7 Quick Takes: The I-Stink-At-Discernment & More Edition
It’s official. I ultimately decided that leaving the BlogHer Network was in my best interest. This wasn’t an easy decision. I had exchanged several gracious, back-and-forth emails with a manager over there who was nothing but supportive of my blog, my pro-life views, and my writing.
Likewise, the candid yet charitable dialogue following my initial post about Komen, BlogHer, etc. impressed me. On Facebook and elsewhere, there were women who did not share my opinions yet were open to them. All the conversation that ended up happening in my humble, little space was a beautiful thing. There was no vitriol hurled in anyone’s direction – just candid and even compassionate talk. I am so grateful for this because I haven’t always experienced that kind of charity in the online world.
However, after lots of waffling and talking with my husband who kept asking, “Do you really need all of this drama?” – um, with three little girls who have perfected the art of histrionic melodrama, the answer is an emphatic no – I chose to leave the Network.
I want to thank everyone for their support. I also have ideas percolating about the possibility of starting a Christian blog publishing network, but I have to decide if this is the right season in my life for all of this.
I also want to stress that this was a very personal decision. I know there were some other Christian bloggers who were a part of BlogHer who were discerning their next move as well after I wrote about feeling like I needed to take a stand. We all have to do what’s best for us. As I mentioned in the combox after the original Komen post, I had and have no intention of making other Catholic and/or pro-life bloggers who are in the Network feel like they are conscience-violators if they stay involved. BlogHer is powerful; it needs diverse voices. It just felt right for my own voice to step away from that particular platform. I’m pretty sure I made the right decision because as soon as it was official, I felt at peace and like a load had been lifted.
All of this brings me to the topic of discernment. I stink at it. Stink really isn’t a strong enough word, but this is mostly a G-rated blog. It’s easy enough to choose between something that’s good and something that I know isn’t good for me or my family, but what about when I’m faced with deciding between two things that aren’t inherently bad and may even both be good for different reasons?
We could take the creation of a Christian blog network as an example. Some amazing, Godly women have approached me about helping with the development of such an entity. It excites me. It really does. I also know that this would be a good, powerful thing.
Yet, my husband has been really encouraging me to take a step back from all the “extras” in my life. He reminds me over and over that it isn’t only okay to be “just” a mom and wife, it’s my vocation. I’ve had to turn down some recent writing opportunities because I don’t want to wake up years from now in an empty home suffering from pangs of regret about not soaking up these years of young motherhood more. I also don’t want to be a hypocrite who encourages my fellow mamas to give their children focused attention while shooing a little one away from my laptop, so I can finish telling others how they need to cuddle with their babies.
Blogging was supposed to be primarily a hobby, but sometimes lately it can feel more like a job. In fact, if I’m completely honest here, my decision to leave BlogHer was not completely noble or based upon my passionate pro-life views. My husband has been inviting me to consider approaching my blog as more of a website – not a space where I feel like I MUST write every single day or even blog three times a week (a rule I gave myself somewhere along the way). I know BlogHer understandably has guidelines for publishing frequency so that its advertisers will be getting regular traffic, so I felt like it might take a little pressure off me to leave the Network and to just see my blog as a space to write when my life allows rather than a revenue source.
The irony is I never intended to be a Catholic writer. I was a secular health journalist hoping to write a novel someday, but God kept nudging me along and giving me opportunities to write about my faith, and I’ve found my faith needs to be more of a verb than just an adjective. Writing helps me put my faith into action. Yet, I still really do long to write that novel.
You may be seeing why discernment is so challenging for me. I go off on these ridiculous tangents. I brood. I over-analyze. It’s the melancholic in me.
Anyway, I gave a speech recently, and a beautiful, generous friend of mine told me I need to keep using the gifts God has blessed me with to do His will and to spread the Good News. Her encouragement was a gift, but it confused me, too, because sometimes I think I ought to be more hidden – or more content with the hidden life of motherhood instead of seeking to do more or be more. See, I’m a person with big ideas who is surrounded by little people who care more about little things. Can I do both – pursue big ideas and still tend to all these littles in the way they deserve? Some women can, but I’m not so sure I’m one of them.
Lena shared some of Mother Angelica’s thoughts on discernment. Someone asked her a question something like this, “How do you know if you are doing God’s work? Mother Angelica responded, “…does it give honor and glory to God? Is it for the good of the family? What are the fruits?”
Well, writing another book, speaking and sharing my heart and faith, launching a Christian online publishing community – all of these things could certainly glorify God and bear good fruits, but will my involvement in them be good for my family? I don’t have the answer yet. I’m still trying to find balance. I can’t make my sole identity “mother.” I am first and foremost a child of God. This is my highest calling, so how do I best serve Him while still keeping my sanity?
I’m hoping Lent and more quiet time with the Lord will provide some clarity.
Uh, at this point if you’ve actually stayed with me, you’re probably asking yourself, “Aren’t these supposed to be quick takes?”
Have you registered for the Behold Conference yet? It’s not too late. The registration deadline is March 1st. Click on over here for more info. I’m counting the days until March 10th partly out of excitement and also out of slight panic because I still have no idea what I’m going to wear, and now it’s Lent and I really shouldn’t be stressing over finding chic but comfy shoes. I should have hired Hallie (the beguiling fashionista, of course, already has her outfit for the big event) to be my personal stylist. Maybe next time, and I do hope there are lots of next times. I am so looking forward to sharing my heart and my story as well as to be in the presence of so many amazing women. The conference is going to rock!
B is for ballerina in a bucket.
How’s that for random?
Gratuitous baby shot.
I have become a total slacker when it comes to taking photos with our nice camera. I pretty much only capture shots with my smartphone these days. This means the photos are frequently blurry but also very real (no extravagant poses or fiddling with camera settings to make for more breathtaking photos).
In keeping with the Star Wars theme that always seems to finagle its way into my QTs, I’ll close with this photo of my ballerina (who can identify Yoda only because of her big sister’s obsession and is 100 percent girl). Please note Darth in the background. One of my husband’s uncles sent my 7-year-old Star Wars decals for her bedroom wall. She wasted no time in decking her and her sisters’ room with them.
Have a wonderful weekend!
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary! And while you’re over there, congratulate her for completing her memoir manuscript. I can’t wait for her book to be published.