When Fear Leads to Freedom

"You are often paralyzed by fear. Instead of taking action on the things that keep pulling at your heart, you get out your phone and look at what other people are doing..." - Lara Casey, Make It Happen

These feelings were different than the "blogging burn out" so many talk about and warn against. No, after many days, weeks, and months of trying to figure out why in the world I could not write consistently, I have come to this realization. The uneasiness, the lack of motivation, the doubt, the questions...these seemed to be the Holy Spirit pulling on my heart. 

The past few weeks, well months really, if I am being honest, I have felt paralyzed when it comes to writing. I am sure many of you noticed I have been inconsistent with my posting and in and out here on the blog. I have had the hardest time articulating what has been happening within my heart and mind. For so long, I have been tormented with one question.

WHAT IS THE POINT OF MY BLOG? 

This question (and my inability to answer it) has haunted me. In a fearful panic, I began chasing after anything and everything to make my blog feel put together and official. I would be a "cooking/helpful tips" blog...or no, I could be a "handmade/small business" blog...or wait, maybe I could be a "design/inspiration" blog. Yet, still I was uneasy, refusing to sit down and write out my thoughts for days on end because, honestly, I did not know what to say. I could not move forward into those "things that keep pulling at my heart" as Lara Casey says in her new book, Make it Happen

These feelings were different than the "blogging burn out" so many talk about and warn against. No, after many days, weeks, and months of trying to figure out why in the world I could not write consistently, I have come to this realization. The uneasiness, the lack of motivation, the doubt, the questions...these seemed to be the Holy Spirit pulling on my heart. 

I began to see that I needed to step away and critically think through the purpose of my blog and presence on the Internet before I could move forward. As I have spent concentrated time thinking this through and talking with my husband and several others, here are a few things I have found to be true...

First, I struggle with desiring affirmation from others, so, naturally, in this online world that is closely affiliated with likes, followers, stats, and page views, I tend to fall into my flesh and sin.

First, I struggle with desiring affirmation from others, so, naturally, in this online world that is closely affiliated with likes, followers, stats, and page views, I tend to fall into my flesh and sin.

I have realized I need to posture my blog in such a way that doesn't allow me to feed that affirmation-craving beast hidden deep within me. I love reading how-to blogs, design blogs, food blogs, and business blogs, yet I have seen that, if Oh Simple Thoughts were solely one of these blogs, I would be able to justify my selfish desire for more followers, more likes, higher stats, and more page views...those are part of the business blog world, after all, right? This is a necessary part of these blogs, so it is not bad in itself, yet it feeds a sin in me with which I struggle. So lesson learned, I cannot allow my blog to become driven by numbers, or I will undoubtedly fall into a pattern that I see as unhealthy for my spiritual, emotional, and mental well being. 

Second, I have realized that my online and offline life must be balanced in a healthy way and that my offline life needs to take first priority. 

Community is a big buzz word online and in real life. We all desire to experience community, be in community, and share community with others. Yet, true community is about life on life. It is messy and inconvenient at times, and, most importantly, true community takes away our ability to have total control. This is scary, but necessary, to experience deep, real, family-like community. It is about people showing up unannounced and seeing our messy houses, imperfect marriages, and our sin...community has to see it all in order to truly be what it is, a family. 

When it comes to blogging and the internet, I often see the opposite of this. We say we are pursuing online community, yet, in reality, everything is under our total control. We dictate when we show up and when we shut the door, we filter what is put out there, we edit our words and images to fit our "brands". So while I believe elements of community can exist online, I am not sure that true Biblical community can ever fully be experienced on the Internet alone. 

Don't get me wrong. I have been blessed to meet so many amazing and inspirational women through the internet (honestly, some of my very best friends), yet I am learning something very important about online community....it is, by default, limited. This is why I feel my biggest priority must be placed on my physical community and then on my online community. 

Yet, true community is about life on life. It is messy and inconvenient at times, and, most importantly, true community takes away our ability to have total control. This is scary, but necessary, to experience deep, real, family-like community. It is about people showing up unannounced and seeing our messy houses, imperfect marriages, and our sin...community has to see it all in order to truly be what it is, a family. 

Finally, I have learned that my deep desire is to write, blog, instagram, tweet, share, and all the other social verb words for Jesus' name. 

Oh Simple Thoughts is about Jesus. I do not want it to be about me or my amazing recipes or my perfect marriage or my great fashion sense or my successful small business. Can I let you in on a little secret? None of those things exist...so why would I make an entire blog about fake things? I mess up in the kitchen on a regular basis. I fight with my husband and sin against him. I struggle to prevent my love for fashion and handmade business from mushrooming into discontentment and materialism. I struggle to keep my small business surrendered to the will of Jesus. I am soo far from perfect, and that is what Oh Simple Thoughts is about. 

This blog is a place to share real life. The good, the inspiring, the messy, the convicting, the challenging, and, sometimes, the stylish, yummy, and handmade. 

There has been a lot of learning happening within my heart the past month, but now I am here. I am ready to commit myself to this space and to show up here regularly, for the Lord's glory. I will be posting only 3 times a week and focusing on our community here in Starkville with more of my free time. But I am here friends, and I am eager to see the Lord make much of himself here at Oh Simple Thoughts. 

I have a heart so see the Internet used as a tool to bring glory to the Lord, and want to encourage others who have an online presence to consider the same thing. Will you join me tonight for my second #ohsimplechat on Twitter to talk about these things? I will be hanging out asking some questions for whoever wants to join in from 7-8pm CST tonight.