So I need to tell you guys a story. It's the story of me and blogging which sounds a little weird that I'm blogging about blogging, but here we go.
I came across a blog for the first time in 2008. I didn't even know it was called a blog. I didn't know who this person was or what this whole world was. All I know is that when I read it, something sparked inside of me. I really liked reading what this person wrote (I still have no idea the name of the blog). I think I stopped reading because I didn't know the person and didn't want to be a stalker. I knew of a few people in my real life that kept personal blogs, and I continued to read theirs, and wanted to start my own, and I did, but I had no idea how to do any of the technical stuff, so I think I just gave up. I remember trying to post a few pictures, and they were massive, and it took me about 30 minutes to try to figure out how to resize a photo. That was way too stressful, so I just gave up. A couple years later, I started a different blog, because the desire never left me, and once again, I had no idea how to make it pretty, got overwhelmed with the tech stuff, and it eventually fizzled out as well. That was back in 2012, and I thought I had pretty much already missed the boat with blogging. It had already become a pretty popular thing, and I didn't think I'd have anything to say that hadn't already been said somewhere, and that there wasn't really enough room for another one of us at the table. I also didn't believe I was enough. I didn't think I was a good enough writer. I didn't think my story was interesting enough. Basically, I lived under a little rock called fear. Fear of being vulnerable online. Fear of not being liked if I actually did put myself out there. Fear of what my real life friends would think. And another rock I call "what if?" What if I really can't figure out the tech stuff? What if I end up not having enough time to devote to it? What if everything I write is a total flop?
At the time, I let the rocks of fear and what if's win. Although I still wanted to blog, I tried to crucify the desire as much as I could. And honestly, I sort of forgot about it for a while. Until one day, a little over a year ago. The desire cropped up again. But this time, it felt different and heavier than it ever did before. I realized the desire wasn't going anywhere. It's been there since 2008. I could keep living under the fear and the what if's, or I could take a risk and see what happens. I finally came to the point where the adventure of saying yes seemed more alive than the safety of saying no, as John Ortberg says. After I decided yes, God started speaking into all my fears. "Do you really think your story isn't good enough? Do you remember Who wrote it? Do you really think I write crappy stories? Do you think I gave you the gift of writing so you could keep looking at it, analyzing it, shaking the box and wondering what's in it like a kid on Christmas morning? No! I gave it to you to use it. And you're fears of what people will think of you, the few that really love you will be drawn in and cheer you on, the few that turn away and think you've totally gone off the deep end probably didn't really love you in the first place. And those logistical problems, don't let those get in the way of what is going to be one of those most life giving, purpose filled things for you." So I said, "Alright, alright, God, let's do this."
I went to my first blogging conference last weekend. As I got in the car and started driving, all I could think was, "Can you believe you're going to a blogging conference right now? You a year ago would've never in a million years believed that you today is doing this." I had to stop and pray and praise God that He allowed me to overcome my fears and what if's and do something that matters to me. And you know what? It was a blast. I was a little nervous because all the bloggers there we're pretty out of my niche, but I found it to be beneficial to hear from people that write about different things than I do. And I loved seeing other bloggers as faces, and not little avatars with the number of followers next to it. I had no idea if the person I was talking to was a "big blogger" or a "little blogger", they were just another person like me, throwing their creativity out on the internet and seeing what happens.
I got to hear from some awesome bloggers I look up to like Caroline, Jen, Erin, Shalyn, and Megan. And meet lots of new friends like Drea, Kara, Kathleen, Shelby, and Ana. It made me really excited to go to The Influence Conference in the fall and meet friends I've been getting to know online, like Tabitha and Malinda.
With all of that said, when I first started this blog I didn't have much of a plan or a vision or a specific pressing need I felt I was supposed to write about. There's a quote by MLK that says, "faith is like taking the first step when you don't see the whole staircase." That's what starting this blog was for me. Taking the first step and not seeing the whole staircase. But since I've taken the first step, I feel like I can finally see the second and third and maybe fourth steps. What I mean by that is that I finally have a clear vision. I see a need that I feel like God is calling me to speak into. A specific group of women that I somehow have influence with. In September 2015, I'll be stepping into that, and it won't be much of a "cheerleader for the ordinary girl" (my current tagline) type of blog anymore. But between now and then, I need to pray, seek wisdom and knowledge, walk some things out a little bit more than I currently am, and write what the Lord is calling me to say like He put me on earth to say it. That has left me wondering what to say in between now and September. I'm hoping to do more mosts like I'm currently doing, plus maybe a few more lighthearted posts that are also helpful.
Oh, and I made business cards a couple hours before the conference. I have never had business cards before and I was questioning whether or not to bring them, but I was really glad I did. If they were thinker and the writing was a little more legible I would totally use them again in the future.
Is there something you've always wanted to do, like me and blogging, but just haven't started it yet because of fear or what if's? Can I leave you with something? Life is waiting for you on the other side of fears, doubts, what if's and logistical challenges. It took me 6 years to realize that, but I pray it doesn't take you that long.