Confessions of a Christian Blogger: Beware the pitfalls of blogging

Oh, how do I love blogging? Let me count the ways:

I love creating art with words.

I love sharing my family’s crazy antics.

I love encouraging women along in their family-life journey.

But what I love most of all about blogging, is sharing the hope that Jesus Christ offers every woman for her family.

 

Even so, the Lord is teaching me that while this type of medium certainly has its place in building-up Christian women, many aspects of blogging can be shallow, and even hazardous to a believer’s spiritual health and family well-being.

I recently wrote a post about why I’ve chosen to “drip” as a Christian blogger. And I have to say, dripping is serving me well, as it helps me to continue to enjoy my family and meet their needs in a meaningful way.

But I haven’t always chosen to drip. In fact, in times past I’ve revved up my writing engine to full capacity and proceeded to charge full steam speed ahead.

So the lessons I’ve learned over the past 10 years of blogging took a while to sink into my thick skull – and my heart. And by far, the biggest (and hardest to apply) lesson I’ve learned thus far is:

As good and God honoring as Christian blogging can be, there are pitfalls to beware of, and boundaries that should be set in place.

With that said, here are a few things that I keep in mind to help me maintain my mental health and testimony before my family as I blog:
Stewardship of Time

Social media, no matter how “holy” and God glorifying it may be, can lead us as Christians down a slippery slope of being poor stewards of our time.

For instance, to help me grow my blogging platform, I choose to publicize it around the web using various social media outlets.

I use Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram to accomplish this goal, which is bloody time consuming! But I do it because I often feel compelled to see the numbers of my likes, followers, and subscribers grow.

Who is compelling me? (Probably not Jesus.)

Why do I need to see more growth? (I’ll get back to you on that one.)

Just how much of a following is enough? (Cricket. Cricket.)

I don’t have the answers to these questions.

If I’m not careful (and prayerful), my quest to acquire “more” will consume me. (As it has in the past.) It’s something I have to constantly put before the Lord.

Preoccupation with Technology

I have this personal conviction that I will NOT become a person whose phone has become an extension of her hand.

I am adamantly against that.

In fact, I wrote this post to help remind moms to choose their children over their phones, because everywhere I look I observe women peering into their phone instead of into the eyes of their child.

This wasn’t an issue when I was raising my (older) kids, but I fear that my Millennial daughters will be seduced by the lure of the forbidden fruit (aka their apple iPhones) and regularly breastfeed with one hand, while texting with the other.

I’m almost mortified when I see that a blogger has a Facebook response time of “answers immediately.”

It makes me wonder – how do they know if someone has messaged them, if they are not checking their phone constantly to respond to notifications?

While that response time might be desirable for Facebook, what does that look like behind the scenes for the family of that blogger?

I only ponder this because it’s something I’ve struggled with personally.

I’ve tried to respond immediately so that I could earn the “answers immediately” badge of honor. That was until one of my girls said, “Mom, you’re always on your phone.”

That certainly touched a nerve. Then I was done.

Why doesn’t Facebook have a response time that says: Doesn’t answer immediately – too busy baking with the kids/making memories/enjoying the family/dating her husband?

Do we ever unplug or disconnect?

If I want my children to NOT be preoccupied with technology, then I must be a good example for them.

And even with this knowledge, there have been times when I’ve trespassed my own conviction in an attempt to grow my blog. (The struggle is real!)

An Off-Balance Life Leads to Family Disintegration

It’s scaring me…what I see happening to Christian women of influence in the blogging world.

They have climbed so high and have super large platforms (Bible studies, books, etc.), yet behind the scenes their homes are falling apart.

I have prayed and cried my eyes out for these women of God. Seriously, I am so hurt for them; especially because I’ve become so connected to them through their ministry, and I know they love their families.

And while I am in NO WAY insinuating that they are responsible for the sin of others (because they certainly are not), I do ask my self what went wrong; and while I may have a hunch or two on the matter, it remains just that – a hunch.

Only the Lord knows the heart of man, so I’ll stick to praying for the restoration of their home and mind my own business.

Yet, because I do not want to experience those outcomes by over extending myself with Welcome Home Ministry, I’ll have to be vigilant in finding a healthy balance between blogging and my primary ministry: my family.

Creating More White Space in My Day

To help guard against loosing my family while I blog my heart out for “God’s glory” (as if such a thing even existed), I have to put healthy parameters in place.

I did a summer Bible study on sabbath rest and learned the importance of having “white space” in my sabbath day.

White space is a time when you have nothing to do. It helps you to slow down, reorient your thoughts, and focus on God. Now that I have learned this principle I embrace it.

I have also come to realize that the principle of “white space” should apply to my daily home-life as well.

I need to have ample white space and down time in my day to interact with God, my husband, and my children in a non-rushed and meaningful way.

Most of us who value and cherish family-life know that quality time is born out of inordinate amounts of quantity time so, it can’t necessarily be scheduled.

This is why I’ve chosen to “drip” on this blog – to create more white space in my day. It’s a small step I’m taking to NOT allow ministry to derail my home-life.

One small step as a blogger. One giant leap for my family.

*for pinning*


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Comments

  1. I really needed to read this post. A couple of things you mentioned I’d not thought about before, but you can bet I will be now. And a couple of things you mentioned gave me a sense of validation, because I thought I was the only one who thought like that—like response time. Great insights and challenges, Tiffiney.

  2. This is so true and so needed. I am so happy you pointed out all of these things that I find myself battling daily. I need these reminders. Like a bloggers commandments in a few rooms around my house. Thanks for this 💕

    • Hey Brittany, a “Blogger’s Commandments” would be a great resource for us a bloggers. I’d love to work on that some day. I’ll add it to the list. LOL! 🙂

  3. Great post Tiffiney. It is hard not to try and do everything they say we should be doing. We want to be successful bloggers. And it is easy to forget that bigger bloggers don’t do it all. They have help and people working in the background. Setting boundaries. Deciding to do only a few of the things. Knowing who we really work for and keeping Him front and center. All are helpful. Thanks for these words. Let us heed the warning. And let us be content to drip.

    • “Knowing who we really work for.” In live that! I’m glad to know he doesn’t judge me based on the amount of likes and followers I have.

  4. Amen, sister! This is why I only blog three days a week and one of those days is simply sharing my photography and a wise quote I’ve recently read.

    • Three days a week?! I’m down to once every two weeks. Lol! But I remember those days. Things were simpler then. ☺ I’m looking forward to stopping by your “cottage” for a visit.

  5. Ack!
    This post actually reminded me of the wisdom I gleaned from Linda’s post above, and I live in this very same tension. Every day, I come back to the truth that if it were not for all the real life “interruptions” that keep me from writing or teaching as much as I would like to, I would have no business writing or teaching at all.

    • Oh my goodness, Michele – I live in that space every day: “…if it were not for all the real life “interruptions” that keep me from writing or teaching as much as I would like to, I would have no business writing or teaching at all.” I have so many blog posts in my head that never make it to paper (or my key board) because I’m too busy living the moments. I guess that’s the way it’s supposed to be if we’re doing anything right at all? 🙂

      • I can so relate to having all these ideas that never get written in finished form. I just filed away another file folder of them. And I need to be alright with that. Thanks for reminding me that living in the real world with interruptions is more important.

  6. What a thoughtful post about a difficult subject. Thank you for sharing your heart and ideas with us to encourage us, but also to challenge us.

    Praying that God shows me what I need through these words today!

  7. Wow! Very insightful post. I am sure most of your readers saw themselves in some of the descriptions in this piece. I certainly did. 10 years in blogging world is forever! Congratulations on your longevity. I have only been blogging for 10 months. I do have a presence on FB and Twitter, but I have found that I don’t really tend to them like I used to. I check them every once in a while, but the only posts going to either platform are the automatic new blog post announcements. I feel kind of bad about that, but, as you said, there is only a finite amount of time…

    • Don’t feel bad, Laurie. Facebook (and all other social media platforms) are designed to pull you in and suck up all of your time if you are not discerning. Remember, they are all competing with each other and are all very good at what they do: enticing you to be more sociable. You can pray that God shows you how to make the best of your time on each platform you use so that you are blogging smarter, not harder. Even still, you will have to reach a place when you say “enough (growth/time) is enough!” Thank you for stopping by and God bless you in your blogging journey!

  8. I reeaaally enjoyed reading this. You are an amazing writer. I am not a blogger ‘yet’, but I can relate to everything you wrote here.
    I really need to learn balance in everything as a wife and mom of 3 little ones.
    As for the “white space”, I intend to apply that principle immediately.
    I’m glad I found your blog. Love all the way from Nigeria, West Africa.

    • Hey Joy, the white space principle is amazing, though not easy to live by.😊 Good having you all the way from Nigeria!

  9. This is soooo good! I believe God is constantly growing us as Christian bloggers, and the challenges we face to remain in firm in him are real. I particularly love the device management tip, and it grieves me to see so many moms and dads choosing their devices over their children.

  10. This is super timely for me. I’ve been a bit consumed with my blogging. This reminds me to incorporate balance and a few ways to work smarter – not harder. I really need to beef up my IG game too. Glad you mentioned it on here.

    • A little heart adjustment? YES! I so love that because that’s what we all most likely need to do. My heart adjustment is on going. 🙂

  11. Hi Tiffiney! Love your blog and I’m glad I found you. I want you to know that I always unsubscribe from women who blog every day. I cannot keep up with their posts! I don’t have that kind of time! I much prefer women who blog just when they really have something worth saying. It makes the posts more special when it doesn’t happen every day!

    I enjoyed your post on decorating for holidays as well. I do that, too! And I’ve also felt the exhaustion, “should I keep doing this? is it worth my time?” and then my son, or someone, will say how much they enjoy the decorations, and so I keep doing it. I enjoy looking at my neighbor’s decor and I try to return the favor. One year we didn’t put up our lighted nativity display and our neighbors all said they missed it. I want to encourage you to decorate for St. Patrick’s Day, too!!! I’m half Irish, so I give you permission. 🙂 Remember – St. Patrick wasn’t Irish! He preached the Gospel to the Irish. So decorate away! I have green placemats and table runner, potholders, wooden shamrocks in flower pots, three-leaf clovers on my windows, and a wooden shamrock for the door with Happy St. Patrick’s Day on it. I have 1 leprechaun, but I focus on St. Patrick – teacher’s supply stores have a cut out of him (or just print his picture from internet) and I have a map of Ireland and a book about him. I use the day as a reminder of fulfilling the Great Commission.

    I also keep the St. in St. Valentine’s day as they did years ago – wonder when they will try and drop the Saint from St. Patrick’s Day. And I don’t call Thanksgiving “turkey day”. I decorate as you do, and on the 4th of July I make sure there is a Declaration of Independence posted!

    I also appreciated you speaking the truth about too many women looking at their phones instead of into their child’s eyes. I see that all the time now. And moms no longer hold toddler’s hands, either. I saw one mom shrug off her child’s hand, about 6 yo, when crossing the street so she could text instead. So sad.

    Thanks for your uplifting blog!

    Janine

    • Hey Janine! I am so glad that you stopped by! We are kindred spirits. (No spiritual hocus pocus implied in the statement. LOL!) I love what you said about St. Patrick’s Day. I got the biggest belly laugh from that statement. Seriously, you slay me! But now it’s official. I’m decorating for St Patrick’s Day. Thank you for officially giving me permission; and please stop by more often. 🙂

  12. Tiffiney, I am saying Amen over and over to your observations and conclusions. We are resonating, friend. I’ve been blogging 10 years and have known the pull from much of what you’ve spoken about.

    http://www.lindastoll.net/2018/04/the-underbelly-of-blogging-sloppy.html

    The only social media I’m on is LinkedIn. I only link up to a few link-ups. I write when I feel like I have something to say and don’t follow any kind of schedule. I crave that white space you spoke about like air and water.

    I know I’m missing out on greater impact and connection and followers. It’s easy for me to be envious of those who have a larger platform. But these choices work for me and allow me to have a life beyond the screen.

    It was just too easy for me to be tethered constantly to the keyboard, running from hither to yon. No more …

    Thanks for letting bloggers know it’s ok to figure out what works best for them and let the rest go.

    Super post, friend!

    • Hey Linda! I So so appreciate your comments. I see that you have found greater freedom than I have in blogging. I’d love to catch up with you. It takes a good bit of bravery to pull back the way you have. I’m on my way to your blog now to read your post. Thanks for sharing!

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