I made a mistake last year.
Well, to be fair, I make them every day. 😉
But this one…it was the kind that grated on me for a year. I just couldn’t get it out of my head. And I knew things needed to be different, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what I had done wrong. And, really, it took twelve months to process.
But this morning, as I sit down with my coffee and pour my heart out to you, I’m starting to see.
And, oh…it feels good to finally see.
So one of my dreams has been, for a long time, to “make it” in the blogging world…to become the next big blogger, whatever that looks like.
And what that DOES look like…well, I still haven’t quite figured that out. For a long time, I had it in my head that it meant tons of followers, comments, a platform the width of the world, lots of recognition. And, of course, a book deal to follow.
In reality it sounds like a lovely, perfectly-ordered dream, doesn’t it?
And there was a time…a span of about a year…when I chased that dream hard.
It was the kind of hard that stayed up until ungodly hours to read and comment and reply and read some more. And goodness, there’s nothing wrong with the reading and commenting part…because pouring encouragement into the lives of others is such an important part of community…whether online or in real life. But those things definitely shouldn’t have been taking place at one in the morning for this mama.
It had almost become an obsession…an exhausting one, but I was convinced it was worth it to go wide and to know and love and connect with as many people as possible. And then it all kind of crashed around me when I returned home from a conference just a year ago.
I’d spent so much time at that conference saying hello…and never going beyond that.
I’d done everything I could to go wide…and that’s what it was. Wide, not deep. (<==== Tweet this.)
That realization made me want to hide under the covers for maybe more than a month. But of course with a toddler, I hid for exactly 2.5 seconds before she ripped the covers back and joined me.
And then? Well, I promised myself that I’d pray through this and see what my Father wanted from all of it. Because in my heart, I knew He had something to teach me.
He answered by giving me A. YEAR. Oh, how to even tell you about a year that was full of no words, of loneliness, of broken dreams…I really can’t.
But can I whisper something to you? In some ways, that year brought beauty.
In the quiet, I found much-needed time to live the life that was in front of me. In stepping back a bit from writing, I found a way to release myself from the pressures I’d heaped upon myself. And in the broken dreams, I was surrounded by His promises.
And, maybe more than anything, what I needed was the reminder that to have a wonderful, meaningful life doesn’t mean having a platform so wide I’ll never truly know most people beyond a hi, hello, and a hug.
It doesn’t mean that I have to connect so much online that I never have time to connect in real life.
It doesn’t mean that having a hundred comments on my blog…or one…speaks anything of my significance.
It means, to me, that when I make the time to love someone…to know them, pray for them, be there for them…that creates a depth of friendship that is so much more precious than a thousand hellos.
I feel like I’m finally finding meaning in the deep instead of the wide. (<====Tweet this.)
The deep that looks like hours of chatting over coffee, the kind that cries with a friend on a really bad day, and the kind that also happy dances all over the place to share in a celebration.
I’ve purposely allowed quiet into my life in order to go deep, and it has been glorious. I read blogs and catch up on commenting when I have a few minutes here or there. I’m finding other ways to encourage those I love…and I’m still working on that.
But there’s been something so beautiful about this deep.
And while I still crave connection and friendship, more than ever I desire those things for the beautiful encouragement and love they bring into my life. Every day I want to choose the life He has for me without pushing for more than is meant for me.
I’ll take the gifts as they come…and you, my friends, are some of those beautiful gifts.
How can we pray for each other today?
Photo Credit: Kim DeLoach Photography
Shared by: Mel Schroeder