*This is one of those posts where I’m about to ramble. And I really do hope you’ll stick around and read the whole thing, but if you don’t, I understand.
I’m going to ramble and I’m going to humble myself enough to admit some major flaws.
Have you ever read something that put a lump in your throat and a knot in your stomach? Did it cause your brain to spin and leave you stopping and jotting down your thoughts throughout the rest of the day? Or the rest of the week? Or month?
Have you ever read something that really opened your eyes and helped you see things so much more clearly?
I’ve been blogging for nearly five years. The first couple of years I was just kind of wading through. I’d update a couple of times a month and I don’t think my own parents even cared to read it. I thought it would be fun to update on life and occasionally “journal” about what it was like to be an engaged girl.
In those early days I wasn’t on Twitter. I don’t even think Twitter existed. Did it? I don’t know. I only read a handful of blogs and they were all written by women who were in very similar life stages. It was so much fun developing and growing such a great little community of newlyweds.
My blog grew, my readership grew, I got a new blog design, I had a baby, I started staying at home. And I realized how much I would come to rely on that community. I trust these women (you). They are my friends. We’re all going through life together and we’re spread out all over the country.
So all of a sudden there are people that are reading and coming back every day to see what I have to say. And the idea that I had any kind of opportunity or even responsibility was lost on me.
Eventually there were people who wanted to advertise their small businesses on my blog. So I wanted to help them do that because it seemed to be mutually beneficial for both of us.
Then in the summer of 2011, I decided to place BlogHer ads on my blog and start writing sponsored content for BlogHer. I love to write. I only accept sponsored posts from products and companies that I actually pay good money for. And I know that this content isn’t what everyone wants to read.
I promise this post isn’t about how my blog grew or how “cluttered” my blog has gotten with sponsored content. But I’m getting there. I promise, there’s a point!
It has been my goal through all of this growing and changing to make sure that my true voice is still very present on my blog despite the sponsored posts, which are written by me in my true voice, by the way. But I can see how it can alienate people.
I’ve been praying about the direction of my blog for a while now. After many months of wondering how to slow down this fast cycle where it feels like my blog is spinning to a place that is beyond my control, I found “Be Quiet & Say Something.”
In the eBook, Jessi talks about how we all have influence. As a mother, a wife, a blogger, a church member, a friend, a sister, a daughter, a volunteer… we all have influence over the people in our lives. We have a story to tell. And it is so important to me to be glorifying Jesus in my story. It’s important to me to use that influence for Him.
And in reading that, I realized that all of this “extra” stuff I’ve had the opportunity to do has very good intentions. My heart was absolutely in the right place. And while I do very openly talk about my faith, I was missing a huge opportunity to make much of Jesus. I was just making much of Erin. And then this is when I felt like I would cry and not stop again for a few days.
So why do I blog? As an introvert, blogging is great for me. I could never stand up and talk to all of you about the things I blog about. I’d much prefer to sit in a room in my pajamas with 3-4 of you and just chat. But I can do this. I can write.
And I write to connect with all of you. I blog to share my story. And my story happens to be full of God’s grace and mercy. And you know what is so great? There are so many of you who share your story with me every day, too. If you blog you tell your story on your own blog. If you don’t blog, you leave comments or leave tweets and share it with me there. You email me to encourage me or challenge me. You minister to me.
There are days when my story sounds lame. It’s often boring and there’s no big punch line. But it’s just as much God’s story as it is mine. So any insecurity or expectation from me just need to be gone.
My boat was rocked when I read Jessi’s eBook. Just about a month ago I was feeling like Blue-Eyed Bride was getting away from me. It was becoming a place where I felt like a slave to so many other people and so little of it was fun. I was getting to write, but there are only so many hours in the day. I was losing time with my family and spending too much time responding to emails.
I want to write my stories. I want to talk to you about my heart and what I’m learning.
There will be some changes around here. That doesn’t mean that there won’t ever be sponsored posts. Because the truth is, as a stay-at-home mom, these little projects help our family, and I am thankful for those opportunities.
But I’m done with feeling obligated and I’m tired of the rat race. Because we all have influence and we all have a story. And we should all be able to tell it truthfully and without fear that it’s not good enough just as it is.
I’m working to regain the place that’s for me, where my voice can be heard. It’s a place where I’m not shouting at you about a whole bunch of nothing, but taking the opportunity to quietly show you my heart, my home, and Jesus.