I have a confession to make. I lied to you. It wasn’t intentional, though, and I want you to know that. When I began this blog, I truly believed it would be about the message, not the money. But, as he often does, the enemy took the secondary hope I had of providing for my family and turned it into my primary mission.
Please, if you’ll read on, I’d like to elaborate.
You see, when I first started posting here, I had complete trust in God that he would provide in every way, from bringing the readers who needed to hear the message, to meeting my family’s needs (with or without a second income). As I posted each new article, my focus began to shift. In seeking to put out the best possible content, I’d forgotten that the true author of my blog wasn’t me.
I dove into the world of the Internet, searching the vast reaches of the blogosphere, reading everything from mommy blogs to lifestyle blogs, and soaking up every last technique, design, and business strategy I could. I spent hours on Pinterest, looking to learn how to make my posts go viral, how to build a brand, and, most prominently, how to make money by doing this “blogging thing”. And I obsessed over the number of views each post got, quickly becoming discouraged when it wasn’t what I considered enough.
And then a veritable landslide of events, which I couldn’t cope with, came crashing down on my family and me. The end of 2018 brought many challenges for my family, and you’ll be able to read about them soon. I found myself thinking, at the time, that I’d been wrong all along about my calling. I thought, perhaps, God was bringing our brief time together here at Indoor Kat to an abrupt end. And, while God was indeed forcing me to take a break, he has recently made it clear to me that this break was because I needed a reality check.
I hadn’t even realized that my priorities had shifted. Honestly, I didn’t realize how far I’d strayed until today. I suspected it, especially when God not-so-gently redirected me to the straight and narrow, but until I sat down to write this post, I could not have told you what exactly had changed in me.
The woman writing you this letter is not the same woman who endured the trauma that concluded our 2018. Nor is she the same woman who began Indoor Kat. It may seem obvious, but I’m re-learning the fact that I will always be a work in progress. And now I know that I don’t want to become those versions of myself again, even though each has her merits.
A bit longer now, and I’ll get to my point.
January 2019 brought with it the wonder of the “fresh start”. I know there are some people who don’t see the point of making resolutions because they never stick, but personally, I love the idea that we can begin again at any point. It just so happens that each new year brings with it the motivation I might otherwise lack the rest of the time.
My resolution was simple: I wanted to abide in Jesus. I chose to do that by making time to study his word my top priority. Time for prayer soon became a necessity, as well. And in that simple resolution, my transformation began.
The more time I spent with God, the calmer I felt. I found myself feeling less rushed, pushed, or forced to do anything. The things I accomplished each day were fueled by a new-found sense of purpose – from changing diapers, to scrubbing floors, to grocery shopping. The guilt and shame I’d felt over my failure dissipated as I rested in Jesus’ presence.
While my time with Jesus has gone through hills and valleys even in this short span of time, his presence has never left me, nor has the burning desire to be with him gone away. But, as the weeks have passed, a gentle nudging has grown stronger.
Over my weeks studying and praying, I felt a persistent urging to write. But I was afraid. I was fearful that I’d fail again. My inconsistency loomed far bigger in my memory than God’s grace. And yet, if my perspective shift had taught me one thing in this new year, it was that the answer to every problem is prayer. So I prayed.
Lord, I feel this nudging to write again, but I’m afraid. I failed once, and miserably. I don’t want to let anyone down. I don’t want to let you down. God, if this is what you want for me, please make it clear to me. You’ve given me these gifts and I don’t want to waste them. Thank you for giving me so many chances to serve you. Amen.
I created a note on my phone to store ideas for Indoor Kat, should any present themselves. It was a new note, separate from the one I’d kept all my brain dumps in prior to my hiatus. And, as I daily prayed for clarity, the note filled with ideas. Longer, and longer, the list grew, and the more time I spent with God, the more inspired I became.
Each idea reflected the work God was doing in my life. Which brings me to today, the moment when I started to write for the first time in a very long time. It was the moment God showed me what went wrong the first time, and gave me a new take on my mission.
I walked in to the library, eager to begin again and to “do it right” this time. Carrying a bag full of materials for today’s work session, I anxiously entered a study room and set up. And, where before writing would have been the first thing I did and prayer, an afterthought, my weeks spent pursuing God showed the fruit he was producing in me.
I closed my laptop and turned to God’s word. And before I began to write, I prayed. I’ve stopped more than once over the course of these past few hours to pray.
The most amazing thing happens when you recognize you are not, in fact, independent. Rather than feeling discouraged or downtrodden when things don’t go quite right, your first response becomes seeking wisdom and answers from those who have them. There is no emotion other than trust, no feeling other than dependence, and it is, ironically, freeing.
You see, in the half hour I took to seek God, he gave me the topic for today’s post. And as I’ve tried to put it into words, he has been with me, guiding me, encouraging me, and reminding me that it’s not actually about me.
Here, friends, is the message I’ve been seeking to relay through this vulnerable letter: I confess that my purpose in writing was not God-centered when I began, and I confess that it is, now.
You wanna know what God used to make me realize that? Read on.
“Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. … (15)for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices.” Exodus 34:12, 15 NIV
Sorry, a bit graphic. But let’s unpack it.
TREATY = COMPROMISE & CONFORMITY
If you’re not familiar with the context of this scripture, it’s from Moses’ time with the Lord on Mount Sinai. Moses actually broke the first tablets of the Ten Commandments, so he had to go back to the mountaintop to meet with the Lord and get the new ones. As God laid out his rules, he also cautioned Moses and his people not to fall into the habits of the people they were to defeat. God knew his people’s hearts.
He knows mine, too. My desire for material wealth is a struggle for me, and it is compounded by the fact that we are immersed in a culture that glorifies material things. I don’t believe material wealth is inherently bad; only when it becomes such that it surpasses “enjoyment of” and becomes “pursuit of.” Unfortunately, in diving in to a community that glorifies success in that form, I compromised my beliefs and priorities and conformed to theirs.
THEY = OTHER BLOGGERS, INFLUENCERS, SOCIAL MEDIA PERSONALITIES
While there are numerous bloggers, influencers, and social media personalities who serve as a source of encouragement and inspiration, those were not who I’d chosen to focus on. As such, I found my senses bombarded by their message, which is to “live your best life” through the media of self-care, retail therapy, and good interior design.
THEIR GODS = MONEY
If these were the bloggers I was choosing to read regularly, it would follow that they are a part of the culture that lauds success as being synonymous with material wealth. Hence, their god became mine, and I forgot how powerful and good is the God I truly serve. I forgot that he doesn’t need money to provide for my needs, and became convinced that I needed to make money to provide for my family. Thus, my reasoning followed that this blog was simply a way God would bring that idea to fruition.
Not so, friends.
Which brings me to my conclusion. Funnily enough, this end has its roots in the beginning of my “new” blog. When I sat down to work, I dedicated my time to God by opening with a devotional. Some of the first verses I read today form the basis for my mission and prayer as I embark on this new journey of a TRULY faith-based, God-centered blog.
“Make me to know your ways, O LORD;
teach me your paths.
(5)Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long. …
(15)My eyes are ever toward the LORD,
for he will pluck my feet out of the net.”
Psalm 25:4-5, 15 ESV
Especially that last verse, friends. I fully expect to become caught in my desire for material wealth “net” again at some point. But I’m keeping my eyes on God, because he is my salvation. I’m not gaining fulfillment from writing, but from the knowledge that I’m serving him and seeking him in everything I do.
One final thought I’d like to leave you with, particularly if you are one who struggles with the same desires I do: God does give us good gifts, and sometimes, those are in the form of earthly possessions. But he gives us a much greater gift in the form of Jesus, and a relationship with him will outlast all the rest of those things.
“Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Matthew 19:21 NIV
If I had to choose one or the other, I know Who my choice is every time. Where money has not always come through for me, Jesus has. What about you? What choice would you make?
I love you! And even better, Jesus loves you.