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Reevaluating…

February 16, 2010
i knew when steven was gonna post here it was gonna be good. steven…you didnt let me down. most of you probably dont know steven. but he and i go way back. well, like a year plus way back. we used to do a little podcast with a friend called deuce + 1. it was goofy. it was us. it was short lived then we all went our separate ways. i’ll let steven explain the rest…
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Wow. Blogging again. Nice.
Even if it is is someone else’s house (thanks Tam!).
And for the record. I hate the word blog. It just sounds so…<shudder>.
I prefer the term journaling.
I think it sounds more along the lines of what should be going on here.
Journaling. Sharing. Being open with all the junk in your trunk.
No. Not your butt. Your past, silly.
So often it seems to me what is going on in the Twitterverse, the Facebookverse, and the personal websiteverse.
There are so many blogs out there that I have completely stopped reading based on the fact that they became so self centered.
You know the ones I am talking about. The ones that are all “look at me,” “check out my stuff,” and “please comment on my site.”
What is the point if that is all you are after?
Spend that energy changing the world. Doing something that has an impact.
When did we get so self-centered thinking anyone cared about reading our on-line pep-talk to ourselves.
And for the record, I am talking to me, too.
Because you see, being that way almost cost me everything.
I had a blog (ugh…that word) once upon a time. As a matter of fact, I had a blog, a Facebook, a YouTube account, a Twitter account, and a Flickr account. All of which were dedicated to the purpose of making me as popular as possible.
I cared more about what others thought about me than I did what my wife and kids did.
I tried anything and everything others were doing to make my blog/twitter/photos/video as popular as those I was reading elsewhere.
All the while losing myself in it all. I was wearing so many masks during that time of my life I had no idea what I looked like myself.
I was living a lie.
I claimed to be a Christian. I wasn’t. I was just playing one on-line and in life.
I claimed to be a lot of stuff I wasn’t.
Truth is, at the time I was a horrible husband and father.
Then one day it all came tumbling down.
Things I had been covering up suddenly all boiled to the surface at once.
And in that moment of darkness. Of utter despair. Of absolute rock bottom. Things could have gone a lot of ways.
But I learned in that moment that second chances are a wonderful thing.
And now, I care a lot less about blogging (don’t have one) and trying to be like everyone else.
I have a Twitter. And a Facebook.
But my focus on both has changed. I try and surround myself with people that can both encourage me spiritually and people that inspire me.
I want to initiate change.
I want to lead. Not follow.
I want community. Not an ego boost.
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18 Comments leave one →
  1. TheNorEaster permalink
    February 17, 2010 4:07 am

    I started my blog about a year after I shared my experiences in The Gulf Coast with church after a mission trip to help with the rebuilding. What I shared that day became my first Essay. But I still remember all the adjectives I got after reading that Essay at church: great, wonderful, fantastic, tremendous, etc. I couldn’t believe it-not so much because I lack confidence in my writing ability (though Blackberry needs to make a bigger keyboard), but because of the subject matter I had covered.

    When my pastor said, “I thought what you wrote was great”, my response was, “I definitely paid for it.” All that loss in such a short was extremely humiliating. But I remember also wanting to, as you’ve said, “make an impact”. But I am a private person; always have been. So I chose a pen name based on the theme of my blog. I have no photographs of me up, neither in my avatar nor on my blog. I have no interest in being young or hip or cool or whatever. Popular, I guess you’d say.

    But there are times I kind of think I have made some sort of impact. Perhaps even a positive one. But I know what you mean about the “all about me” mantra; that and a dreadul personal experience last spring with a self-proclaimed pastor have brought to the point of silence. He was a blogger, by the way, and I had told him about my struggles with wanting to end my own life. He kind of just sort of took it with a grain of salt. I was devastated. And as I look around and see so much more of the “popular” mentality, I find myself wondering, “Maybe I have something to say, but is it really worth it for me write?”. I have my doubts these days-so much so that I have stopped publishing material on my blog for the foreseeable future. It is not a pleasant experience to be welcomed on Palm Sunday and crucified on Good Friday, but that is precisely what the church does and, in many wayssw, continues to do.

    I guess I just ran out of resurrections, if you’ll pardon the spiritual analogy.

    I miss writing. Miss the passion I had for it. Miss the depth of conviction I felt for each and every word.

    But writing and blogging are two very different things, in my opinion. And though I had hoped to keep writinbg for my blog until my fingers had some nasty arthritis, I can’t say as I much see the point anymore.

    And I’m certain, somehow, that I have said too much here already…

  2. February 17, 2010 5:39 am

    Oh. I am totally there with you.

    And I am by no means saying that writing our journaling or blogging is a bad thing.

    If done for the right reason.

    Carlos Whittaker has something special going at Ragamuffin Soul. And I am quite certain his heart is in the right place.

    But there are a lot of people who have blogs simply because they are trying to be Carlos.

    And that isn’t cool.

    If more people wrote from the hearts, shared their pain, their past, their failures…things would be so different.

    But as it were, it seems that blogs like the ones I described are few and far between.

    …and for the record…Tam has one of those special places here. This isn’t s much a blog anymore as it is a community of friends that come together. And it is a beautiful thing.

  3. February 17, 2010 6:36 am

    “…community. Not an ego boost.”
    This is the VERY reason I love to blog. I’m not always a consistent blogger myself–don’t have the time to come up with cool blogs. But I love reading up on the posts from people I love.

    • February 17, 2010 7:33 am

      That is awesome. And I just want to re-iterate. I am NOT anti-blogging (although I do still hate that word).

      I love to write.

      And in writing this post, I have given thought to making my own spot to share.

      But I am having an internal discussion.

      Making sure I am doing it for all the right reasons.

      Tam has something special here. Something you don’t find on many places on-line these days.

  4. February 17, 2010 9:46 am

    I recently wrote a post on this. My husband and I had a conversation on what I wanted my blog’s platform to be. I want to make an impact in people’s lives. To share where I’ve messed up and God’s graces covered. The passions God has given me for the lost, broken, and those in poverty. I have few readers and frankly I’m pretty cool with that. If God wants to “explode” my readership…that is up to HIM. I’ll just share my heart of what He puts in there.

  5. February 17, 2010 10:03 am

    Good word. Thanks for sharing. If you did have an unmentionable, I’d read it. Not because you’re popular, but cuz maybe you could inspire me to get off my trunk and change the world.

    • February 17, 2010 8:20 pm

      Thank you so much.

      Maybe swing by stevn10.posterous.com and you might find something.

  6. February 17, 2010 10:32 am

    I had one of those blogs once and I grew to resent it. Once I reached the point where it was at a high popularity point locally to where it was a virtual news source for the town I realized the damage it was doing to my family. I love to write and I loved what I was doing but it just got out of hand. The day I felt God tell me to end it was one of the happiest days of my life.

    I intended never to blog again…but I love to write. Shortly after hitting my new town and having a rather bad thing happen I had all these emotions and a journal wasn’t cutting it. I felt I should blog and just be me…and not worry about what people thought about it or even if people responded.

    So now I write about what I struggle with or the lessons I’ve learned or whatever is on my mind. Some will likely call it selfish but it’s really just me with an online journal of sorts. I get about 1/100th the number of hits per day than I had with my old blog but it’s fun and meaningful again. God’s blessed me to allow the stories I’ve shared of what I’ve walked through to bless and challenge others.

    The best part? Even if there were zero readers I know God said “you love to write, kid. So go ahead and do it.”

  7. February 17, 2010 11:00 am

    I think you’re so right about the intentions of why we doing anything. To say I have been blessed by my blog is the biggest understatement I could make. The community that has formed has filled such a space in my secluded existence and I value each and every one of them so much. I don’t have a big blog… I don’t have a huge number of hits… and I can’t say I really have a goal for what I want people to get from it. I just want to share my life so people can share theirs with me. When I was too sick to write this summer, getting emails from people who have become my friends, not my readers, kept me going. I’m not worried how many come visit… I’m just grateful for the ones who do.

  8. February 17, 2010 12:52 pm

    Thanks so much for all the feedback from everyone.

    I tell you this much, I identify so much with Jason. In fact, I am inspired by him. I can’t wait to get off work tonight and go read his stuff.

    I am in the same boat as he is. I love to write. It is my outlet for the stuff that fills my head on a daily basis.

    I just had to get to the point where I made sure I was doing it for the right reasons.

    Looking forward to getting home tonight and reading all of ya’lls stuff. And thanks so much for reading what I had to say.

  9. February 17, 2010 1:39 pm

    I needed to hear this! I have only been blogging for about 10 months and but already I’ve been feeling this pressure to join networks and write posts all so that people will follow my blog and comment on it. But that’s not why I started in the first place. I wanted an outlet to share with others what God was showing me and to connect with people. Reading this has reminded me to make sure that the focus of my blog is not just me…something that has begun to happen recently. I have some serious rethinking to do. Thanks!

    • February 17, 2010 8:22 pm

      Write from your heart and you’ll never go wrong.

      And you are a very gifted writer.

      God will deliver the people to your message.

  10. February 17, 2010 3:06 pm

    Thanks Steven. Very interesting journey. I’m enjoying building a network of relationships online through Twitter, Facebook, a blog, etc., and I can really see their benefits… and their dark side. I’m trying to listen well to voices like yours, and avoid some of the traps of tech-social-media game. Balance. Healthy, God-honoring balance. And my basic guiding bullet points for engaging in online life are these: Is what I am writing and doing online helping me and other people love God and love other people with greater depth. If so, thumbs up. If not, it’s time to reevaluate again. And my last (actually first) gauge for continuing or reversing direction in my online activity is this: Is it healthy for my family life. If not, it’s time to scale back or switch strategy or STOP. This was a great read. Thanks for your honesty.

  11. February 17, 2010 8:42 pm

    steven, i remember, not too long ago, being so distracted by my stats and followers. thinking about it now, it makes me physically sick to my stomach and embarrassed. not one follower, not one “good day” of stats, no amt of subscribers will, or can, add a single day to my life. none of it dictates my eternity. my relationship and standing with God does not depend on those things. yet…all those things can get in the way of it all. its a real problem for some. i see it every day. much easier now – now that ive been there myself.

    it takes a healthy dose of security and destruction of pride (as much as possible) to walk away and reevaluate. your involvement now, the words you choose to share, will reach deeper now because of the place they come from.

    im proud of you friend. very much so!

    • February 17, 2010 9:48 pm

      You are an inspiration. And a friend. And I appreciate the words. I really do.

      Coming back to writing is something I have struggled with since I left it.

      Honestly, I have started a blog again before and deleted it the next day because I just wanted to do it for the right reasons.

      But the desire to write just burns stronger each time it seems.

      So maybe there is something there. Something that needs to get out.

      Maybe no one will read it. Maybe no one will comment.

      Maybe I just need to see some days what I am dealing with in my own head.

      God brought me through a very dark place. And although I still am battling with the demons of past and regret and shame, I am stronger each time having fought them before.

      I have been quiet for a long while now….

      But now. I write.

  12. February 17, 2010 9:50 pm

    Forgot to include the link…

    Keep me accountable, ya’ll.

    If you see it becoming about me…call me out.

    But I think those days are behind me.

    http://stevn10.posterous.com

  13. TheNorEaster permalink
    February 18, 2010 1:34 am

    I miss that fire…

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