Quiet. What does that mean? I've started writing this post close to a hundred times in my head. I've been thinking on it daily almost all year. When the New Year came, I was prepared to go full-out on the blog again. I had a schedule and plans for the year on what I would post and when I would post it. I had a list of to-dos and goals. I was going to keep up with my weekly newsletter. And then I read this verse while I was reading Nothing to Prove,
"and make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands..." 1 Thessalonians 4:11
Photo credit Ball-Spencer Photography
A Quiet Life
"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life...." What is a "quiet life?" I think that a quiet life could mean a lot of things to a lot of people. It could mean slowing down. Maybe moving from a fast and loud city to the country. Maybe it means speaking less and hearing more.
For me, when I read this, the Father whispered to me that I have to learn to be content being a nobody. (In this world at least, because I know that I'm somebody to Him.) I have to let go of my ambition to be "someone" or "special" or "famous" or even "well-known."
You see, I've always wanted to be special, to be seen. I want to be recognized. Every year, I was so heart-broken and disappointed when I wouldn't win Teacher of the Year. I didn't enjoy my senior prom when I didn't win prom queen. And now, I am frustrated that this blog isn't growing above a certain number of readers.
All of that is embarrassing to admit, but there it is.
And the truth is that I know God will not bless this blog and my writing until I'm completely satisfied with the followers I already have and readership never growing. When that happens, when I find my worth in Him and where I stand in His Kingdom and when this is ALL for His glory, then He MAY bless the blog. Maybe He won't though. But when I reach that point (or at least get nearer to it), it truly won't matter anymore. That's the funny thing about God's blessings. Only when we don't need them, because we know the only thing that we do need is Him, will He give them to us.
Mind Your Own Business
Again, this can mean a lot of different things. I do not believe it means to turn a blind eye to troubles surrounding us. In this season, for me, it means to get my own act together before trying to save the world. It means, turning off social media when I feel that discontent rising up. It means, quieting all of the "should" voices out there in the world.
Who are we to judge, preach or write, if we don't deal with our own crud first? Glass houses, right? I can't expect to be used for God's glory if I don't take time to study, pray and deal with my own baggage. And I want to be used!
So, I'm trying to deal with these demons of mine instead of sticking to the blog schedule I had. Because as much as I hope for this blog to someday be a true income-producing job, my relationship with God and my joy in this life are not a game. Soul things, those are the things that matter, and I'm trying to embrace that and live it out better.
Work with Your Hands
When I've been feeling discontent or bored or "itchy," I've been trying to do something instead of continuing down the rabbit hole and scrolling Instagram. Baking bread. Trying a new Pinterest idea for cleaning. Hand-sewing felt eggs for the kids.
Our grandmas didn't have time to be discontent because they were always busy. And I don't think that we need to stay busy to avoid our feelings or that busy means living fast-paced. Working with my hands, staying busy, means turning from things that are causing my discontent or envy and refocusing them on my present by being productive. What can I do right now to make a difference right where I am with what I have? That has been my thought instead of fixating on the things that she has or the followers that she has or how thin she is. Sitting on the couch pining for these things will not make me get them or make me happy, but getting up, doing something (however small) usually does lift my spirits.
Open Your Hand
When I was studying 1 Thessalonians 4:11, I stumbled upon this verse in Ecclesiastes,
Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind. Ecclesiastes 4:6
I don't know what all of this means for the blog. I know that I don't want to stop writing and I don't think that is what God wants for me either. I enjoy sharing ideas, recipes and our farm adventures with you all. But I HAVE to learn to let go of the toil and striving to make the blog into "something."
My heart just can't keep up with the striving. For now, I'll write when I feel like it or when I have time. I'll post on Instagram when I want without worrying about what time of day it is to maximize likes. I'll definitely still be here, but I might be quiet from time to time to mind my own business.
Even writing this post has me in tears because this is the least "businessy" thing I could do. Putting this out into the world feels like letting go of a dream, but it also feels like letting go of a burden. Now maybe blogging can be fun again and less weighty.
If you've stayed with me this long, thank you! I hope you'll stick around because, like I said, I'm not quitting, I'm just trying to let God pilot this blog and my writing instead of co-pilot from now on.