I’ve been dipping my toes in these waters for years…starting my first blog when I was 19. I wrote to share stories as I gallivanted around Western Europe on my study abroad adventure. It was therapeutic and relaxing and made me feel connected to a home so far away.

I had always loved to write, but this was the first time I was sharing my heart with the world wide web. It was the first time people were reading and responding. I loved it and it energized me.

Writing became my happy place– a retreat from whatever was churning around me. And engaging with readers, people who valued what I said (or disagreed with it), allowed me grow and challenged me to think differently and pushed me out of my comfort zone.

But over the years blogging has changed. It is nearly impossible to just have a blog. Now, to reach readers, one must have a thriving Facebook page (and, preferably Instagram and Pinterest and Twitter.) These days what is written is judged instantly, even by the photo. Likes and shares dictate value, boost popular authors and provide a sense of false authority. And, for the writer’s behind the scenes, create a sense of worth… or not.

It has been a challenge not to get sucked into this seemingly necessary cycle. There are times I want to quit writing based on lack of likes, or think I’m really something when I get a lot of positive feedback. Sure, there is definitely significance to what readers have to say, but I should never place my value on it.

Pride and performance are ugly and cunning sins. They sneak up, dressed as good intentions. They confuse and ultimately convince me that all of this is about ME pleasing YOU. About promoting me, creating my brand and building my platform. That if I do all of that, THEN Jesus will be honored. Then Jesus will be the spotlight…but first, me.

I recognize this lie now. I feel it creep up, cozying up to me, and am learning how to squash it with truth, shoving it into the light.

I don’t want the enemy to have his way. I believe God created me to learn and write and speak, to encourage and equip. So I’m not stopping. But in this process I’ve learned this space needs clearer vision…a known focus.

And I want you to know it is about Jesus. This space is for Him and it is for you to know Him better. To be encouraged as you continue to discover your true identity as His daughter, and to be equipped to live fully ALIVE in His grace.

I hope this can be an encouragement to you too. That you can take deep breath in whatever you are doing today and remember your true audience is One. We live to honor Jesus.

This doesn’t mean we should hide or stop being awesome. We are His masterpieces–our lives reflect His greatness! So shine my friends! Use your gifts and your talents and be great in whatever space you are in. But let’s stop chasing the likes of humans, and getting sucked into the lie that this life is about building our own kingdoms.

What a joy it is that Jesus invites us to be a part of His Kingdom coming…the Kingdom that never fails and isn’t powered by pride or performance, instead by the deepest of love.