Sunday, November 2, 2014

My Little Corner of the World

Almost 2 weeks ago I attended the Allume Conference - blogger's conference in Greenville, South Carolina.  It began on a Thursday afternoon and went well into Saturday night. It was packed full with about 7 speakers a day, tons of books, vendors, and 450 women from all over the country.

I would venture to guess that most women left very encouraged and excited, but I left feeling very small, insignificant and overwhelmed!!!

450 women bloggers, most of them also writing and publishing books!! 
Wow, I knew we women were talkers, but this potential word count stuns me into silence!!

I am an introvert. 
I am a thinker. 
It takes me awhile to process my experiences. 
I am easily overwhelmed with over-abundance.

Sometimes when I'm shopping, I walk into a store and immediately go on sensory overload because there is just too much, too much! 
Sometimes I even turn around and walk out.
My mind has a hard time processing this. 
I don't even know where to begin!


I left the conference feeling like such an amateur; what could I possibly contribute that at least one of these lovely ladies hasn't already contributed? 
Why do we need one more voice out there? 
And how could my voice possibly be heard in the vast sea of voices?

I came home and then started receiving emails from some of the women I had met. 
This overwhelmed me even more. 
Every time my phone or tablet "pings," I sigh heavily. 
I don't feel like I can "keep up."

Most of the women who attended the conference were much younger than me.  Most are still actively raising their families and the majority are married and still have a husband to think about.  A good majority of these women blog for a living and have grown up in a technological world and can run circles around me with their computer knowledge. In most cases, they were a lot smarter, broader in their scope and much more savvy than me.

I started blogging, seriously blogging, just over a year ago now. 

I self-published my first book in 2011 - Strength of My Heart.  I wrote this book because I felt called to write it.  There is no other way to describe it.  I never dreamed of writing a book.  It was not on my Bucket List and, truth be known, I really didn't want to write it.  I knew nothing, and still know very little, about the literary world. 

But I felt God called me to write it and after several years of ignoring the call, I finally got serious and wrote it. I have sold about 100 copies and given away many.  It was never about the fame and notoriety to me.  It was about being faithful.

I have been a Christian for almost 40 years and God has done a tremendous work in my heart and life.  I came to Him broken, rejected and hopeless.  He has put me back together, accepted me with open arms and given me hope in the midst of some hopeless situations.  My life has basically revolved around my walk with the Lord.  He has made a rich deposit of Himself into my heart and I have had, for years, a desire to share that with others.  I don't believe God cleans us up and "repairs" us just for ourselves, but that we might share the hope He has given us with others.

So, when the Lord opened up the avenue of blogging to me, I saw it as a way to share that deposit with others.  I was pretty ignorant about the whole process; still am, basically, and I have enlisted family and friends to help me navigate around the wonderful world wide web! 

I didn't know anything about "building a following" or "increasing your base" or any of that stuff.  Still don't.  I don't even know how to Twitter and I'm not sure I want to.  I think I have 8 followers (people who have signed up to receive my blog via email) and on any given blog, about 15-25 hits (I think).  So, you can see I am pretty "small potatoes."

I basically have a love/hate relationship with my computer.  When it's working properly, I love it.  When it's not, I'm ready to throw it out the window.  Many times, I have had to tell myself, "Just walk away now and no one gets hurt!" and then go to the other room to "cool off."

OK, back to the conference again. 
I went thinking and hoping I would learn more about the "mechanics" of blogging and how to increase my followers. 
I didn't. 
God had other plans.

As you know by now, it doesn't take a whole lot to overwhelm me and at this conference, I was overwhelmed.
"Being overwhelmed is often as unproductive as doing nothing."
Myquillon Smith (one of the conference speakers)
I talked to women who have over 1,000 followers and they were throwing out words like - wordpress, blackchicken host, sidebars, plug-ins - you get the picture? 
I felt like a fish out of water, for sure.

Anyway, I came home wondering again - what could I possibly have to say that hasn't already been said? 
What possible difference could my blog make in the giant ocean of all blogs? 
Am I just serving myself by doing this? 
Who am I trying to kid?

I felt like a miniscule granule of sand on the beach of a huge ocean. 
Who would ever see me among all the other grains of sand?


Well, God does! 
It's taken me almost 2 weeks to process through the experience of that conference and God has brought me out the other side intact with His love written all over me.

My blog matters because I matter to Him and it doesn't matter whether I ever have more than 8 followers or not, I am answering His call here in my "little corner of the world."

I was really okay finally and able to start processing the very uplifting and encouraging messages I heard at the conference, when God gave me this in my morning devotional time:

"In every area of your life where there is trouble, God is calling you to a small step of faith and love.  He is not calling you to solve what is wrong.  What God is calling you to do is always less than the bad things that might happen.  Your troubles do not rest on your shoulders.  You are living in a world where there is trouble, but you are in relationship with a God who is in charge of his world.  He has a purpose for you in every situation where there is trouble: God is calling you to be constructive in a very small corner of his world.  There is an ecology motto: 'Think globally, act locally.'  Apply this motto to your day-to-day life.  Think globally by remembering every day that God is in charge of the world, and he is watching over his sheep.  And then act locally by asking God each day to show you what small, constructive thing he is calling you to do." 
David Powlison from Heart of the Matter

The faithfulness of God!  He didn't have to encourage me with this word, but He did.  All He is asking of me is to "act locally."  Just continue to listen to His voice and do my part.  I understand now that it is thinking "globally" that overwhelms me and it overwhelms me because it is not mine to carry.  God breaks it down for me - and for you - to just do our part.  Just do what He has called us to and if we all did that, then globally things would change, but that is ultimately up to God.

He does see me - that miniscule grain of sand and He says I matter because I help to make up the whole beach.

Your grain of sand matters, too!
Just felt that someone else needed to hear that today, too!

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