In the Dumps
I passed my six month blogging anniversary the other day and found myself struggling with discouragement. Although I went into this endeavor fully realizing that I shouldn’t expect amazing results within the first six months, I still had hoped for more. My visitor count seemed to be stuck and my income was nearly non-existent.
Before I started blogging, I promised myself to evaluate my progress in six months; and my evaluation was not rosy. I just couldn’t see how my blog would achieve any measurable success for a long, long time. I was nowhere near quitting but nevertheless bummed out.
Out of the Dumps
Bear with me…this is going to make sense in a minute. As I have been going through 1 Corinthians in my morning devotion time (a few verses at a time) I kept wondering what the Lord wanted me to get from Paul’s explanation in Chapter 9 that, although he refuses to take money for his ministry (for concern that some might misjudge his motives), those who are served should freely reward those who minister.
I said, “OK Lord, I get it. I will do whatever I can to make sure that our church’s paid staff is adequately rewarded.”
But then, I felt like the Lord was saying, “Joe, there is more here. Think of yourself as the one ministering.”
As I re-read Paul’s words from 1 Cor 9: 15-18 (the Message translation), God gave me a fresh perspective on serving and blogging:
“Still, I want it made clear that I’ve never gotten anything out of this for myself, and that I’m not writing now to get something. I’d rather die than give anyone ammunition to discredit me or impugn my motives. If I proclaim the Message, it’s not to get something out of it for myself…..So am I getting anything out of it? Yes, as a matter of fact: the pleasure of proclaiming the Message at no cost to you. You don’t even have to pay my expenses! “
Note that “I’m not writing now to get something.” really jumped out at me. To apply these words literally to my blogging experience would delve into spiritual weirdness and certainly twists Paul’s original intent. But the principle Paul was espousing (giving with no ulterior motives) is quite applicable.
My new and improved philosophy, therefore, involves:
- A refocused goal.
My number one reason for writing is to serve, not make money.
Does this mean that it is wrong to make money blogging? Certainly not! Whereas Paul himself refused to accept pay, the principle is that those who minister should be paid.
I have therefore vowed that my highest motive in everything I write is to serve others.
- A new measurement of success: I am successful when I serve. Period.
Paul’s top priority was proclaiming God’s message. Although he would not accept pay, he was nevertheless compensated: he received the pleasure of proclaiming the Message.
Like most men, my tendency is to measure success in objective and measurable terms, such as page views and income earned. Of course those are good measures of success, but I have determined that they will be secondary.
I have vowed that my primary measure of success will be, like Paul, to simply know that I am spreading a good message.
At my six month juncture of blogging, I have evaluated and decided to continue. I have also made some subtle but significant new vows based on inspiration from 1 Corinthians 9: 15-18. I believe that focusing on serving will not only make me a better writer, but will inspire me to stay upbeat and excited about writing.
One more thing: while getting more readers and more income are secondary goals, I definitely want them to happen. I believe they will if I continue to keep my focus on my primary goal.