Tonight I sit to face my three hundredth post. Four years ago I got the hair-brained idea to start a blog. Like very few of my hair-brained ideas, somehow the habit stuck and so here we are...still together...you, me, and my random rants on life, love, and sanity in the early years of child rearing. In honor of this milestone (and to rationalize the hours spent on this website when I could have done so much else), I would like to pause a moment to reflect on what this blog has taught me.
OK...I'm good now. I can move on to the post I actually want to do that involves the insane idea to live "tech-free" for the first seven days of each month. Wait...what's that? You want to know my reflections on blogging? Well then...
Blogging has been a hobby, one of the only hobbies I have besides reading and cruising Walmart (that second hobby actually declines in enjoyment in direction proportion to the number of children crammed in your cart.) Through the early years of kiddos, blogging has been a way to keep writing and thinking and forcing myself to use complete sentences. I had almost forgotten how much I enjoy writing, how so often my own thoughts are discovered as I write them- not as I say them.
Blogging has provided connection. In a very basic way, the blog has allowed a lot of people to keep generally updated on our lives. It's nice to see an old friend, have them walk up and say, "How's the new cat working out?" It's kind of like you can skip the total update, like you are still chatting here and there and have a general feel for life in their kitchen (life in ours involves yogurt on the ceiling, not sure if I mentioned that random fact yet but it is true.)
I am at my best when I am thinking about how I live. I tend to have this false assumption that my auto-pilot is pretty dang good. But it's not. I get in ruts. I lose my zing. I stop singing to my kids. I say and do and cook and wash the same things...and if I am not thinking about how I am living, it just gets out of whack. Blogging is a good remedy for that, because nobody wants to read "The theme of my blog is I'm stuck in a rut and cranky about life." Sure, there are those
"Come and hear, all who fear God, and I will tell you what he has done for my soul." Psalm 66:16- I don't know why it is so hard as believers to talk about the things that are really going on in our hearts, the shaping of our souls that is causing us tears of frustration and relief. I admit that I am worst than most, partially because I don't often contemplate the state of my soul and partially because I tend to take forever to actually say meaningful things. But my blog has opened up a lot of that, allowed for the self-reflection to discover some soul rumblings and the medium to actually share it. I am thankful for that.
I get blog envy. I have almost stopped reading other blogs entirely because there was a point when I became so defeated with comparing myself to other bloggers. Sometimes it would be the actual yee-haw look of their blog, or sometimes just the crafty, organic, TV-free, better-than-me-ness of their life. As some point I just said, "Oh sheesh. Who cares? I am what I am. My kids are what they are. My husband likes it that way. And I have to just stop reading these." So I did. And that change was for the good.
"You didn't hear about my miscarriage? Just read the blog." As someone who can be a bit emotionally-constipated (a term my husband coined just for me), I can err on the side of thinking that as long as I write about it, that counts as telling someone. Uh....kind of. But really, should your close friends and family need to read your blog to know that something big is happening in you? That just doesn't settle well. It's not exactly transparency just because you post it on the internet. I think that sometimes the blog allows me to feel like I've shared something without doing the grueling work of looking someone in the face and saying it. That's an area I need to grow in.
Blog thrives as relationships wither. At one point I was thinking about a close friend who I am not in contact with, and how often she seemed to post on facebook. Time for facebook but not time for me, I thought. How ironic. How hypocritical of me. How ugly. One of the reasons I stopped reading random people's blogs (besides the bizarre guilt side effect) is because I wanted to use the internet more to maintain real relationships instead of create false ones. But that is hard. I'm not a big e-mailer. Facebook is just...tedious. And so a lot of time has been spent building my little corner of the internet, when it could have gone to encouraging and keeping in touch with people who really are dear to me.
The great lie: If I blog about it, then it matters. No!!!! What I do matters, and sometimes I blog about it. There is a great danger, a subtle trap, in believing that if I write about my humdrum life as a wrangler of three, then that will make it important. Then people will know of my sacrifices, my struggles, the price I pay and the fact that I am doing a damn fine job. Dear friends, this could not be further from the truth. Repeat this to yourself: What I do is significant because God has given it to me to do and because I do it for His glory. My daily life is significant, because Whom I serve is significant, and anything done in service to Him is eternal. I must often remind myself that (in the words of Sara Groves) "I live and breathe for an audience of One." Live, breathe, blog for the King. And if that can encourage others to do the same- great. But don't fall into the trap of doing it for readers' approval. I have been there and it is empty.
It's funny when I read tips from big-time bloggers (you know- the ones who get paid to blog? I got to figure out how to get in on that). I find that I break most of the major rules (post often, post on specific topics, interact on other blogs, use high quality pictures, know who you are as a blogger, blah blah blah). I don't really have an agenda; heck, I don't even have a grocery list half the time. I'm just trying to love Jesus. To raise kids who are "citizens of heaven who are of some earthly good." (Augustine) Trying to love my husband more and myself less. And then there's all the details that I thought I had figured out, things like friendship and church and compassion and discipline, that seem to need to be re-figured out in each season. And somewhere in the midst of all that, blogging has been a steadying force, something that pulls me back to earth and settles my heart. And so I just keep doing it.
One of the great paradoxes of being a mom is that you contemplate things like "How did yogurt get on the kitchen ceiling?" in the same breath as "How can I help my son love God's Word?" So many details of the day are totally inconsequential, but there are moments that are key. And somehow you have to not waste too many brain cells down the rabbit trail of "How did yogurt get there? Who did it? Where else is it? Did the neighbor notice? How will I get it down?" so that you have a few left when your son turns to you at lunch and says, "How do we know the Bible is true?" Somehow, blogging is a tool that helps the little things stay little.
And, in the words of Forrest, that's all I have to say about that.
This post would be incomplete without a note of thanks to those of you who read and have encouraged me in this over the years. Those of you who stuck with me through the "Aaack! I'm so swollen" pregnancy posts and the "I am obsessed with paint swatches" posts are to be commended. My sincere thanks.
So here's to 300 more posts. I was going to end with some resolutions, goals in regards to blogging, posting more frequently, etc. But I'm not into those lately. In fact, I have to come to terms with the reality that my new pursuit of being who I want to be may involve less blogging. I don't hope for that, but I want to remind myself (and you!) that the goal is not to blog but to love Jesus. As long as blogging (or reading blogs) is getting us there, great. But if it ever ceases to bring that about, I hope I can graciously let it go.
And that's all she wrote.