Two days ago I began my series on the temptations of blogging and ministry. I was excited.
Not because I was going to get a chance to grow and serve God. But because I was going to get a chance for some new comments.
I love comments. To me it’s the one perk of blogging. A little excitement in an otherwise dull blogging session. And because I’m an incredible optimist and a little delusional, I was expecting an exciting day. Comments left and right.
By 10:00 I’d received one comment. By now I’m thinking, no one likes this blog. It’s terrible. Why did I choose this subject? I’m going to write for two months to an empty room. People will think I’m such a loser. And you know what? They’re right.
So at 10:01, I decided to renew my mind. I took out my iPod and went through the discontentment questions on the donut app. This is how it went:
Why are you unhappy?
Because I’ve only had x number of page views and one comment.
What do you think will make you happy?
Y number of page views and ten comments.
Will that really make you happy? Why or why not?
No. If I’m trying to fill myself up with comments (which I am), I’ll never get enough comments to satisfy me. I’ll always want more.
Are you able to create the conditions you think will make you happy?
- Yes: If so, do you think God wants you to work on that? Why or why not?
- No: If not, is there anything else you can do to make life better? Explain.
No, I can’t jump out of people’s computers and make them comment (wouldn’t that be nice if we could? Although we’d probably get some bad comments if we did that). But I could get off the computer and do something else that is fun and exciting.
Is God enough to satisfy you, even if you don’t get what you want?
(After some thought.) Yes. (This is the question that always gets me – it reminds me of what life is really about – God. Not page views. Not comments. Not excitement.)
What is one thing you can do to draw closer to Him today?
Let go of my idol and spend some time in the Word.
What is one thing you can do to show love to others today? Be specific.
Visit my neighbor who is housebound. (I ask this question to switch from a self-focus to an others-focus. Try not to say “Go get some ice cream” here!)
Is there anything you need to accept?
Yes, that I might not get any comments today. Or even ever – for the whole series.
Is there anything you need to hold with open hands?
This is where the rubber meets the road. It’s the question that says, “Are you making an idol of blogging, Barb? Are you putting a little too much emphasis on blog comments?” “Yes, God, I am,” I reply. And then I take a time-out to repent and restore my relationship with Him.
Is there anything God wants you to do?
Yes, get up. Get away from the computer and go do something else.
What can you thank God for in this situation?
I thank God for failure. Because I’m obviously not ready (spiritually) for success.
By the end of this session, I’m feeling good again. It doesn’t matter that I haven’t had a lot of comments.
If you want to try these questions without my commentary and don’t have my iPhone app, I posted them in a separate post with the Bible verses. Click here to get that post.
Question: Do you ever get discouraged about the lack of comments or page views on your blog? If so, what do you do get over it? Or if you’re already over it, how did you get over it?
P.S. My kids always accuse me of doing the guilt treatment thing – but this post really wasn’t an attempt to guilt you into making comments!
Was going to just like, but I know how much you like comments lol.
You’re so right. Got to get our worth and joy from Him. Bless you heaps! Glenn
Wow – I just checked out your blog – I love “11 Rational Reasons to Believe in Jesus” and also “Excuses not to read the Bible.” Thanks for commenting – I laughed when I read it. :)
I’m glad you liked my blog. Thanks for stopping by. Keep up the great work!
Jon Stolpe says
Should I comment or not? Yes, I do get discouraged from time to time with my lack of comments or less than record traffic to my blog. It’s a balance. I need the feedback, so I’ll know how to improve in my writing, but I need to let go and remember that my ultimate goal in blogging is to bring glory to God. Easier said than done!
Hmm, I see what you mean. I guess the feedback is helpful for a lot of different reasons, isn’t it?
For me, it also helps me figure things out – for example, the comments on the last couple of posts have already been helping me work out my own issues with blogging – it’s like being in a Bible study when the people bring up other issues you hadn’t thought about before.
Plus it helps me realize I’m actually talking to real people – because if no one comments, I don’t picture anyone when I write – and my computer isn’t a very interesting “person” to write to!
Marji Laine says
Not guilted into commenting, btw! :) I love comments, but more because I can engage readers and get to know folks online, rather than my blog just being about me all the time. But your article reminded me for the times when only crickets seem to visit, that I have to do my job and let God do His part of bringing people when He wants to.
Haha, I’m glad you weren’t guilted into it. :) I guess I would say that’s why I like comments too – to get a chance to connect with people. I suppose there’s nothing wrong with that, is there? As long as I don’t feel like I have to have it I guess. I think the thing is that I’m used to being in Bible studies and teaching, not to writing. It’s different.
Marji Laine says
I can see that. And it is tough when you feel like only crickets and an occasional frog are the only ones who wander past the bog – uh blog. I feel your pain – our pain! :)
Karen Foster says
Funny you should blog about comments. I started to write you an email about your blog. Then decided to put it in comments section…and then it wouldn’t post cause Word Press acted like it didn’t know me. Only to say…..take another breath…..
That stats are good to spur us on, and let us know if we’re reaching our target audience. Or whether we need to write to differently to reach them. However I do find that my MOOD changes depending on the feedback.
I love your questions and will put them to use.
As for things I’ve done to handle the MOOD,,,,,
I remember to write for an Audience of ONE so if I only feel His pleasure that is enough!!
Secondly, I remember an article I wrote called Only a Few. I told how I’ve gone to jail to share the gospel and if I only had one or two women attend study, I’d feel discouraged. Until, I realized the impact I was having on individuals who would have been lost in the masses. Wouldn’t have spoken up, wouldn’t have made a relationship with them, etc.
If there are Divine appointments when we’re one on one with people. Then why not see our blog readers as Divine appts.? Does that make sense or help?
I love the idea of writing for an Audience of One – I was thinking it would be nice to write both in fellowship with the Holy Spirit and also as an act of thanksgiving and worship. Unfortunately, I keep forgetting to do that as I get caught up in the difficulty of figuring out just what I want to write. After however many months I’ve had this blog going (maybe six?) I finally figured out what to write for the “About” section! That’s a good idea, though, maybe I could put a sticky on my computer to remember.
Yes, the divine appointment idea makes sense and it’s a wonderful idea. I think it would help. I’ll try to remember. Thanks, Karen. Did you write “Only a Few” on your blog?
Karen Foster says
“Only a Few” appeared in a women’s magazine FullFill in 2010. And yes, that’s how you spell the magazine title.
Do you have a link for the article, Karen?
Elizabeth Archer says
When I was fund raising for my little orphan boys, many others sent readers my way, I had about 300 hits a day. And very few donations. Then I felt silly. I even wished fewer people would visit. And there were no comments!! Aaack!
The readers came from big name bloggers, who get hits in the thousands. In “my” mind I thought that I was a let down and unworthy of the attention if no one “did” anything like donate or comment.
But then I remembered. I’m not doing this for me. I’m doing this to draw attention to children who need homes. I’m raising money for 3 boys who need my help. I need to be an example to others not a “reciever”. (make sense?)
My love of blogging returned. I don’t check stats. Money raising is over. My readers, Praise God! helped us complete our funding for the last 3 boy’s adoption. Such an amazing blessing, started by those who believed stronger than I. I do still connect my blog to my ebay sales to share with buyers the need to raise money for 5 little boys. (diapers and medical needs)
I know there are people I wish wouldn’t read my blog. I get mean comments from time to time. But I write it for the love of writing. If it was never read, I’d still write. Often I think i’m writing to God. Love letters to let Him know how I am.
I am enjoying your study because I can so relate to all of the emotions and love hearing how others handle these as well. Some of the things I had not experienced, or thought of. Good to be prepared!
(((HUGS))) and prayers
Thanks for sharing all of that, Elizabeth – it was interesting to hear the whole process of loving it, then getting caught up in all the other stuff, then back to loving it again. It really helps to hear the perspective of others. I suppose the one thing that’s different for me is that I never started from an “I love writing” position. But I’m beginning to think that’s because of my perfectionism and people pleasing more than anything else and that I’m capable of loving writing if I can overcome those things. Writing this series on blogging and hearing how others handle these things is helping me grow.
Elaine Heyworth Baldwin says
This is a yet another lesson for me, not in how I handle having comments or not, but in obeying God when He prompts me to do something. I was making my way through the list of blogs I follow and came to yours. I stopped and took time to read it carefully, not just skim through. I valued your insights, agreed with most and God prompted me to comment, but I did not. I don’t even remember what distracted me or why I didn’t come back to your post, but that is entirely beside the point.
The point is I didn’t follow God at the very time He prompted and that caused a new friend (you) some anxiety and discomfort. Not that my comment alone would’ve encouraged you, but it might have. Again, the point is neither of us will ever know because I did not obey.
Of course, God’s grace was sufficient for you and His forgiveness covers my sin and teaches me to follow more closely to Him every day.
Thanks, Barb. Your post has taught me, maybe not in the way you intended.
Ah, obeying God when He prompts us. I’ve had my share of not doing that too! Thank you for coming back to comment and encourage me, though. You know that verse about God using all things for good? I think it was actually helpful that no one commented at the beginning because God used it to help me grow and point out my wrong attitude and focus. If I’d had instant comments, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to be discouraged and grow from that discouragement. Isn’t God great? He can teach us both different lessons from the same little experience. Thanks for your support, Elaine.
Ngina Otiende says
Awesome thoughts Barb.
I think we desire human interaction, the same way we do in real life. But again just like in real life, our source should be God, not others. God’s been teaching me to write for ‘one’. Not perfected that yet, it’s a daily journey of balance – doing what i should do to spread the message further and wider and keeping focus on Him (not obsessing over statistics) :).
Thanks, Ngina. You put it right in a nutshell, and you’re so right. It’s wonderful to have human interaction, but we need to depend on God. I actually wrote my next post already (after yesterday’s comments), and I tried writing it just for God – I loved writing that way. I’m hoping I can keep it up. It’s encouraging to know that you’re making progress with that goal.
Nowhere Man says
Happens to the best of us, my dear. Y+1.
Dan Black on Leadership says
Great post and thoughts. I struggle at times when I’m not seeing the comments I would want to see. I find the comments more valuable than the blog traffic so when it’s low I can get frustrated.
I try and pull away from the internet or checking my email for comments. I focus on producing more rather than what I have already published.
I feel the same way – i like the comments more than the traffic. I suppose because that’s the way we get to connect with each other. That seems like a good idea to focus on writing the next piece rather than worrying about comments on the last piece. It’s definitely more productive!
Wonderful questions to use in all circumstances! Great way to apply previous knowledge here. God is so good, He will grow you in the time frame best FOR YOU!
The sermon at church this Sunday was about our perception of situations. We use Isaiah 43:18-19. It was great. God is doing a new thing in you and in us, in our churches and in our nation! It’s a very exciting time!!!
By the way, Friday I had 0 comments. Granted I only announced a book winner, but still. It sort of bothered me but oh well.
Wow, what a great passage. And a perfect one for bloggers. Thanks for sharing that, TC.
Teresa Renee says
Hi Barb! This is my first time coming across your blog and im so glad i did!..yiu came up in my twitter suggestions to follow just this morning! There are so many topics it looks that u cover that would br helpful to me and i didn’t even know whr to start!..anyway…i am right dab in the middle of preparing to launching a ministry with a website that includes a blog!..used to do video blogs and loved to see the number of views. Eventually i stopped so i could regain focus and make sure i kept right motives to please God. I’
Haven’t posted in 3 months and I’ve learned a lot about myself and how to maintain with keeping God, His will, and my purpose to ultimately bring Him glory (not me) in the forefront of everything. So now, as i said ill be starting to blog soon, around June. And i thank for yet anothrt reminder of what matters most and i know that i can come to your blog for encouragement and insight that most pretend doesn’t exist. Great post! Looking forward to exploring your site!
Barb Raveling says
Thanks for commenting, Teresa. It was so fun to hear your story. I haven’t been on Twitter much, but I’ll have to get on so I can follow you and find your blog when you start it – or are you just planning to start writing on your old one again? I’ve thought of doing video blogs but it seems so intimidating, I haven’t done it yet. One of these days! I admire you for being willing to take a break and make sure your motives are pure!
Pam Shattuck says
Barb, I do not have an iPhone. Is there another way to get all the things found on the app? I want to thank you for such an honest and open example you gave from your own life. I do not think you are alone in this kind of experience but you are rare for admitting it. I certainly related with MUCH of what you shared.
Barb Raveling says
Thanks, Pam. It’s interesting to look back on this post that I wrote over a year ago now. Blogging has been such an incredible growing experience. When I started I had had 10 solid years of a good close walk with God where it wasn’t a battle to keep Him first. Blogging tested all that, but I’ve kept with it because I feel like He keeps wanting me to write. I’ve had to fight to stay close to Him and have grown stronger, but still not out of the woods. The app questions should be out in two weeks – looking forward to having them out in a more accessible form for most people!
Pam Shattuck says
Barb, Isn’t it interesting to see what “competition” for our hearts can do? I remember when our daughter (now 26) was 1 1/2. No siblings yet and no sign of selfishness. Enter a family who came to visit with a small child. Our daughter instantly ran to her rocking horse and stayed on that thing until the family left!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh she had selfishness in her alright…just like her parents. It just wasn’t manifested until competition entered the room. LOL
Barb Raveling says
Oops, I just i hadn’t answered your comment, Pam! I can totally relate to what you said. Often we don’t realize what’s inside of us until we’re placed in a situation where that trait is ready to come out. That definitely happened with me and blogging. Someone once said that most growth takes place outside of your comfort zone – I’ve found that to be very true. Blogging has been the perfect trial for me to grow as it brings out all my weaknesses.