I quit.

For a few months now I have been paralyzed by the numbers. Number of page views. Number of followers. Number of likes. Number of comments. Numbers. Numbers. Numbers.

Numbers are important in publishing. Agents and publishers won’t look at you if you don’t have high numbers. Books won’t sell unless you have high numbers.

And somehow I’ve started to equate my worth as a writer, my effectiveness as a minister, by my numbers. But numbers are so fickle. One post will reach thousands and another 25. Facebook changed their algorithm so now my followers don’t even see my posts unless they choose to receive notifications or if I pay for something to go out. Twitter is such a fast moving feed you may only have minutes for someone to grab onto your 140 characters – so you better make that small number of letters count.

I didn’t start writing for the numbers. I started for the words. Words that make a difference in my life. Words to encourage. Words to bring hope. Words to speak truth.

Most of all, God’s word.

For years my ministry verses have been 1 Peter 4:10-11:

1 Peter 410-11

When I’m focused on numbers, I’m not serving others, I’m not depending on God’s strength, I’m not doing it for His glory, I’m doing it for me.

As of today, I quit.

I quit looking at the numbers. I quit trying to please others. I quit seeking attention, publication, the spotlight.

I want to go back to where I started. With a simple toothless grin that lit up my difficult world of postpartum depression, breastfeeding woes, and sleepless nights. I want my writing to be for other mamas and not for me. I want my writing to bring truth into darkness. I want my writing to be for you.

I’m still moving forward. I’m still writing for this little blog. I’m still writing my book. But I’m not going to think about publishing for some time. Not unless I think it is the best thing to do. When I started it, I wanted it to be a resource for new mamas. So, I hope to have it available for you here someday. (Or rather, on my new website, which is ALMOST DONE!)

Thank you, my dear friends, who have always encouraged me and prayed for me on this journey. I think I have needed to go through some massive anxiety in order to reach a point of clarity.

And, God, this is for you. This public repentance is to you. “I acknowledge my need for a savior and I humbly repent. Speak the word that I may be made clean. Wash me that I may be whiter than snow. Restore unto me the joy of your salvation that I may delight in your will, and walk in your way, to the glory of your name, now and forever. Amen.”

As a Christian Perfectionist, I feel like a failure (intro to my sermon)

A month ago I preached what has been called my “best sermon yet.” While it didn’t feel that awesome to me (I was tired and a bit uncertain) I do believe that God had something to say. Here is the introduction to the sermon. If you want to hear the whole thing, listen here or get it on iTunes here (11/9/14 “Clothe Yourself in Christ”).

During my sophomore year of high school, I woke up each morning at 5:30 in order to spend 30 minutes reading my Bible and praying before getting ready for school. During those times, the Spirit moved within me as God’s word began to impact my life as never before. I read about love, forgiveness, life. And as I struggled with depression for the first time, I experienced comfort and acceptance in God’s presence.

Those times were precious to me.

I desired my friends to experience this life and I’m sure I came across pushy and judgmental as I awkwardly told them they needed to read the Bible, too. But it came from this deep desire that they know God.

This season was sweet. And it was short. Summer vacation came and so did my late nights watching every episode of Wonder Years on Nick @ Nite and sleeping in. As I went on, still following Jesus, I felt pangs of guilt in my conscious that I should have been better at reading the Bible. The few times a week here and there were not good enough. I believed I was not doing well as a Christian. My youth group meetings, church services, and FCA meetings confirmed this. Read your Bible! Pray! And for 30 minutes. In the morning. Because that’s when Jesus did it. While it was still dark. Before everyone else got up.

If you check this off of your list, you will be ok.

And as I read scripture, I began to see that there were behaviors that would please God and those that God did not like so much. So, as I read, I tried to change. I would search for ways that I needed to change and try to learn how to be the girl God & others wanted me to be, on my own.

If you can hold your tongue, not swear, never drink alcohol, dress modestly, if you could just be perfect, sweet, humble, kind, quiet, then you will be acceptable as a Christian woman. Then you are good enough.

But I have a temper. I used to scream at my little sisters and smack them, hard, if they got in my way. When I was 15 or 16 I left a stinging hand print on my 7 year old sister’s back. I was horrified with my sin and vowed to never hit anyone again. I refrained from my sisters and have avoided spanking my children, terrified of the wrath inside of me.

And there’s this thought in me, if only I was better at following Jesus I would not have a temper. If only I just did more to follow Christ, then maybe I could have myself under control.

As humans, we tend to view ourselves as one of two ways. Either we work our butts off to prove to everyone that we are good enough, terrified of failure, constantly trying to perfect ourselves on our own. Or we feel that we are not good enough and give up trying to be, accepting that no one, not even God could love or help us. We are perfectionists, trying to “make it” on our own. Or we believe ourselves to be failures and give up before we even try.

Any one of the individuals on either side of the spectrum are desperate, whether we will admit it or not…

Listen here for more…

clothe in christ