Beauty in the Mess,  Messy Faith,  Personal and Spiritual Ramblings,  Writing and blogging

Shifting Focus {and how my blogging might need to change}

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I sit here failing for words. I feel like I’m on the verge of something new, but yet unable to put my finger on what that might be.

I tell my husband these things in the car. We are talking about my blog. He speaks of goal-setting and then he tells me to figure out what my one message should be. The one thing I want to teach or share, if I were speaking to a live audience. And then to keep coming back to that one thing.

“Yeah, but I already know what that is…” I tell him.

“It’s finding God’s beauty in my mess, and giving others hope that they can find God’s beauty in their mess too.”

I believe that this message is something that I have come back to time and time again, and successfully so.

But I’ve focused a lot – maybe too much – on the mess.

The mess of mothering a difficult child.

The mess of loving a combat veteran.

The mess of a troubled spiritual past.

The mess of developing personal identity.

The mess of mothering through chronic fatigue syndrome.

At Allume, Katie and I got to talking about how, so often, we just long for people to truly get how much we have been through, and what we are going through. I think a lot of this has come out in my blogging.

It’s been a lot about my mess.

There’s been a lot of self-justification.

If people would just understand why I’ve made the choices I’ve made because of how hard my life has been, then I would be known. Then I would feel loved. Then I would feel secure. 

And so, I’ve blogged defensively. I’ve justified everything from my parenting style to why we don’t have romantic date nights.

I’ve blogged out of – and through – a lot of insecurities.

Do I regret it? No. I don’t think so. Because it’s been a necessary part of my development as an adult. (This is where the whole beautiful…in His time part comes in.) Becky has encouraged me that, as humans and as bloggers, it’s inevitable that, from time to time, we will write from a less-than-perfect place with less-than-perfect motives. And that’s okay.

“The closer I get to thirty, the more secure I feel in who I am,” I tell my husband. “I feel less need to justify my choices to everyone else. Because nobody really needs to know. And the internet is so full of people trying to justify their choices.”

And then I find myself saying, “At some point, it can’t be all about me anymore.”  

I think I feel this shift coming – this dichotomy between what my blog is and what it could be. And not in terms of followers or stats as much as how it could be an extension of personal growth and maturity, and better help others.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

I think that it might be time to shift focus: to focus less on the mess and more on the beauty.

Less on killing and more on healing.

Less on breaking down and more on building up.

Less on weeping and more on laughing.

Less on mourning and more on dancing.

Less on hating and more on loving.

Less on war and more on peace.

And maybe, above all, to focus less on me and more on Him.

“He hath made every thing beautiful in his time.” -Ecclesiastes 3:11

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  • Christin

    This is so wonderful, Aprille. You know, when I first started Joyful Mothering about 5 years ago, it started off as a place for me to grow in joy in my mothering. Quite honestly, the blog was birthed right in the middle of (or toward the end, rather) of being pregnant, birthing, and nursing 5 children within 8 years! I had just had my last baby the month after I started it.

    I focused a lot on the negatives because it’s like it was all I could see. So I started Joyful Mothering as sort of an accountability for myself to see more joy in my days. My hormones were all the rage at that point in my life.

    Now that our adoption is complete (which carried a lot of the same kinds of emotions as pregnancy and postpartum), it’s liked I’ve looked up for the first time in 12 years. “Oh, there’s the light. There’s the sun.” I had forgotten what it felt like to feel whole, physically. And I believe our spiritual and physical selves are linked. One effects the other.

    But if there’s one thing I learned during those years, it’s that I clung closer to Jesus than ever before because I was so desperate for Him. Oh it was messy. But it was real. I don’t want to not cling to Him when the sun is out and my season is turning so warm after such a long winter. This is a time of praise and adoration — maybe you’re entering that same season? 🙂

    P.S. Thank you for the link love. 😉

    • Aprille

      Christin – yes. I think that’s how I’m starting to feel. Things still aren’t easy but both my son and husband are getting help, we are more settled after 3 moves in 6 years, I’m learning my physical limitations, and definitely coming into more of my own personal and spiritual identity. I don’t always feel the sun, but I think that “settled” is a better term for it. I don’t know what the future of this blog will look like, but I think it’s going to reflect that settled feeling – no longer clamoring for likes and followers or writing out of anger or insecurity (at least that’s my hope).

  • Sarah Kaminski

    I loved reading this post, Aprille. It feels like you are coming full circle. The messes will still be there, and we all have them. But God… He brings beauty to our messes to shine His light. He allows our messes so there can be more of Him. I know that your shift of focus will be a great encouragement to others because it will help all of is to see the beauty in our own messes 🙂 I am thankful you are so transparent in your sharing.

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