What I’ve learned from keeping a faith-based blog

What I’ve learned from keeping a faith-based blog

After 4 1/2 years of more or less consistent blogging, I feel I have earned a bit of wisdom I would like to share. This is not only what I would tell any beginner, but also what I use to preach to myself (no pun intended); sometimes the advice we most need to hear is what we are already telling others.

Trust your calling. love inspire encourage . How did you know you wanted to write

Stay connected to God. If I am not consistently walking in obedience and living step of God’s will, all is in vain.

Perseverance. breaking through the demon voices. conquering my own guilt over my sometimes unpractical expectations of myself.

Relevance is key. Care what people want to read. My calling is to share what I learn and teach through experience and writing. If it’s not relevant to anyone but me, it’s great but not helpful. “If you speak to people in words they don’t understand, how will they know what you are saying? You might as well be talking into empty space,”1 Cor 14:6-9

Refuse to be limited. At the same time, don’t care what people want to read. Don’t be hung up on numbers. This is a real problem self employed creatives face everyday, and there are tons of opinions on the subject. Some people believe you need to maximize numbers in order to maximize your  arc of  influence. You want it to matter to as many people as possible, but at the same time, I’m of the personal opinion that you can’t grow in a box. Like all plants, you can start out small, but as your roots grow, they need space to stretch out and explore new and exciting places. I speak from experience when I say – It will not do to limit yourself to what brings in the numbers; you will soon find that you become a slave to likes and followers, instead of the One who called you in the first place.

Be yourself, apologetically. (Unless you are actually just a troll. Then I’d say do some soul searching) Boldness is non-negotiable. I struggle with this one. The age of the Internet is truly one for the history (e)books. Blogging and social media have totally changed the way I interact with my friends, family, and world. Being that Facebook/Instagram is the only means of interaction I have with many, many friends and acquaintances, what I decide to post (or not to post, that is the question) can be powerful. If my words turn someone off, they will probably unfollow me or unfriend me. If my words inspire and encourage, they might still not be interested in what I have to say next time. That’s not to say that we need to pander to what we think people want to hear; I am not in the business of tickling ears. Rather I think it’s important to be respectful. (A dying breed, it seems!) I’m not trying to troll, nor will I be so afraid of what others will think of me. Rather, I want to find a happy medium where I can be myself according to my best judgement and conscience. Sometimes my conscience will not allow me to continue unless I have said something (e.g. Cupgate) and then very often, I find myself writing back to someone’s comment I think is stupid – step back, take a look at myself and ask if it’s really something I want to have spent my time doing. Oh how Facebook commenters enrage me someimes! But – again, respect. And remembering my calling: love, inspire and encourage.

Don’t be discouraged by lack of response. 4.5 years of blogging has generated very very little response.  Anyone working hard at their calling can agree that it’s very encouraging to witness a response.  I have a few regular readers (that I know of) I will shamefully admit that I have personally reached out to several friends and family members to incite some degree of participation, to no avail. Like Eve with the serpent, I have little Stats demons whispering in my ear-  Did God really say you should write? Maybe you heard him wrong because I don’t see him coming on the clouds to ‘Lazarus’ your ratings… While my focus has never been Stats, I do realize that any response good or bad is something. At least I can discern it from there. And part of this is my own fault (see Boldness above). I am introverted (meaning I recharge and gather strength from being alone rather than being around people) and I am private about my thoughts. So I find it more difficult than others to be open.

In the next 5 years I’d like to grow to be more transparent in my writing, allow more of my personality to shine through, and be consistent. to never stop creating. Blogging is an excellent exercise in getting consistent with any type of dream you might have. Whether it’s writing, drawing, learning something new it’s a great way to jot down some thoughts and have a sort of journal of your progress. The fact that it’s made public is all the more exciting to share with others. because what is the point of creating something you were called to do if it is not shared with the world to add beauty?

 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Matthew 5:14-16

Refocusing within the flames

Refocusing within the flames

Hi Friends! After a long break, Joshua chapters 23 & 24 are finally up.

Over the past several months I have come to realize that my focus has truly been split between wanting what the world has to offer, and wanting what God has to offer.

Joshua 24 speaks beautifully to that point. First he reminds us of where we’ve been and then where we are now. God has already proved his faithfulness to us – what more can he do to show he is worthy of our trust?

Joshua doesn’t demand the same answer from everyone. He simply requests that each and every one of us take a hard look at what we want out of life and then commit to it.

If you want to follow the world, do it with full-fledged commitment. If you want to follow the Lord in faith, don’t just say so – really do it and just watch God transform you and your path.

It’s up to you and no one else can make the decision for you. Not your parents, not your peers, not your pastor. Just choose something – or else allow yourself to become a terrible waste of perfectly good potential.

I love this word, not only because it’s challenging and bold, but because it is so applicable in every season of life.

As for me, you might have noticed that I’ve been MIA over the past several months. For those of you who don’t know, I’m now 5 months pregnant and experiencing all the pleasures of pregnancy, like being told the same cliche advice over and over, and having total strangers touch my belly.

It’s great, but it’s made me realize something important. There will soon be a little sponge who will witness everything I say and do, and naturally, want to imitate me. I am about to become an example -one of the first and most profound examples- of faith in Christ to another human being. Does that just blow your mind? It does for me.

As such, a holy fire has been lit under my bottom to strive for more scripture-soaking than ever before. If following Jesus was important to me before, it is now a matter of life and death.

Not that I look forward to coercing my child into faith – I’m not that naive. Rather, to practice what I preach. My goal is to be a living witness to the transformation faith in Christ brings – not only in our individual lives but here in the midst of a world falling apart. The last thing I want it to see is another hypocritical Christian family who says one thing on Sunday and does another on Monday.

I’m sorry that I haven’t always been this zealous, but He’s faithful in giving me a fresh new reason to go forth on the directive I received many years ago. It was to learn, live, and share with others how Jesus is the only thing I need to navigate my life.

I’m not sure yet what this will look like for the blog, but I’m planning – God willing – to incorporate more scripture study, more discussion, and more application to the 2017 world in which we find ourselves.

Molly

Called: An Interview with Lisa Morris of Conforming To The Truth

Called: An Interview with Lisa Morris of Conforming To The Truth

Hello and welcome to anther exciting installment of Called! The amazing stories of ordinary people who respond to God’s call. Today we have an interview with one of our sisters in Christ, Lisa Morris author ofConforming to the Truth.net.

I first came into contact with Lisa through her scripture-teaching blog via WordPress. I was first intrigued by the words Free, Bible, and Study (I guess I’m just a nerd like that!). Her articles are relatable, real, and overflowing with truth. As I saw her posts from day to day, I soon felt an overwhelming need to reach out and say hi. Her accomplishments mirrored my vision for Pure Disciple and I just had to meet her. We have become fast friends over email and she has graciously agreed to allow me to interview her. So here is a little about Lisa. I hope you enjoy and don’t forget to check out Conforming to the Truth!

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What do you do for a living?

I am a stay at home mom. Before I had children I worked as a manager of a Baskin Robbins. Yummy, a great place to work. When Andrew our first born came I worked for a while. Roy and I played tag team. When I was at work Roy had him, when Roy was at work I had him. Then Sarah our second child came along. By this time Roy and I had decided that God was calling us to homeschool. I quit work and have been home ever since. We added our third child Hannah. I have been home with them for 19 years. I would not change it for anything in the world. 

What is the goal of your ministry?
I want to get women of all ages into the word of God. In my Bible Study at home, we have a mixture of ages ranging from 60 years young to 10 years old and all ages in between. Both older women and younger women are sharing what they have learned from the word of God!There is a generation of women, young and younger, who do not know the God of the Bible, nor the precepts that He has commanded. I pray that through these studies and this blog that God will grow a generation of women that know Him, live for Him, and stand on His word!

My desire is to guide women through the Bible using my free lessons. What makes these lessons different is that they guide you through the word one verse at a time through an entire book of the Bible. The Bible is your answer key. 

I also desire that God will raise up women who have a heart for His word and a desire to guide others through His word as well. That they will take this desire and start a study group in their home or church. If you have that desire please get in contact with me and we will pray and see where God leads. 

How did you come to this work? About 20 years ago during a Sunday School class, I was very convicted. The teacher was talking about how important it was to be in the word of God. I was not in God’s word as I should have been. In that moment, God put a great desire in my heart to study and know Him through His word. As time went on He grew a desire in me to teach and guide other women through His word. He opened doors of opportunity for me to be a leader in BSF Bible Studies. After several years in BSF He pulled me out and sent me to Precept Ministries in Chattanooga Tennessee. During this time, there was a growing desire to teach in my church and to start home studies. I taught a ladies Sunday School class for about 5 years. I have also led home classes for around 10 years. I currently hold a class in my home. 

What is the favorite thing in what you do? My greatest joy is to see God grow those who are in His word. I have seen God change and teach so many hearts. There is no greater joy! I also love those “A HA” moments, when a sister learns something about God that she had not understood before. All for His glory!

What is this most difficult part? Waiting and trusting. I desire so much for women who are in the word to grow. Sometimes it seems as if there is no growth at all. It seems that not much has changed in a life. I have to know and understand that in the times that there seems to be no growth that there really is growth. God always works on his time frame. I must be patient and trust in Him and His timing. 

What is one lesson that God has taught you in your career? That I am continually being conformed. When I first started teaching I thought I had to know everything. That sounds so prideful and it is! But, I thought teachers knew it all. I thought they had this direct word from God. They do, it’s His word:)  God is continually teaching me, and that is the way God has designed it. If I knew everything I would be God. I cringe to even write those words but they are so true!  If you ever come across a teacher who claims to know it all, flee! No one knows it all!

What do you think might be on the horizon for you? I hesitate to answer this because my flesh can be so deceiving! I am praying that God open doors of opportunity for speaking so that I might be an encouragement to women who are in the word. It appears He may be doing this. I covet your prayers!

Where did you grow up? I was born in Winter Garden Florida,  next door neighbor to Orlando, Home of Disney World. At the age of 5, we moved to the great state of Tennessee.  I have lived here ever since. I currently live with my family in Bon Aqua, Tennessee. 

What’s the first encounter with God you remember having? 
When did you first come to faith?
If you do not mind I am going to answer the last two questions together. 

I grew up in a Christian home and at the age of 13 God saved me. That would be the first encounter that I had with God. He has kept His promise of continuing the good work that He started in me. Through His grace and mercy, I grow to know  Him more and more each day!

 


Want to know more about what Lisa does?

Thank you for reading! I sincerely hope you enjoyed today’s interview!
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God Bless,
Molly