I feel like this past couple of months has been a crash course in how to break free from the idol of platform building.* I thought I was writing the series for others but it turns out I was writing it for myself.
You guys have helped me grow in ways I couldn’t have grown on my own, and I thank you for that.
Now the question is, what do I do next? I’m still not free from the temptations of platform building. If this were a non-ministry endeavor, the answer would be easy – give up blogging.
But I’m not sure if that’s what God wants me to do. I imagine pastors experience the same sort of thing. Ministry itself can lure them away from God but how can they minister without being exposed to the temptations of ministry?
If any of you guys have insight on this, I would love to hear it.
Here’s what I’m thinking: if I can reduce the temptations to a minimum, I can keep blogging. My idea is to set a boundary of blogging only once a week and keep all blogging activities – reading other blogs, checking stats (only once), and writing my own blog – to that day.
That way I can spend the other days writing Bible studies to publish which I haven’t been doing because I’ve been too busy blogging! I can also work on getting my donut questions out in a non-app form.
I’ll spend the rest of this week posting some of my journal entries from this escaping-the-idol-of-platform-building journey. I’ve been reluctant to do that so far because they make me look so bad – but I feel like God wants me to let go of the need for recognition, reward, and acceptance – and this will help in the acceptance category!
After that I’ll take the next two or three weeks off to spend some time with family and pray and think about another series and then start in with a new series in mid-November.
Thank you so much, all you bloggers, for your insights over these past couple of months. They have really helped me grow.
* Note: I’m not saying platform building in and of itself is bad here – please see Loren’s comment and my response to him for a better explanation.
Kari Scare says
Barb, in so many ways writing really is for the writer. And for the Christian writer, it is a journey of becoming more like Christ and getting closer to Him. If you continue to focus there, you will find success (as defined by God, not man) in whatever you do!
Writing – and especially blogging – certainly brings out my weaknesses. I’m excited to see how God will use writing to help me grow – and thankful for how He’s already used it – but boy the process of growth is often so stressful and not fun! This is all reminding me of my journey of breaking away from emotional eating. It’s very similar in many ways.
Elaine Heyworth Baldwin says
Barb, Thank you for your transparency and practical study and application. I haven’t commented much, but deeply value you; not just you words. Just one thought on finding the truth in ministry, blogging, etc…
When you “broke away” from emotional eating, you did not stop eating. Before that “breaking away” your eating controlled you. Now with God’s power you and God control eating.
Blogging/Ministry has controlled you. May God show you how in His power and grace (don’t forget that part) how You and God will control blogging/ministry.
I pray the same for me because our struggles are similar.
I’m remind of Solomon. After all his investigation in Ecclesiastes, it boiled down to this:
“The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”
God bless and see you around here:)
Wow, Elaine, that was such a nice thing to say – you really make me feel cared for. Thank you. And I loved your point about eating. Here’s the interesting thing – while I didn’t give up eating, I did give up sweets for a season and looking back I think I had to do it to break free from the control of food.
I wonder if blogging might be similar – that I wouldn’t have to give up blogging but maybe some aspect of it. I’m wondering if the limiting it all to one day would be similar to a giving up of sweets – just kind of working my way through this, trying different things.
I did change my iPhone app to free status a week ago because I felt like that was getting in the way – although I’m hoping to change that back at some point since I haven’t sold enough yet to cover the cost of making the app. It helped some, but not enough!
Heidi Bylsma says
Gosh…amen to all of that…
Kathy Collard Miller says
Hi Barb, good thoughts and a temptation to me too. Here’s a potential interesting concept. Instead of looking for a “formula” and boundaries and limits of what you should do, what would it be like to seek the Lord’s guidance for each day in regard to this? He has been showing me how when I try to determine a “formula” (like only blog once a week), then I”m depending upon the formula rather than seeking living water of abiding in Him and following HIm. Let me know what you think. Thanks. PS I recently blogged on “formulas.” http://www.KathyCollardMiller.blogspot.com
Thanks for your thoughts, Kathy. I do think people can rely on formulas for security and it was interesting to read your latest post and also the post two times ago that generated the comments.
I appreciate you commenting to see if I am doing that because I very easily could be – but I don’t think I am. In this case, I’m setting up the boundary so that I don’t make blogging an idol – so that I continue to keep my time with God and in His Word of first importance.
What I’ve found is that I need boundaries in the areas of my life that tend to become idols – so for example I personally need boundaries with food but I don’t need boundaries with television because I love food but I don’t love TV.
And while I don’t love writing – I do love recognition, reward, and acceptance for writing – that’s one of the reasons I need to limit my blogging activity. The other reason is that it’s keeping me from writing other things which I think God wants me to write.
I think ideally if I were to ask God each day what He wanted me to do it would all work out but I know myself – I won’t go the ideal route! Instead I’ll let my natural weaknesses kick in and take control. So while the boundary or formula won’t save me or change me – it will give me a structure to know when I need to go to God for help – if that makes sense at all. I wrote a couple of posts on boundaries in the “Breaking a Habit” category over on the right which probably explains my thinking better.
Anyway, sorry about such a long comment – I really appreciate you questioning me on this to make sure I wasn’t going in the wrong direction.
Kathy Collard Miller says
You’re so sweet. I remembered finally that you had commented on my blog on formulas. Sorry about that. Thank you for your gracious reply.
No need to apologize – I think it’s great that you asked. Keeps me on my toes!
Deb Wolf says
Barb, Thank you for being so open and honest with us. You are being used by the Lord to touch many of us who find ourselves struggling in similar areas. Pride and Donuts. ;-) Just keep serving Him. You glorify Him and bless us.
Pride and Donuts – that is so funny. :) We struggle together and learn together, right? Your posts always bless me as well. Thanks for the encouragement.
Karen Foster says
Hmmmm, interesting point. Allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us each day in regard to our blog/writing vs having a plan that enables us to reach goals and prioritize the days of our week. Writing gurus would say the latter….writing is a job and must be handled accordingly. However, ministry is God’s agenda and we won’t know His purposes unless we’re in communication with Him each morning. We have to be flexible.
Perhaps the balance is setting aside a particular day for blogging,to avoid making other commitments i.e., shopping, dental appts, BUT listening for God’s voice each day for direction that may forego the “formula.” Does that make sense?
I agree Barb that ministry is work which means it can be stressful and frustrating. Can’t give up because something isn’t easy. However, I hear you loud and clear about the time commitment to blog on a regular basis. After I went to a writers conference, I was told to set monthly and quarterly goals: articles, writing project, platform building….
So I did that and I’ve actually achieved less marketable writing than normal because I’ve spent so much time blogging. At first, blogging seemed like an immediate success cause it’s published right away vs waiting on editor feedback and publishing dates. Blogs were also a great creative outlet that satisfied my desire to write. Love the craft. And we agree we can’t let stats determine the success of a blog page. If one person is encouraged then it is worth the effort. However, blogging and platform does eat up valuable time.
Only to say, I’m in your same boat…re-evaluating ministry….I enjoy your blogs…I LOVE your vulnerability that allows readers to connect with your heart. Odds are you will not say anything from your journal that we haven’t wrestled with too. Bottom line for me: more waiting on God so there’s less wrestling with me.
Karen, thanks so much for your encouragement. That really means a lot to me. And I’m interested to hear that you are also re-evaluating ministry. I’ll be interested to hear what you come up with on that.
I’m beginning to think that while the platform building idea is good, we have to be careful to put it under the umbrella of God’s will if we’re Christians – because He might have other ideas for us.
I have a bad habit of just doing what everyone tells me to do and I did the same with platform building (although I did a bad job of it). I didn’t stop to say, what does God want me to do? How can I best accomplish that? Do I even need a platform for the things He wants me to accomplish?
Instead, I just went blindly ahead and followed the program. And because of my immaturity in this area, platform building and the struggles that came with it took up so much time I didn’t have time for other things God wanted me to do.
I’m really excited to try out some different things as I’m very tired of my current way of operating!
I didn’t ever
I think your second paragraph is brilliant, Karen – I want to think more about the rest of what you said but I have to head out to a physical therapy appointment so will write more later.
Loren Pinilis says
I don’t think the conclusion is necessarily that having a platform is bad. I heard it put this way – strive to be a person of influence. Not for your own glory but for the good of others and the glory of God. The apostles didn’t hide the gospel – they worked hard to get out in front of people so that they could tell as many about it as possible. I see platform the same way.
I agree, Loren. I wasn’t meaning to imply that platform building is bad in and of itself – only if it gets in the way of loving God and others, which is what has been happening for me.
Karen Foster says
Ironically, today The Holy Experience Blog discusses the need for blogging our stories and for God’s glory. Check it out. Good stuff.
Wow, there are a lot of great things in that post (http://www.aholyexperience.com/2012/10/how-to-live-blog-write/). Here are a few things I really liked:
“You are a successful blogger, the most successful blogger, from the very first day you ever posted, if you simply do it as an act of loving service unto Jesus.”
“A great blogger must serve with every post, serve with every story, serve with every well-ordered lines…. Whoever wants to be a successful blogger must be a serving blogger.”
“Every single last person reading your story, your blog, is just one decision away from a spiritual, financial and moral mess. Can you see them, their faces and their lives and their hearts? They are sitting in front of screens, on the other side of your screen and they are looking and clicking and they are reading.”
Very encouraging! Thanks for the heads up, Karen.
Ngina Otiende says
Again, right along my thinking corner :). I really hear you. I am on this road myself and while we may ultimately not do things the same way (in terms of response), the principle and lesson is the same. Just listening more to what God wants me to do and doing less of what I’d like to do. Thank you for sharing. Am reading and learning :)
Thanks, Ngina. It’s nice to have a fellow “grower” on the journey. Am excited to see what God will do in each of our lives. :) I had a wonderful time with Him this morning. I’m beginning to see His purposes for bringing me through what has been a real trial with blogging. Have peace and joy this morning – perhaps back to turmoil again tomorrow morning but it’s an ongoing walk. I’m thankful that He loves me enough to discipline me and not let me get away with anything. Thank you for your encouragement – it’s always appreciated.
Ngina Otiende says
Amen Barb. Am glad too that He doesn’t leave us to our comforts and convenience and ways and is always making us better. Amen to growth and next level.