taking a step back to take a step forward

I feel like I'm on the cusp of so many new changes. There are so many desires rooted deep in my heart that I have yet to uncover. Things I have pushed away or ignored because of the demands of this online space.

Do you ever feel like you're just struggling to keep your head above blogging water? Why is that? Like you have to write a new post every day and take new photos every hour and stay up to date on half a million other blogs, all at the same time. Sometimes it takes me a little while to recognize what the problem is. Sometimes the things I think are helping me, are actually hindering me. 

Every year, I set new resolutions. And every year, I fail to see them come to fruition. Why is that? I can't possibly be the only one. I see us all joke about it time and again. But dear friends, it is August. And I have barely brushed the surface of the goals and dreams in my heart for this year. 

I don't want to blame this blog as the cause, because it's not. It's the way I blog. 

The past few days, mulling over this post and my words, I've felt guilty. Like I'm going to let you down. Like I'm setting myself (and my jewelry business) up for failure. It's extremely awkward to say, but I'm afraid of being forgotten here in the blogosphere. 

See, there's these changes. A change of heart. A change of focus. The recognition of the desires I've pushed aside for a blog that doesn't truly bring me what I need. I have lost a bit of my voice somewhere along the way and I need it back. 

I'm tired of posting for the sake of posting. I'm tired of trying to stay afloat and get noticed in this online popularity contest. Because okay, let's be honest. As much as we like to say this blogging community is genuine, we all (at times) have selfish motives. We judge. We decide whose blog is worth a read and whose isn't. Everyone wants to make an impact with their blog. Everyone wants to be known and heard.

But I want to be known and heard for me. Not for the blog person I make myself into. Not the mold I unconsciously find myself trying to fit into in order to feel appreciated and worthy of recognition. I don't want to get sucked into the competition of being the best, the most interesting.  I'm tired of the statistics and fake-ness and networking and the numbers and the followers. 

So all of this to say: I'm taking a step back, in order to take a step forward. 

I need time. I need my freedom back, to write my stories and work on my next novel seriously, to enjoy my time with the ones I love, to keep my body and mind healthy. To work on my patience and kindness, my two biggest struggles in this life.

This weekend, E and I sat down and talked, really talked. Can I confess something? It's always bothered me a little that E doesn't fully support my blogging. Sure, he loves that it's another outlet for me to pursue my writing--but that's about it. I didn't understand why he isn't fully onboard, until this weekend. 

Because it takes me away. From present community. From our relationship. From my dreams and goals. From God. From everything, really. I feel so much pressure sometimes to check everyone's blog each day of the week, to write new content for all of you every day, to tweet consistently, to reply to every comment. I made a list of the all the blogs I told myself I had to read every single day--I thought the list would be maybe 25 blogs. It has quickly turned into 78 and continues to grow. I wake up, I get updated, I update my blog, I tweet, I re-tweet, I reply, I redesign, I favorite, I like, I comment. I can't stay away, I'm always checking up on everything and yet still can't keep my head above water.

I'm going to be completely honest with you here: This starts at 8am and doesn't end until 6pm, when E gets home. And then, we eat dinner and talk, and I jump right back on at 8pm and stay plugged in until 10pm, when we crawl into bed. 

It was like a lightbulb went off. Oh. I get it, finally. I see. 

I see an introverted girl who struggles to find friends in the real world, trying to make friends online. I see a vulnerable girl wishing those friendships worked as replacements. I see a girl who wants to feel accepted and important but who is forgetting to be herself because her time is consumed online. I see a girl trying to fill a gap time and again, sacrificing her other goals and priorities in order to get rid of that deep dark void in her heart that she finally realizes only God can fill. 

Please don't take this wrong--your friendships, they mean the world. Maybe you don't recognize just how much. The conversations and connections I make here, they can be so good for a girl like me who just can't seem to find her girl mates. But instead of adding to my interactions, blogging so very much is taking me out of the present and away from my goals. 

Please don't mistake this for my leaving. My blog is staying, but yet again, it is changing. I can't tell you when I will post, or what I will post about. But I can tell you this. 

E and I have started reading through the Word. Starting from the beginning. We are going to read the whole way through, supporting each other the entire way. We are pressing into God and trying to bring our love back into focus. 

I have started writing again. I'm doing a month-long workout challenge. I'm learning how to cook. Working on another novel. Designing new jewelry. I have started reading again, like I used to. And I'm going to learn French, like I've always wanted to. 

I want to be intentional. I want to actually work on becoming a better person, instead of waiting for it to happen. God is showing me where to go, and I am finally taking His hand again.