Discouragement sometimes gets the better of us.
A friend shared someone's Christian post again and I finally went and looked at the person's page. Scrolled down and read several of her posts. Noted she has over 3000 followers who make a lot of comments. She puts daily little inspirational things. And her followers are greatly encouraged.
Keep yourself under control. ... God is training you to trust Him....
Stay kind. ... you are trusting the Holy Spirit enough to be your true self...
Never regret a day in your life. ... God is within you, you will not fall. ...
And the dangerous comparison game began leading to discontentment.
I've got few followers. No one is very interested in what I have to say. And the discouragement sometimes overwhelms me. Why am I spending years of my life on this? Is it really what God wants me to do? Is this really a good use of what time I have left? Would serving somewhere have more impact on His kingdom?
And so I reason in my head.
Is my heart in the right place?
Maybe if I get a little more personal about my own life then people would be interested.
Maybe I should shut it all down and free up my time.
Maybe I should re-design my web page, take a new headshot, lighten up,... write pithy little words of encouragement... fill in the blank.
The truth is I'm a nerd. I am very much vanilla ice cream. I'm not that interesting of a person in real life. I like to read. I like to learn. I like to talk about what I'm learning. I like to discuss big ideas. I like to think deep. I'm not a great writer. I'm old to be doing this. Seems like all the Christian people with lots of followers are young and cool. I'm definitely not cool.
One friend told me I'm too scholarly. She seemed to say it in a condescending way. She must not look at theological websites which some are reeeeaaaallllly boring and waaaay over my head. Those are scholarly. I'm several levels below that. Intentionally so.
One friend told me I'm too convicting. Well, I have a pretty high view of God as the Almighty and of me as a slug compared to His majesty and it is kind of hard not to let that seep into what I'm writing.
I've taken their comments into account. I'm trying to teach some big ideas in an every day way. I want to raise people up in their thinking, not the trend of lowering myself to the least common denominator. I do want to be convicting, but maybe not so much. I am convicted each and every day - of my sin, of my failings, of my smallness.
I scrolled through my blogs and saw 14 read that one, 105 that one, 405 that one, 22 that one - and I thought it took me hours to research and write each one. Discouraged.
And so I pray a lot about this webpage. I felt really strongly when I started that God wanted me to share what I've learned. That it was my calling. He has repeatedly told me 'It isn't about the numbers.' We so often equate numbers = making a difference. I know that is a lie. But I get sucked into it every now and then.
I sat here this afternoon working on facilitating a discussion for our Bible study next week. We have in previous weeks discussed the evidence of the crucifixion and the resurrection and the deity of Christ. Big deep topics. This week we will be discussing the Trinity, Substitutionary Atonement (Jesus is able to take and pay for the sins of man), and Soteriology (the study of salvation.) I know I've written a blog talking about the doctrine of substitutionary atonement. I spent a lot of time looking for it and I can't find it. (Ha. I so need to get my act together because if I can't find it, I'll have to look the information up again. Passion to Know More website needs a lot of organization. Something I don't feel like doing so I don't. Big procrastinator here.)
And suddenly I realized I am so blessed. I have this group of women who are passionate to learn! Who keep showing up at my house week in and week out. We go deep. Really deep. And they find it fascinating. We don't do fluff. I never really have been good at fluff. I only have a certain amount of time to spend in Bible study. It had better be worth my time and their time. These ladies; they have a passionate pursuit of Jesus! And they are purposeful! Their enthusiasm keeps my enthusiasm fueled. We re-charge each other. And I have no doubt it is God's doing bringing us together.
This afternoon I called a friend to check on her. She has a loved one who is quite sick. We got talking and she said she loves a book I recommended to her. That she reads a small portion of it and then goes to the Bible and reads it. She said she is learning so much. It made me smile.
God has brought people into my life who are interested in learning more of Him. And I realize He has brought people to my webpage who have the same interests I do. And all of them keep me passionate about learning. The website is growing me.
I am making a difference to others. My life isn't wasted. And I'm being changed in the whole process. The discouragement evaporated. My spirit smiled.
I believe every place we are in our life that God is sovereign over it. If He opens a door for us, there is a reason. If He shuts a door, there is a reason. I am right where He wants me right now. If that changes, He will let me know. I need to quit comparing myself to the witty, funny, beautiful, young, profound people out there. It isn't a competition. It never was. I need to be content.
Besides the majority of what I write about is stuff I would have studied anyways. I minus well continue to share what I'm learning.
I know what I do here is not everyone's cup of tea. It may be too scholarly or too convicting or too boring for some. I wish I appealed to the masses, but the truth is that probably isn't ever going to happen. This vanilla ice cream needs to be content being vanilla ice cream. It is a good and trustworthy God in control. I need to sometimes remind myself it isn't about pleasing the masses. It never was.
To the few of you who are reading this. Thank you. I mean that. Truly. I hope Passion to Know More has taught you something at some point. That would make my day.
Thanks for being part of my spiritual journey!