Friday, March 30, 2012

Why I decided to blog again - part two

In part one I talked about some blogging hang ups and why I abandoned writing on my blog (for the most part). Now I want to share why I decided to come back to it.

(Hence the title "Why I decided to blog again." Smart, huh?)

In the past two years I'd often find myself in a strange/interesting/humorous situation and I'd start writing a blog post about it in my head. And then I would think, "Nope, you don't blog anymore, don't go there Erin."

Then I'd find myself thinking deep thoughts and processing things and having "Aha!" moments and again, I'd start writing a blog post about it in my head. And again, I would think,  "Nope, you don't blog anymore, don't go there Erin."

But the past couple years have brought a lot of change in my life; a lot of new revelation and so many areas where God has truly renewed my mind.

In conversations here and there I would share these thoughts and revelations with others and often I would get a stare of disbelief from them - for a terrifying split second I would wonder if I had broccoli in my teeth or if maybe I had just said the dumbest thing they'd ever heard and they were trying to figure out how to respond to me. But then they would look at me and say, "wow - I've never thought of it like that."

So I began to think that maybe what I was going through in my life and my new ways of thinking could help other people. Perhaps I was supposed to share about my journey?

I let this roll around in my head for about six months. Should I, shouldn't I? Should I, shouldn't I? Should I, shouldn't I?

(As you can see I am awesome at making decisions.)

Then, about a month ago, four or five things happened within the course of one week that confirmed I should come back to blogging.

The first is that I ended up with a guest blog post on A Slob Comes Clean. I wrote the whole thing in my head on the way to work one day and I sent it to Nony as email feedback for her ebook. She immediately emailed back to ask if she could use it as a blog post and I was flabbergasted. I really didn't have that in mind when I sent it to her but when I went back and reread it I realized I had written a blog post without even knowing it!

The second thing is that I needed to send Nony a bio paragraph about me to include with my guest post, so I took my bio from another project I had done and tweaked it a bit. And do you know what I included in my bio? A link to this here blog.

Now why in the world would I go and include a link to my (former) blog if I have no intentions of coming back to blogging??? I don't think you need a master's in psychology to answer that question.

In the week between sending my email/bio off to Nony and the day she actually published it on the blog, I had a meeting with two acquaintances. We were talking and I was sharing some of what God's been teaching me recently and I got "the stare" from one of them. She said, "you need to write a book, or a blog, or something so you can share things like that with other people."

Then Nony published my blog, and I put a link on Facebook, and the response from Nony's readers and from my friends really blessed me. I saw how it had encouraged others.

Then, just a few days later, my testimony was published online. I had written this at least a year ago - two of my friends (one of them also happens to be my boss) are writing a book about the testimonies of women and they are including mine. They asked if they could use mine on their website as an example of what is in the book, and I said sure.

I posted a link to my testimony on Facebook and again was blessed by the response and encouragement I got. Is it really coincidence that I was published online twice in one week?

As I rolled all of this around in my head I kept coming back to one thing: fear. Fear of failing; fear of my weaknesses; fear because I don't know what it is that I really want. Fear of vulnerability. Fear that I am making too much of my experience - do I really think that my story is anything extraordinary? That people would read it and get something from it that they don't already have on their own?

And then one night as I was laying (or lying?) in bed thinking about all of this, God dropped a whole new thought into my brain.

I realized that success in life - in ministry, at work, at home, in our relationships - comes when we work out of the overflow of our giftings and abilities. Have you ever looked at someone else and thought, "Wow, they are good at what they do - they have such a gift for ____!"

For example, I know someone who is a very gifted hostess - she loves throwing parties. She loves all the work it takes to plan and prepare; to decorate and cook and serve; she loves being a hostess. Each of her parties comes out of the overflow of the gifts and abilities God has placed in her. It is effortless for her because that is who she is.

I felt like God showed me that I was trying to copy the overflow of other people - I saw what they were creating and somehow felt it was a standard that I could/should live up to. I should be as good of a hostess, or I should be as good at having my own business, or I should be as good at crafts, or as good as whatever someone else was good at.

I was challenged to think about my giftings and abilities. Not just the things I'm good at - I'm a great learner and direction-follower and I am interested in a wide variety of things, all of which have caused me lots of confusion because I often mistake being good at something with having a passion for that thing.

Do you know how many things I have started because I thought it was what I wanted to do, only to get three months down the road and realize that I had zero motivation to keep at it? Too many. Way, way too many. I have had many tears over my "failures" and my perception that I don't have the ability to stick with anything.

But that is a bunny trail that I will fully follow on another day, in a series I hope to write about the StrengthsFinder test and how it changed my life. For right now I will share that my top five strengths are Ideation, Futuristic, Intellection, Adaptability and Connectedness.

If you aren't aware of the StrengthsFinder then these words probably seem a bit strange. Like I said, I will talk about this more in depth at a later time, but the point I want to make is that my top three strengths have to do with thinking (ideation, futuristic, and intellection.)

In fact, the intellection strength means that I like to think. How nerdy is that? One of things that makes me who I am is that I like to think. A lot. About everything.

All of this flashed through my head in a matter of seconds and that is when I realized it - my overflow comes from my brain. It comes from my love of thinking and processing.

And what means could I possibly use to express the overflow of my thinking and processing??? Gee, perhaps writing would be an option? As in, blogging about my thoughts?

I also realized that I have been afraid to come to terms with what I often envision myself doing - writing and speaking. Why is it so hard to imagine that I could actually write and speak about my experiences? Why have I run around trying to find other things to do with my life when so often I find myself imagining what it would be like to spend my time writing and speaking and sharing with others?

And so, here I am, blogging again. My goal is to share my story in the hope that others will be encouraged and perhaps they will have their own "aha!" moments as a result of mine.

Of course I reserve the right to occasionally deviate from my story and write about social media or cooking or my daughter or strange experiences. (For example, I need to blog about how Kaitlyn accidentally chewed Mike's fingernail clippings out of a bag of Doritos. Yes, really. This has now happened twice in our house, except the first time involved three toenail clippings and a bag of Chex Mix. Apparently it is a bad idea to eat bagged snacks when you come to our house.)

What is your overflow? Are there things that you are passionate about but are afraid to pursue? Are there areas where you need to prune away activities you are good at in order to give yourself more fully to the things you are passionate about?


WES said...

I'm still relating to ya, Erin, on many fronts. But I've got you beat in the StrengthsFinder thinking realm: Intellection, Analyzation, Discipline, Responsibility(?), and Harmony. I was glad that Harmony was at the top, because all other 4 seem kind of brainy and square. Glad I at least have a heart somewhere. Keep bloggin'!

sara luke said...

We don't have a single top 5 in common. For some reason I thought we would.