Blogging Wisdom From My Wife

by Mike Leake on May 14, 2013 · 19 comments

A couple years ago I was dealing with a bout of deep discouragement. Actually that’s the sanitized wording for it. The more accurate description would be “wounded pride”. I had been working my tail off in blogging and writing and I was still barely getting traffic.

I whined to my wife. “I don’t think anybody is even reading my stuff. Is it even worth my time and effort?”

Those are good questions to ask. But my wife knows me and she knows my passion for writing. She knew that this was not a reasoned assessment of whether or not my time was being wasted on writing. She was able to see through the facade and I believe hear the hellish voice of pride.

Her response was both comforting and painful at the same moment:

“The most important Person in the universe reads your blog every day”.

With this one sentence she confronted my pride and begged my soul to ask a very shaping question; would the audience of Yahweh be enough? Am I writing for the Lord’s fame or am I writing to try to establish my own?

If I’m writing to establish my own fame then I get wounded whenever I write an article that disappears into the ether. If I am writing for the Lord’s fame then I am able to rest in His sovereign goodness and hope that when He read my article it was pleasing in His sight. His smile is enough.

For those feeling the allure of fame the smile of God seems like a second place prize. Blog traffic is similar to money. How much blog traffic do you need? Just as with money for those battling greed, the answer is always, “More!”

At this point I want to encourage those like myself that are laboring for a smaller audience. Actually, no matter how “famous” your blog is, you’re never satisfied unless you are satisfied in the Lord. Even if you receive 2 million hits per day the most important “visitor” to your blog is the Lord Jesus. My wife’s counsel is for all of us, no matter where we land on the scale of fame. Do you pursue His fame or your own? Do you rest in His smile or are you always craving more?

I appreciate my wife’s gentle correction on that day. I still battle resting in the Lord’s smile, but at least my eyes are open now to the fight that needs to take place every day.

1 Chris Tolbert May 14, 2013 at 8:51 am

Ouch. Nailed me, too. I’ve given in to the discouragement of low traffic and your wife has given me a gentle rebuke and reminder as well. Thank you.

2 Tom Fillinger May 14, 2013 at 9:09 am

Mike,

Getting started is often labeled ‘writer’s block’. It would more appropriately, as your dear wife noted, be labeled “wretched pride!” If I don’t write it I can’t fail, won’t know if there are only 3 readers in the whole country.

Getting started is liberating. Once you crack that awful bondage of pride, know the freedom and delight of the Holy Spirit Who is enabling, the rest is often like squezzing tooth paste out of the tube.

Then we hit the next “pride” obstacle – - that wretched editor.

The challenges never end put Nike got it correct – JUST DO IT!!

Thanks for a humbling, accurate and liberating piece for all ‘perspiring’ writers to consume and apply.

In Grace,
Tom

3 Bruce H. May 14, 2013 at 9:11 am

I don’t blog but I do like to comment. I enjoyed going on CBS and commenting on the religious stories. That would bring in the atheist and evolutionist like blood in the water for a shark. (Talking about a mean group of people!) It was fun getting their attention and then telling them about Jesus. At the bottom of your comment was a “Like” button. That is what I enjoyed the most. Eventually, CBS or Disqus blocked me. Wonder why? lol. I think the same can be said about us who simply like to comment. We like knowing someone agrees with what we have said, too.

4 John Wylie May 14, 2013 at 9:16 am

First of all, great article. Man I needed to be reminded of this today. But as I was reading this tears came to my eyes and I was thinking is there anything more precious than a godly, faithful wife?

5 Mike Leake May 14, 2013 at 9:20 am

Absolutely! I read Proverbs 31 on Sunday morning before the church…and almost started crying because of the amazing gift that the Lord has given me. I don’t deserve such a faithful wife but the Lord in His grace has provided.

6 Bruce H. May 14, 2013 at 9:32 am

Mike,

I think it is God’s grace, too, that makes you able to recognize the virtue in her.

7 Dave Miller May 14, 2013 at 9:32 am

i hope I can say this and not come off wrong. I’ve been in the “Is anyone reading this” blog phase, and now, at SBC Voices there is a slightly larger readership.

One thing I know. I need to write for the audience that matters – his glory not mine. It is easy to get sidetracked into chasing numbers.

Great reminder, Mike.

8 Ben Coleman May 14, 2013 at 10:21 am

I think the same thing can apply to those of us who are primarily commenters. It certainly applies to me at times. You make a comment you think is somewhat insightful (not that all of mine are), and no one replies to it. The resulting emotion is more “wounded pride” than anything else.

9 Mike Leake May 14, 2013 at 10:27 am

Good point, Ben.

10 Bruce H. May 14, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Ben,

Deja Vu!

11 Dave Miller May 15, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Blogging is that weird thing. Sometimes I write a post that I think is really good and it just falls flat.

Maybe God does that just to remind me that its not about anyone’s opinion but his.

12 Christiane May 15, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Amen.

13 Christiane May 14, 2013 at 2:29 pm

if someone wants to increase their ability to write in a way that honors Our Lord,

try ‘responsive writing’ to a thought-unit in the Psalms

I’m not exactly SURE of the dynamic here, but something happens that is different in your writing in this particular situation

try it, those of you who ‘want to write’ . . . you may find that your best writing ‘voice’ can be found in pondering what is holy, and responding to it from your spirit

in any case, it will help you in ways unforeseen

14 Jim Pemberton May 14, 2013 at 2:52 pm

I was listening to Jill Savage on Focus on the Family. She said this: “One of the places I was contributing negatively [to my marriage] is I wasn’t being emotionally vulnerable to my husband… so it caused him to not feel needed.” She hit on something important there. In any organization a culture of trust is built on being needed and relying on each other for the particular gifts we have to contribute. If someone doesn’t feel needed for what they have to offer, then they feel hurt.

Sure, it’s easy to play the pride card. We’re certainly guilty of that. But simply acknowledging that doesn’t address the fundamental issue. Our audience is indeed God and we need please him rather than men. However, God made us to use our gifts in community.

I’m convinced that many people don’t stay with a church simply because they aren’t needed there. That’s not the only reason, obviously, but it’s a reason that often overlooked. Many churches function well as clubs to attend, but they don’t function well as the Body of Christ because they are content to let most of their membership contribute their bodies as fat and flab. The fat is that they are well edified, but most will burn off if the Body got into shape. The flab are those members that would otherwise be like strong muscles but are never exercised and atrophy into useless flesh.

If I were to estimate my value as a member of the Body of Christ, I would have to conclude that I really suck as an instrument of God. I’m flab. Everything I can think of to do is already being done by other people – sometimes the same people filling multiple roles. The most productive thing I do is pray and I’m not even all that good at that. Most of you all are pastors. With such a noble calling, how can you complain? You get to be used by God to admonish the church every week and counsel people each day. Easy? No. But nothing truly rewarding ever really is.

15 Mike Leake May 14, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Jim,

I’m chewing on your comment. There is a good deal of it that I affirm. I really like your second paragraph with the flab and fat analogy. That’s a good one. And I also agree that God has made us to use our gifts in community. I further agree that ministers and others can fail in training people to do the work of ministry.

Yet something still isn’t sitting well with me. I can’t quite put my finger on it. I think I’m simply unsettled by the idea that you aren’t able to do things that aren’t already being done. I wish I could even ask an intelligent question to understand more….so I’ll just keep chewing. This is my comment to tell you that I’m chewing on your comment.

16 Jim Pemberton May 14, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Thanks, Mike. There are years of frustration and baggage behind that comment. I’m probably wrong about something in all of it, but the short of it is a tension between two things I sense: One is a deep desire to serve God and the other is a significant failure in accomplishing it that I’m not equipped to identify accurately:

Namely, I hear people testify that they did God’s will for their life because all the doors opened up and it suited them perfectly. On the other hand, I hear people tell of the struggle to accomplish God’s will for their life against all odds so to speak because they knew it was what God had for them to do. Am I not struggling hard enough, or has God not opened the doors, or do I just lack direction? Should I just sit back and be satisfied with not contributing much to the kingdom effort, or am I contributing more than I realize? That’s another possibility. I just don’t seem to have enough information to proceed intelligently. It’s like the Forrest Gump method of Christian ministry.

17 Mike Leake May 14, 2013 at 4:04 pm

Jim,

If you desire shoot me an email.
mike [at] fbjasper [dot] org

I’d love to discuss some of this. Honestly, just to be an ear. I think the “unsettling” part was the “baggage and frustration”.

18 Christiane May 15, 2013 at 12:31 pm

“I just don’t seem to have enough information to proceed intelligently.”

if truth be known, most Christian people come to a place where they sit down and ask God for direction . . . it is not uncommon to have a time of prayer and patient waiting to be ‘shown the way forward’ . . .

in the 1300′s, Birgitta of Sweden recorded this prayer:

“O Lord, make haste and illumine the night.
Say to my soul
that nothing happens without Your permitting it,
and that nothing of what You permit is without comfort.
O Jesus, Son of God,
You Who were silent in the presence of Your accusers,
restrain my tongue
until I find what should say and how to say it.
Show me the way and make me ready to follow it.
It is dangerous to delay, yet perilous to go forward.
Answer my petition and show me the way.
I come to You as the wounded go to the physician in search of aid.
Give peace, O Lord, to my heart. ”

For that element of ‘anxiety’ that comes from not knowing . . . here is some insight from Tolkien . . . reading it, I am reassured about our perspective will change when our eyes refocus on the light of the Risen Christ:

” There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach. ” (JRR Tolkien, The Return of the King)

19 Ben Coleman May 14, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Yeah, that’s definitely chewable.

I don’t think Mike is advocating stopping writing (or commenting) because of the pride factor. Sounds more a matter of are you doing it because it’s what God wants you to do, or because you expect the results to be ego-satisfying (or, sometimes, a mixture).

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