God and not others!

  37. 55

    So wise.
    I held my breath reading about the wooden spoon. You are a good mom, Ann. By His grace I know.
    Oh, might I reflect my Creator and spur my little ones to do the same. Not for our fame. But His.
    Glory.

  38. 56

    i was moved deeply by this at relevant, and i am so glad to reflect again now here. i LOVE language and i loved learning about avodah as worship/work/service/art. that is it, isn’t it? our purpose, the imaging of God in every aspect of our daily living.

    i never really considered myself a “christian blogger” exactly. i do post about my faith regularly and openly, but i blog about other topics, too. in truth, my writing is probably “too christian” for unbelievers and “not christian enough” for some people of faith. i’ve tried to just blog from my heart and my experience, but this challenges me to make it less about me and more about God–not necessarily topically, as others have said–but from the standpoint of my intention and the direction to which (Whom!) i write.

  39. 57

    I love this, and I needed this. I, like so many others, continuously measure my worth using worldly meters. Now that the blogosphere has made everyone with a keyboard a published author, it’s so hard not to want to build a readership, a following, a fan base, a business. I have to remind myself that even if I was a famous blogger with millions of subscribers, at the end of the day I would still be the same broken wife, mother, and daughter that I am… saved by grace and nothing apart from Him.

    My struggle in the midst of that awareness is knowing how to discern and live out my calling. Does the fact that I like to write meant that God wants me to write for others? Not necessarily. Does the fact that a few people read my blog and are encouraged by it mean I should spend several hours each week churning out new posts? I don’t know. That’s where I get hung up. Should I be investing time and energy in blogging for a few (being an “upside down kingdom blogger”) because I enjoy the challenge and might be encouraging someone here or there, or should I be spending that time elsewhere and pursuing a more private calling? It seems like after a period of time (and depending on the purpose of a blog), readership and positive response could be used as indicators of God’s blessing and affirmation of an endeavor. Hard questions…

    Thanks for your thought-provoking post. God is using you!

  40. 58

    Thank you for putting yourself on that altar, Ann, with words I needed to read so much. I have struggled with making my blog what the Lord would have it to be & to find its purpose. I still don’t know it, but I am surrendering it to Him.

    One impression He keeps making on me is that social media CAN be used for HIS glory, but it must be in its proper place in my life. I’ve quit Twitter because it was just too much information. I’ve changed my Facebook status updates so that they are not about me. Now I must relegate blogging to its proper place, and remember that family & friends are more important than words on a screen. If I’m not living whatever words I write, they are useless.

    Thanks again.

  41. 59

    “When you are a servant to God alone you aren’t enslaved by the masters of this world, self, status, satan.” <—this right here is my nugget.

    and this

    "Simply blog as to serve God alone, as your avodah, your work, art as worship, and you are liberated from the bondage of praise, power, and people-pleasing."

    There is really nothing more that can be added to that. Thank you Ann. Thank you, thank you. :)

  42. 60
    Kathryn says:

    Oh my, my , my….What an amazing and unexpected answered prayer. I have been waffling about starting to blog, making excuses, letting fear and doubt and dishes and diapers and home schooling and meals and laundry and TV and yadayada.. stop me from stepping out in faith….then your post today…I hadn’t thought of it that way before…God stepped out of your blog and spoke straight to my heart. He used you to sow courage into my heart….As long as I do it for HIM…who cares about all the rest of it? Thank you for giving me so much to think about…elevating the whole thing to a ministry of sacrifice rather than opportunity to make some thing of myself. I just love every thing you said…I never wanted it to end. I will never forget it. I WILL give birth to my blog for HIM. Thank you, sweet sister. Keep carving….

  43. 61

    Ann,
    These words penetrate. I’m a fairly new blogger, coming up on a year. I started because I couldn’t dare keep quiet about the miracle that God wrote in my life – delivering me from darkness and into the loving arms of my husband and kids. Staying the course of the intention He placed in my heart has been a challenge. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it – if it matters for me to write. Sometimes Satan throws everything he can to silence me. I had no idea there were other bloggers writing to serve the heart of God. I knew they wrote – and I knew they were gifted – and I knew that God was indeed honored, but I didn’t know they fought the same fight to move beyond the “me” and into “Him”. I’m learning from God through you. And I’m so encouraged!
    Thank you so much for your obedience. I know you don’t do it for accolades, but sometimes God uses His people to give you a warm hug, thumbs up, and a high five. ;)

  44. 62

    thank you Ann again…always thanking…always blessed:)

    it was happening upon your blog that I first took the tentative steps to begin writing again…and it was slow…i almost hung it up before i started…

    it has only been a solid couple of months that i have continued and it has been such a life-giving thing BUT i am struggling so with the affirmation-seeking stuff that i laid down by simply stopping to write many years ago (before blogs). i keep bringing it to Abba and asking, “should i continue? i don’t want it if there is all of this other stuff too…”

    He continues to encourage me “keep writing and I will keep refining”…so I tentatively step forward…

    I am so blessed to have found this community and these precious words of life shared here (and the past tuesdays @ Ann’s) in the beginning of my blogging and not after years of wilderness…

    hugs and love to you all (especially dear Ann), Abby:)

  45. 63

    What a wonderful post!

    You know, some of the SAME things have been stirring in my own mind and heart about my blog and blogging in general. Though I gave up checking my site meter months ago, it’s all to easy to measure ‘success’ as a blogger through ‘followers’ subscribers, or comments. Slowly, but surely God’s been freeing me of that need to get affirmation in this way from others. I have confidence that God is using my blog to HIS glory with my weakness to fall into people pleasing in mind. I’m now thankful for my small following – it allows me to really connect with readers – if I had numerous commenters I would probably struggle with wanting to respond to all of them. :)

    A slower posting pace as also afforded me to produce better content which is a ultimately a better use of my limited free time as well.

    Thanks for the encouragement and confirmation to continue in my new / renewed attitude toward blogging.

    I wrote a little about my blogging journey as a guest post recently. I’ll leave the link if someone cares to see. :)

    http://thingsicantsay-shell.blogspot.com/2010/10/bff-who-doesnt-wannabe-wonder-woman.html

    Also, I’ve dedicated this months posts on my blog (wonder woman wannabe) as a direct offering. It’s been SO freeing to share from the heart what God has been teaching me for the last several months. It’s amazing to publish a post and truly be ‘okay’ with the responce or lack thereof.

    Thanks again for your lovely encouraging words – they are such a gift! :)

    ~heidi

  46. 64

    Dear Ann,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you…I am relatively new to this Christian blogging thing…struggling with the words and the desire to seek affirmation. At the same time, it is hard for me to stop hiding behind words, to truly allow my heart to be broken open for praise and thanksgiving, in simplicity and love, not worrying about who will read my heart and what they will think of me…but God has already worked wonders in my life through your quiet words…and I am slowly learning that, when it comes to blogging, his Word is the only one that matters.

    Blessed be God, now and ever more!

    In Christ,

    *Caterina*

  47. 65

    Thank you Ann.

    Your words are insightful and sorely needed.

    I find God speaking to me quite often through you. I am blessed by your words.

    In Christ,
    Bethany

  48. 66

    Ann – I have trouble finding words to express how this talk at Relevant impacted me. “Does checking your sitemeter break the heart of God?” is something I think of almost everyday when I feel the urge to check my sitemeter.

    When I come to the keyboard – I remember the picture of the keyboard being an altar where Icome and die and I come more prayfully – “God flow through my fingertips please”.

    My computer space has grown in it’s sacredness – thank you for the imagery that taught me deep spiritual lessons about blogging. The Holy Spirit is still using your words to guide me. I am forever grateful for your sacrifice at the keyboard.

    Keep Walking with the King!
    Courtney

    • 67

      The same phrase from Ann’s speech was my “take home” point from Relevant. I have cancer, and my blog is about cancer and my struggle to have faith in the worst possible circumstances. When we had that moment of silence to ask God to speak to our hearts about the thing that we need to overcome, the word that came to mind was FEAR. I wrote that, next to the quote, “My blog is an altar on which I come to lay down and die.” That is so scary to me. But it also encapsulates my purpose for blogging…if I can die visibly, yieldingly and joyfully, maybe I can light some other soul on fire for Christ. Because He did ever so much more for me.

  49. 68

    Oh Ann, you get right to the heart of the matter in the best way. Blogging can bring out the best in us and certainly the worst. All of the fears and anxieties and needing of affirmation…I never expected to do battle with all of that when I started blogging several years ago. You are so right and I am so in need of being reminded: it is all about Him. Your message is beautiful and true. Thank you for every post you write. They are like devotionals for me; many times your words of grace have reoriented my whole day. God has used you in my life to teach and inspire and encourage and I am so thankful.

    Keep writing…for you, for us, and most importantly for Him!

  50. 69

    For myself it’s being a christian and vegan. God has really begun to show me what sustainable living is – It’s him. His spirit in me allows me to be sustained inside and out.
    My validation is not in the numbers, it’s in Christ :D Yahoo!!!

  51. 70

    Thank you.
    I woke up today frustrated and unable to write! The distractions were immense, so I logged off, and read Six Things Every Christian Blogger Needs To Know! I then went and read the first 2…and there it was, through my tears, the answer!

    I am a relevant writer, even though I had allowed the battle between me and my adversary to win for a bit.

    I have 3 blogs…I started the third to tell the story about the diagnosis and journey of A Woman’s Heart…

    I felt the need to fluff up my blogs, as if they were not good enough, because I couldn’t hit higher numbers…more readers. I wanted to reach people…I wanted to be read.

    I forgot the reason I truly began these (the first two blogs) to share my faith with whomever wandered in to read.

    Thank you! While I did not do anything but write comments to blogs that fed my spirit, and healed my heart….God did have me read all of this, so that tomorrow I could write with the gift that He gave me…all the rest will follow.

    I am a servant, working the words for the Kingdom of God.

    Thank you for helping me to find my center again, My Jesus!

    I will be following!
    Blessings,
    Andrea aka HOPEannFAITH

  52. 71

    Thanks for this reminder. I pray that my blog will help others and help others know God. Sometimes I do fret about numbers, but if it’s not His will, I can only submit everything to Him.

  53. 72

    Ann I love your words and your ways! What inspiring words!
    I especially liked when you said…Jesus only had 12 followers and he lost one.
    It truly is about his glory! You hit it out of the park with this post!

  54. 73

    Agh! Thank you for so perfectly expressing the heart of why we blog…the way we blog…to whom we blog. What a powerful, convicting, beautiful reminder. Thank you!

  55. 74
    Anonymous says:

    Oh Ann… You know how much I love you. Thank you for these wise, wise words.

    As somewhat of a “Trojan horse” blogger like Robin mentioned above, we avodah as service when those who don’t yet know Jesus read our words and leave encouraged, not fearful for being despised, not in despair because they don’t measure up. When they wonder why and how they can read a Christian’s blog and enjoy it.

    And as bloggers who write as a business, we avodah as work when we help provide for the family with this virtual field “we’ve considered and bought.” Ann, your words are a good reminder for those of us who treat their blog as a business to continually reset our focus on the One for whom we craft. All our work is His glory, just as Brother Lawrence’s shoe cobbling was glory to Him hundreds of years ago. As Dave Ramsey’s is today. As are the thousands (millions?) of entrepreneurs and shop keepers who follow Christ today.

    Thank you, friend.

  56. 75

    Hee hee… Ann, that was me above. I wasn’t supposed to be anonymous. :)

  57. 76

    Thanks, Ann, for all your wisdom and insight on blogging … and for sharing this with those of us who were not at Relevant. I am learning much from you as I am a fairly new blogger. I love your focus of pointing to Jesus, and not ourselves … thank you for being an example of this to me and others.

  58. 77

    My blog is not for me. My blog is not for me. My blog is NOT for me!

    I’ve struggled so much Ann with the use of Facebook and blogs. I finally let Facebook go. It was hindering my relationship with family and God. It was an addiction I needed to lay down to Him who can cure me. It has been very hard, espcially when everything everywhere says “check us out on Facebook”. But He is who is in me is stronger than He who is against me.

    Then comes my blog. I love my blog. I started it right after my second child’s birth. Her birth didn’t emotionally go as I’d hoped, so I needed to work through some of that. But mostly I started it to work through my brokenhearted grief for my 2 online due date club mama friends loosing their sweet babies to stillbirth. I was one week due before they went to Him and it crushed my heart. I clung to Him trying to find answers, security, comfort and a voice to still my fears for my child. So I blogged it out. I cried it out. I prayed it out. I talked it out in therapy and with others. I then held my sweet baby girl and still had grief. I wondered if this child was real. I traveled the fine line between their reality and mine. He carried me through. I loved my children more than I ever have before. I loved them through it as He loved me through it. Then my blog changed. I started focusing on attatchment and natural parenting methods. That they were the only RIGHT way and that I had to get my voice out so others could see what they are doing to their children and change their ways. To see me as RIGHT and join me. And then I felt the desire to speak for Christ. To uphold the TRUTH, He is the ONly God. But how does that ring to the hearts of those who choose not to follow Him. Am I just being another one of “those christians”? Will they see past me to see Him? My blog became something it wasn’t supposed to be. I created these judements in my heart and though I felt it was God calling me to speak out, it was me who wanted to be right. Who wanted to be known. Who wanted to teach. It was all about me. Sure I spoke of God and my struggles with the world and faith, but I spoke for me. I’ve been convicted of my judgments. Oh how He’s brought me down only to bring my spirit up to Him. I’m learning to love people for who they are, to let go of my worldy judgments, yet uphold the biblical judgements speaking with love and grace. It will be a life long learning journey. I long for my blog to become this. I long for it to be for Him not just merely saying what I think is right or telling my general doings. Do I erase my blog and start over? Start knew for Him or is my broken past of postings part of my journey? Is it possible I keep it and just swtich gears for Him? Is it possible for someone who feels so strongly about some life choices to blog without judgements? To share their excitment in an article or other post about something so close to their heart as attatchment mothering or christian living or babyloss without the world thinking it judgemental? Becuase it all is apart of who He made me. I don’t know where to go from here.

    Ann, Thank you for your writings here and in your blog. I have grown in Him through your words.

    • 78

      Here is me, yet again seeking someone else’s acceptence. Someone else’s reasurance that I can do this, that I can be me and blog for Him. And then God speaks and says “yes you can IF you be who I made you.” I cannot copy anyone else’s blogging style. it is not mine to have. I can share my brokenness my senstive heart, my struggles, my joys, my excitment, because He gave me this life and this personality to serve Him in my own unique way. Babyloss brokenhearted love and a leaning towards attatchment parenting was given to me for a reason. I can use it for Him just as Ann speaks we can use laundry, dishes, mops for Him. I can do it without worldy judgments if He is my mind, body and spirit. Each blog can bring someone else closer to Him because we speak their blog language at that moment. Praise God for the many different blogs (just as the many different Christ following churches) which speak different stories to the many launguages out there.

      Thank you again Ann for your words I take to His word to learn through them. And draw closer to Him. I almost threw out my blog. Now I see as long as my heart working for Him, so will the rest of me, words included. Avodaha. I love that.

  59. 79

    Ann, this was such a wonderful post, and dear to my heart as a blogger. Even more so as a writer, and so I sent the link to some writerly friends as well. The part that really hits home is that Jesus had only 12 followers, one of whom he lost. We only need to look to our Father for appreciation, numbers can’t define who we are.

  60. 80

    What a wonderful blog. My prayer every morning, afternoon, and evening is “Jesus, may I love you as much as You deserve!” As a blogger who suffers terribly day after day, God has given me such grace to do so — gladly — for His sake. Because there are so many who suffer, too, and have no voice, I am called to serve Him and give a voice to their pain. I’m working on a book about God’s provision in suffering and was told by a publisher that they wanted 31 chapters. These are life lessons and I was thinking, “Oh, help me, Lord! I have to learn 14 more lessons? I’ll be 150 before it’s finished!” But then came the blog idea from my friends who wanted to share in my suffering because God gives us what we need in the midst of it. How wonderful He is!
    I so appreciate what you wrote. All I can ever do is love my Savior, share what He is doing in my life despite my broken body, and love His children.
    I love how God surprised the Israelites with Manna, which means, “What is it?” in Hebrew. Often, when we ask for provision, we exit our tents and say, “Manna?” or “What the heck is this, Lord?” I laughed out loud when discovering this because no one EVER thinks that God could bring provision in suffering. But He does. He is sufficient. He is enough! It’s a wonderful thing to serve our funny, baffling, and upside-down God. It’s an adventure.
    So, thanks for sharing yours!

  61. 81

    Ann, I can’t even begin to describe all of the different ways what you said at Relevant affected me. The whole conference was so unlike anything that I was expecting, and yet everything that was said, and especially your thoughts of approaching our writing as worship unto God were exactly what I needed to hear. That my stats don’t matter as much as my heart. I didn’t even know who you were (*gasp!* go most of the Relevant attendees) but your heart touched mine in a very powerful way. I am still struggling to put it all together in my mind, and pray it through my keyboard even as some seemingly insignificant posts come out. I am seeking to write more deeply and that is a direct result of your words. Thank you.

  62. 82

    I remain ambivalent about blogging. My husband, a scholar and writer, is mostly cynical of blogs. Whenever my priorities are askew and I am blogging to escape or feel better, I am afraid he’s right–I’m not using my time well. I appreciate these admonitions to look to please God alone.

    Some posts I read from Christian bloggers, like sermons, make an impact, while others fade quickly from memory. God’s word alone is eternal. The best we can do is share some of the truths we learn from Him.

  63. 83

    Thank you so, so much. I know my blog is not to be measured by the hits but by the content, and I know it’s worth blogging for my 16 and I am blessed by those. Sometimes it is hard to keep my eyes on His goal, though! Thank you, thank you.

  64. 84

    Ann,

    Thank you. The passionate scarlet of the Father’s heart for us exposed in black and white, beautiful. That is always where the tears come from… how deep the Father’s love for us… no matter how messy we are.

    I’ve been chewing over these verses for some time now… asking to have the dross brought out by The Refiner…

    “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart.”
    Proverbs 17:3

    “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives.”
    Proverbs 27:21

    Praise can be a test from the LORD.

    How many talents have I been given? Five? Two? One? Comparing numbers doesn’t matter.

    He asks that I am faithful with whatever lot I have been given. When I am, that is when He says “well done! Come and share my happiness!”

    And I do!

    It is important to not let Satan steal that happiness that God intends for us to share with Him. It is right that we crave God’s approval, His delight in our avodah. Our enemy likes to take something good(craving God’s approval), and twist our hearts to either crave any and everyone’s approval, or to not accept any satisfaction at all-even between ourselves and God. Does He really like it? Our best?

    Yes! Carve a thousand!

    We need to be careful to keep His glory as our goal, but also careful to not neglect His embrace of joy over our carvings. Our Father loves to tell us “well done!”.

    Walking in Grace,
    Elise

  65. 85

    Anne,
    I’d been led for years now to ministry and done lots. But God’s called me to writing, speaking, blogging and I’m (honestly) scared of the type of transparency that he’s calling me to.
    Seeing you lay yourself open and so touch my life every day gives me courage. Looking forward to meeting you at the She Speaks Conf in July!!
    In HIS grip
    Cindy

  66. 86

    Ann –
    It’s amazing how the Holy Spirit uses others to speak straight to your heart. Thank you for your heart, humility, and obedience in this post. Truth that sets free. I am so grateful to have stumbled upon them!
    I am reading this several months after you penned it, but it is just what I needed to hear. I am a new blogger, but I am messy. :) I love Jesus with all of my heart. I want to hunger, thirst, eat, and drink His presence and share living water with others through this cracked vessel! However, how easily it becomes more about me. My focus becomes horizontal instead of vertical, and in doing so, I become burdened, overwhelmed, discouraged, and stagnant. I wonder what’s wrong with me, and what more I should do. It seems as though I have nothing at all to offer, and I forget the One who brings forth the increase!
    This has helped veer me back on track. I am convicted, but feel the yoke being lifted. Less of me, more of Him!!

    Blessings,
    Ashlie

  67. 87

    Incredibly, beautifully, overwhelmingly refreshing. Thank you thank you thank you. Praise God for this. It’s just what I needed to hear.

  68. 88

    Greetings in Christ, Ann…

    I finished ‘One Thousand Gifts’ today, and was overwhelmed by the Spirit. He has gifted you amazingly, and how amazingly you have glorified Him. Yes… to give thanks. What more, and what better, can we do? On my website, I published a haiku in gratitude for the beautiful words and deep understanding of grace that God has given you:

    Eucharisteo -
    to thank You is to love You.
    My soul, Thine always.

    Love in Christ, dearest sister…

    Tony

  69. 89

    Thank you so much for all the wisdom you shared from Revelant 2010. I am new to blogging and begun just as way to ‘remember’ my experiences with God and with serving Him. My eyes were opened pretty quick to the ‘business’ side of things and if I were to mention every comment that struck me, I would be writing a few posts! I had not heard of Revelant until a couple weeks ago and, while it sparked my interest, it did nothing more. Now, I want to go:)
    Thank you so much for sharing all this.
    Blessings.

  70. 90

    A friend introduced me to Anne’s blog. I must say her perspicacity, wonder, and vibrant use of words set my heart aflight. THANKS ANNE. I love the rediscovery of skill, of the true nature of being an artisan as was Bezalel an artisan for God. (Exodus 31) It’s lovely and inspiring.

    Cheers to transforming one’s environment through hope, wonder, and gratitude!

  71. 91

    I have only started blogging this year but recently I have had long periods of time where I haven’t posted anything because I felt useless at it.
    For a long time I couldn’t write. I thought…”I don’t have a gift for writing after all”. I was sad about this, because I always thought writing was a big part of my purpose. It wasn’t until now that I realised the real reason for my lack of ability is my heart. My heart was not full of God. It was full of myself.
    Without God we can do nothing!
    This verse rang true for me when I tried to write for my own pleasure, to inspire others on my own. I would try to write about godly things but it wasn’t God-inspired.
    If my heart isn’t full of him, my writing will not be God-breathed and it will do no good.
    A good lesson for me.

  72. 92

    This is exactly what I needed to read today! I feel like there’s a tug of war between the desire to blog for recognition, and blogging just for Jesus alone. Ann’s words are such a reminder of what is truly important.

  73. 93

    I just started blogging Ann and this is just what I needed to read today.
    Thank-you for your humble heart that shines for the LORD even across the miles onto my computer screen! ~
    Keep up the “good” work. I rejoice with you in your “success” which as defined in my devotions this morning is … “a heart fully surrendured to the LORD”… a life that seeks to serve him “wholeheartedly!” It appears that your life and more specifically your “blog” does just that. May all of your “followers” (God’s followers! ~) lives do the same.

  74. 94
    Anonymous says:

    The above comment is based on Scripture taken from 2 Chronicles 31:20 &21…
    I forgot to include it in my first comment because I have “many moments I mess-up” also! – Elizabeth ( again…)

  75. 95

    Thank you for your willingness to bear your soul! The Lord is using you my friend=)

  76. 96

    I am, due to health, unable to go out too much, so I see my blog as a ministry, a place where I bare my soul and share humorous stories about my family and our activities, and also where I share spiritual insights from the Bible. I also endeavor to show who I really am, in all my humanness, with losses I’ve experienced. It is my hope and prayer that my blogging ministry, my cyber-discipleship, will “teach younger women to love God and their husbands and homes and children, and to be kind and pure.” (Titus 2:2-4.)

  77. 97

    I am obviously late in reading this, but it expresses everything I’ve been thinking as a blogger. So thank you for reiterating my thoughts. :)

    Excuse me while I turn off my comments and blog upside down …

  78. 98

    Oh, dear, Ann, that’s my heart…
    I just began a blog two days ago – and didn’t take the time to write yesterday. I’m putting “write blog” on each of my 100 Days Calendar days now :) . I was feeling so low at the thought of having 20 views on my first day out (yay!) and then dropping the ball the second day. My thoughts were “And what I have I done to those who may become my readership? I have killed my chances for moving this simple blog forward, why go back?”
    Thank you for the much-needed perspective. I do write for an audience of One. Oh, how I claim those words as truth! Two days ago I began a carving that is my act of avodah for my Creator and Him alone. I have been disobedient in not using this gift I have and to not continue and not move forward and get stuck in the past is a trap. I do not write for self-glorification or compensation of any kind, only for God’s glory.
    Your words have renewed my passion. I am off to carving again, keeping your prayer in mind and heart.
    Blessings.

  79. 99

    I have been following your “Holy Experience” over the past year, read your book. I am so isolated and can’t seem to find a church home. I need fellowship with other women. I want to share my experience. Where to I go to read and start blogging??

  80. 100

    So very beautiful and meaningful to me. Blessings on you, Ann

  81. 101

    Thanks to you as you remind me anew that followers are not important, but reaching people for God is. Thank you as you remind me that it is in my stories that I can reach others, and Thank you for reminding me that God is really the author of all my stories, life lessons, and the birthing of growth, growth that can be scary, and yet exhilarating all at the same time. And as you have me consider if it would be possible to shut down the google analytics on blogger, so that I don’t see the numbers whenever I log in.

  82. 102

    Very cool blog you have. Post is impressive. I think you may enjoy visiting http://www.heavenshealthplan.com –Hope it inspires you!

  83. 103

    I love all of the points that you made, especially about it being a blog for Jesus and a platform to show him around the world. I also feel that we should blog about being overcomers, because being a Christian is not all about failing and misery. I think people should see that Christians are strong! But of course it’s through Jesus Christ. Christian blogs should serve as a platform to show others yes my past is messed up, yes I did some crazy things, but it’s my past and it doesn’t have to carry on into my present or my future. Through Christ we overcome, through Christ we learn not to make the same mistakes through Christ we become completely new creatures! We become like Jesus. Thanks again for sharing, God bless.

  84. 104

    God bless u…I’m speechless…that’s all I can think of. I’m new in this christian blogging thing and I want to be an upside down kingdom blogger. I have many questions to ask. Please help!

  85. 105

    Lovely things to pointout. I am really glad to read about.

  86. 106

    Thanks for this great article. I appreciate your poem and model prayer at the end. It’s easy to forget why we do what we do, even when our site is Christian based.

    Thanks for making such points, being that there are not many Christian blogs or Christians that are willing to take a stand.

    Thanks!
    Estevan Montoya

  87. 107

    Rebloging this at http://wwwgodlybloggers.blogspot.com. I bless God for this post. I needed it seriously. Lately i’ve been so concerned about people’s comment on my post. This is a call back to the order of things for me. God Bless you.

  88. 108

    Thanks for that wonderful article that’s remind to all blogger..
    http://freechristiansonglc.blogspot.com/2013/11/you-hold-my-world-lyrics-and-chords-by.html

  89. 109

    I am humbled…convicted…from the words that His Spirit used to reach deep inside of me.

    I have been blogging for a long time now. I start, write awhile, and loose focus, and quit writing. Then I start the cycle again.

    Do I have a story to tell? This is what I always asked myself. And in the end…it is really His Story.

    Thank you Ann…thank you.

    Mari

  90. 110

    What an inspiration for me to give my fears and reservations up to Him and finally start my own blog. Thank you!!!

    Brian

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  18. [...] ‘success’ should mean as a Christian blogger on the incourage blog. The post is titled: Six Things Every Christian Blogger Needs to Know. If you found this post interesting, I highly recommend reading Ann’s post. Rate this: [...]

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