There are a hundred voices in my head telling me that I need to write this post a certain way. That I should research best practices for how people read content online and format my posts to accommodate, or that I should make sure it sounds like “her,” because everyone seems to really love her writing style. And I know I should link back to old posts in this post to make sure you spend more time on my site and make my Google Analytics numbers happy.
I wonder if I should write more posts about the deep, serious part of my faith and what I believe, because then I’ll have more comments and people will hold lively debates and I’ll be shared all over the internet. Or maybe I should try to write more humorous posts because life is already so serious, and maybe then I’ll have more social media shares and tweetable quotes.
Really, the voices tell me I should just find a way to write so that all sentences are 120 characters of pure gold Twitter awesomeness (with enough characters left to tag me, or leave an “amen!” at the end). I should pay someone to create the Pinterest-worthy images to go on each post, I should finally figure out how to use Google+, and I should carve out more time to guest post on big blogs so my name is recognized in important circles.
Last year? I probably would have done all of those things. I craved the recognition, the viral post, the invitations to do it all and be all things for all people, even if it didn’t fit who I was or the type of community I wanted to build.
This year? God has asked me for something else. It’s not new – and I’m not the first one to say it. But this is the year I finally listen. I’m going to keep breaking all the blogging rules, ignore all the best practices, and go back to writing in this space as…me. I don’t want my words to be viewed by millions or thousands or even hundreds if they aren’t glorifying to God and what He has done in my life. I don’t want to be featured on huge platforms if it means trading who I am for who they think I should be. I don’t want to worry that my words will be judged, picked apart or critiqued.
While the rest of my life is settling into a new routine, I’m taking blogging back to simplicity. A monthly link-up instead of a weekly one. Writing when God puts the message on my heart, not because I have an agenda. When Tsh’s new book, “Notes From a Blue Bike,” came out, I felt like it was a confirmation of what I’d been feeling about my writing. In it she says
“Just because I’m good at something doesn’t mean I have to.”
There is a lot I can do. But that doesn’t mean God is asking me to do it all. I don’t want to live my life or write my story like I’m trying to live someone else’s life – I just want this space and this community to be simple. Inviting. Intentional about sharing life and all that happens in it, because that’s when community comes together. Not in a viral post or by writers striving to do it all because they can and they feel like they should because everyone else is whispering that it’s the only way to succeed.
If that’s success? I’d rather fail.
Tsh’s wonderful team at Thomas Nelson is allowing me to give away five copies of “Notes From a Blue Bike” – simply fill out the giveaway widget, below, for your chance to win!
Roni Delmonico says
You speak a timely message for me and it is soooo welcome and appreciated. What freedom there is in these words….
Alison Hector says
Yes and amen! Cosign fully, especially: “I don’t want my words to be viewed by millions or thousands or even hundreds if they aren’t glorifying to God and what He has done in my life.”
Marinalva Sickler says
I’m so glad to hear repeatedly the Blue Bike. It’s so well put together that I can hear over and over.
So want to read this one!
hey hey girl! you’re awesomesauce. Love this and you!
I’m simplifying homeschool this year. My daughter does preschool at home but is only 3 1/2 so I’m taking that social pressure off and just letting her learn as we do things and don’t stress a curriculum like many do!
Kendra Dahl says
LOVE that I stumbled across this post. It’s refreshing to hear and something I want to strive for this year as well. My plan to intentionally simplify this year is to label this the year of learning! (Maybe the first of many.) To approach life as a learner and not like I have it all figured out. And I’d love to read this book. 🙂
This is it. Follow Him, girl!
Tracey Brewer says
I am trying to live more in the moment, instead of always looking ahead – and trusting God for the future!
Bonnie Gray says
I totally agree with you 200%. Write from your heart. That is eternal. And it’s real. And it’s you. Now, *that* is worth gold. *you* are worth more than gold.
Amy Renea says
Less reading…more writing
I’m trying to value quality over quantity.
Joy B. Rudolph says
I love you perspective. I too want to break more blogging rules so I can just be me. I would love to win this book and continue to simplify.
This year I am just seeking God…and focusing on finishing nursing school. While mothering my 3 three blessings. Trying to not let anything else speak to me or top my priority list.
Sarah at Sezen Your Life says
Thank you so much for posting this, Crystal! This was a huge blessing for me. I love it when God gives us confirmation. Especially when it’s physically in writing, and so many of us are in agreement! It’s like a weight has been lifted, and we can remove the distractions to make more room for Him. I am pretty new to the blogging world and struggle with everything you’re talking about. But God has been impressing on me to not lose focus and stay in peace; and to hear it from an accomplished person such as yourself really helps! Thank you, again!
We have all 3 kids in the same sports (Lil Kickers soccer) training class (1 hour a week) instead of being on 3 separate teams with games right now. It’s made a huge difference in our schedules.
Heidi Guyer says
I am praying about what I need to give up in order to focus on what’s really important
I am taking small steps like removing Facebook and twitter from my phone (I was shocked at how hard this was for me) and reading books on intentional living. Tsh’s is on my wish list for sure.
Love this, sweet friend. Thank you for this reminder <3
Amy Hunt says
This is worship. Wholly Holy to say “I am enough, as I am”. I’ve been in a low reader place and I don’t ever follow the rules. Sometimes I worry I’m missing out and should be doing more, but He stills me to accept truth and to trust that the small really is enough. And HE will enlarge my territory, not me (or them). May we both stay and abide and worship right where we are. (Accepting ourselves — as.we.are. is exactly the mission of the big vision He’s impressed upon me.) #withyoi (and oh by the way, I listened to your podcast with Kat this morning and thought about how so similar and familiar you sound to me. Soul sisters, I’d say!)
Lisa-Jo Baker says
Love love love this post and your heart and your wisdom and your friendship. Never leave me….
Girl!!! You been reading my journal again?? Literally just penned these words last week “I wonder what would happen if we let our blogs be? I mean literally just let them be what they are, a space for putting our thoughts down and for connecting in community. What if we stopped with the counting and the comparing and worrying about this person is doing and what that person is doing and just write for the love of writing and when we have something to say?” You are so in my heart with this one friend… And so, so proud of you. I just love watching God pursue you!
Victoria @ Creative Home Keepe says
Love this! “There is a lot we can do, but that doesn’t mean God is asking me to do it all.” I so needed to read this as a reminder today as I’m spinning around in circles trying to “do stuff”. Thanks for the reminder.
Jessica Hoover says
I feel this so strongly also. So glad to be cultivating community and writing right where we are with you.
Wow! I’m relatively new at writing but admire that we need to tell our own stories and not someone else’s under our name. I’m trying to simplify by listening and being true to what God is asking of me. Also by being real-showing the world me and not what i believe others want to see. Thanks for a great post!
My word for the year is “immerse”. I want to be immersed in my time with the Lord, immersed in my time with my husband and children, immersed in my time with friends and church family. Multi-tasking is sometimes good and necessary, but I want to pare the multi-tasking down to the necessary and otherwise be immersed in relationships…with God, my family, and others, and immersed in His Word. I’ve been a master multi-tasker for so long that it may be simplifying to cut back and immerse, but it isn’t necessarily easy!
Love this post, btw…I’ve been wrestling with the same thing…again…and coming to the same conclusions…again. 🙂 Thanks for the challenge and encouragement!
J. Rae says
I am a very big fan of this post. Definitely what I needed to read today! Thanks Crystal!
Deb Anderson Weaver says
Thank you for saying this. For challenging us to be authentic, simple, real.
This right here “Writing when God puts the message on my heart, not because I have an agenda.” Because, that’s how I write best, and I love that you are doing that! Love, love, love this post so much! Keep doing what you do, Crystal! God is using you to encourage so many! <3
Lindsey Hartz says
Love this line: “Just because I’m good at something doesn’t mean I have to.”
I’m intentionally simplifying this year by reading more books, watching less TV, and spending more time with real life friends.
Satin P says
Wowsers, Crystal! I especially needed to hear this today: “There is a lot I can do. But that doesn’t mean God is asking me to do it all.” THANK YOU FOR SHARING! ♥
Great post, living simply sounds so easy but it’s not!
Julie Wilson says
Oh, Crystal… you are speaking my language!! (especially the bit about the twitter worthy sentences) 😉 This coming from the one whose blog has been quiet for THREE weeks!! I feel a twitch developing from lack of writing, but this is the reminder that I needed that I don’t have to be blogging every day… and trying to find pictures that fit the post and linking up to all the old posts… that takes longer than writing the post itself!!
LOVED, loved, it all!!!
Julie Wilson says
I’m thinking that maybe one thing I can do to simplify my life is to stop entering awesome giveaways!! every time I left this page to fulfill an entry, I had to log in all over again… maybe it’s the ipad, maybe it’s user error, but checking remember me box didn’t seem to help!!
It’s a new giveaway tool that’s still in Beta, so I think it may still have a few glitches when you are using something it views as “mobile” 🙂
Amy Krance-Wendt says
Trying to simplify by doing more with what I have. Without wanting more.
Janelle Allen says
Loved your words today! Biggest reason I’ve stepped back from blogging… to simplify. I was starting to feel like I HAD to write or that there were tens of people “expecting” the next post. It felt forced and I felt like I was scraping the barrel for content. Not to mention the two little people I take care of every day that crave their mama’s full attention. I want to wholly invest my time, my attention into their lives so that I can look back and know I was doing the best I could for them. No regrets.
NJ @ A Cookie Before Dinner says
Yes to all of this! I’m done trying to climb the ladders. More passion, less fuss! That is what this year is for me!
Yes! To all of this. This year I just want to simply be me.
Karrilee Aggett says
Love this Crystal… I don’t even KNOW the blogging rules that I am breaking! 😉 And this book? Well – it’s on my wish list for sure but I haven’t even begun to dig in to all the awesomeness from Allume last year – so I promised the Hubby that I would not buy (mostly) any new books until I have read through most of those! But winning… well – that is a different story, right?
As far as simplifying goes… I’ve been on this journey for several years now and the season I am in – with a nearly grown girlie – lends itself to this slower simpler life. I am being more intentional with my time and my relational investments. (and remembering to BREATHE!)
Mary@The Calm of His Presence says
Oh Crystal this resonated so much with what I have been struggling with to try to do “it all”. I’ve come to learn that God will give me the time & words to blog when He has a message He wants me to give. Thank you for being real.
Annie Barnett says
Love this, Crystal.
Just realized there was a specific question to be answered 🙂 I have intentionally stepped back from all ministry responsibilities for a bit. I still thank you for the opportunity to win the book 🙂
Carey Bailey says
I am choosing to be satisfied and know that I am enough as a mom if we accomplish daily Bible reading and prayer.
I would so love to read this book. Thank you for the opportunity!
Amy Tilson says
“No” is the new “yes”, something along those lines. It’s so freeing isn’t it? This book was a total confirmation and so eye-opening at the same time. Brilliant. Love you being you, by the way. It’s the very best you can be and only you can do it. 🙂
Sam Lowdermilk says
Me too, me too, ME TOO! The heaviness of all the “should” and “how-to” is sucking the life out of it in some ways for me. I have been feeling overwhelmed with comparison (my own doing) and that zaps every confidence He’s given – every time! Thank you!!!
I had to comment just to shout, “Amen!” I went through a season when I was doing everything I could to build a platform. Following the tips did prove to grow my blog but conviction crept in, and I realized I need to write what God speaks to my heart and let go of the “business plan” aspect. It is amazing how God blesses when we listen. I’m so glad you are speaking about this. it is an encouragement many writers need to hear. Have a great day!
Becky Daye says
My heart resonates so deeply with this message, Crystal! Thank you for writing it. All for God’s glory- YES!!! This is where true satisfaction is found. Can’t wait to read Tsh’s book!
Thank you for dealing with the questions that have been burdening my lately. I got so caught up in the ‘building a platform’ that I forgot why I really wanted to start blogging in the beginning. I am going to be intentional by reaching out to build relationships more than numbers.
Yes, yes, yes. I’m so there with you. Thanks for being real. And this book is totally on my to-read list. It sounds fabulous.
I guess I should actually answer the question. 🙂 I’m being intentional by not saying yes to everything good thing that comes my way. I’m leaving some white space in my calendar.
AMEN! The greatest lesson I’ve learned about the “writing my faith journey” is “just do it.” I have been immeasurably enriched by trying to do it obediently, and probably wrong. Who cares? It’s His Story, not mine.
Oh Crystal! This … just yes. Sometime last year the Lord led me to that same place. And I’m not doing anything “right” … but I am being obedient. I’m staying home and I’m investing in my community and I’m learning to love others better than myself. And somehow that just doesn’t leave time for all those things you “have to do” in blogging. You go, girl!
I love you more than ever before.
Also? I’d rather see you as a shining crystal than a “virus” any day. And that is what you are — a true shining gem, Crystal Stine.
Elisa Pulliam says
Amen, Crystal. I’m with you on this mission to do it small, if that’s what we’re being called to do, but all for the glory of God.
Andi Gould says
Writing the way He wants is so freeing. I’m so glad to see you listening to His words. Your heart is beautiful and shines bright, and that will bring all the readers you need! Simplifying its always in the forefront of my mind and I think this book would be a great help to continue this lifestyle. Love you bunches, friend!
I am simplifying this year by clearing the clutter; in my house, in my schedule, and life in general. I’ve been wanting to read Tsh’s book and can’t wait to get my hands on it!!
Laura p says
I love your blog (and you) no matter what you write. I feel the same way going into this year. I want to write for me and for my hand full of readers- not for the masses.