This is my 100th post. Not too shabby an accomplishment for a wearer of many hats! When I started blogging 1½ years ago, I had three simple goals: I hoped to grow as a writer, to cultivate contentment with my lot in life, and to leave a small, God-exalting imprint on the world.
In case you’re wondering, I don’t really look like that when I blog. I look more like this only in pajamas.
What I didn’t expect was for blogging to leave an imprint on me. I thought I would be the teacher, not the student. But blogging has taught me a lot about myself, about sin and temptation, people and suffering, culture and society. And ironically, the bulk of the teaching comes from one little button.
For you non-bloggers, there is a button on every blogging dashboard that charts “statistics.” It tells you how many people are reading your posts, how articles fare with others, which countries view your blog…etc, etc, etc. I love this button. It is my pat on the back for hours of work. It is the just-keep-going-you-ARE-making-an-impact button. This little button had the power to turn me into a paid writer for the first time in my life. The statistics went up, and Wordpress offered me a portion of the revenue–enough money to buy a pack of crackers every three months. Hooray!
I hate this button. This button reminds me that I am constantly at war with the desire to be God. To seek worship, to love glory, and to praise myself. Every time I click on this button, it whispers the question, why are you writing? This is the button that unearths motives and desires, the condition of my heart.
This button has taught me that people want to read about themselves. That topics like parenting and marriage are popular, and topics like world hunger and the persecuted church are not. It’s taught me that painfully vulnerable subjects will be highly viewed, but not highly shared. That the “perfect” article must address the audience’s felt needs, be provocative, yet feel “safe.”
And so the challenge becomes walking the tightrope. I am writing to people. God is passionate about people. At the end of the day, if my writing doesn’t encourage, comfort, and spur people on, what’s the point? In this sense, I must pay attention to statistics. I must understand the felt needs of my audience, or I risk becoming irrelevant in my own culture.
I am writing to people. But I am writing for God. Which means the statistics guide, but they must not govern. I believe this is the only way I can truly be used by God. He must govern the ship, even if His direction leaves the statistics in the toilet at times. Because when He leads, He brings another “S” word into the picture: supernatural. God has the supernatural ability to guide me to write that which will be used for His good purposes in the world. And unlike statistics, this guidance knows no rhyme or reason. It is about being in step with the Spirit. Every time I post an article I pray for God to choose the audience. Because the truth is, 100,000 people could read an article that bears no lasting fruit in their lives, and 10 people could read an article that changes them for eternity. With God the statistics are unseen.
Dear reader, this morning as I blog about blogging, I am thinking about you. I don’t know your story, but can only assume it holds its own share of statistics. The success (or failure) of your marriage, the money you earn, the growth of your company or church, the private failures no one knows about, the public failures no one can forget. It can be so tempting to view yourself through the lens of statistics. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in blogging, it’s that statistics are temporary. One day, the greatest triumphs and the most embarrassing failures will be forgotten. And on that day, Christ’s pleasure and the accomplishment of His purposes will be the only thing that lasts, long after we’re buried and the last statistic has dropped to zero.
You May Also Like:
When All You Can Do Is Wait
2014 Book List
Kids & Social Media: A Collection of Advice