Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years
Yeah, that’s probably not the best way to start off my first post in two months but it’s the truth. I’m weird. I have a weird way of thinking. My boss has told me he’s never met someone, especially a dude, who thinks like me. He always points back to a conversation we had when I first started working here. We were having a cook out for an event and, two days before the event, I woke up in the middle of the night thinking, “Crap, did anyone buy hot dog buns?”
Yes, that’s how my brain works.
So you see, I have weird quirks. It’s who I am. I recognize most of them, understand a lot of them, and can control some of them. One of those things, and I may have mentioned this on here before, is a constant struggle in my head between me feeling like I’m not good enough and me feeling like I’m the best person on the planet. Those are two completely opposite things that I bounce between. Sometimes I find the safe ground in the middle but I’ve been known to go from one end to the other in a matter of minutes.
The battle between those two things is at the root of why I quit writing for two months.
Back in December I came up with this great plan to take This Isn’t High School from this little po-dunk blog about a kid growing up and turn it into the next up-and-coming student ministry blog.
I was going to be known as one of the rising voices in the student ministry world.
I was going to be on my way to getting a book deal.
I was going to be bigger than just another student ministry intern.
I decided to break down and spend the $17 to get the “.com” name for the web address. I changed the layout completely and started using capital letters. I changed the tagline from “One Kid’s Story of Growing Up” to “Student Ministry | Growing Up | Being Awesome.” I started sending in the posts that I thought were good to student ministry and church blogs hoping that I could become a guest post and get my name out there. People were going to view me as something other than just another student ministry intern.
I made writing schedules. I knew that I had to spend 30 minutes every night writing. I made sure that I was posting something at least on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Those were my three biggest reading days so I wanted to feed my ego with posts on those days. I would tweet twice a day with some catchy phrase describing my post hoping people would read it. I’d check my dashboard 10-20 times a day to see how many people had read that day’s post. I was determined to have a great student ministry blog and not just one from another student ministry intern.
I wanted to be more than just another student ministry intern.
I wanted to be bigger.
I wanted to be more known.
I started feeling like I didn’t measure up because those things weren’t happening. My viewers weren’t going up. My students never texted me or Facebooked me and told me how much they liked my last post. No one ever commented on anything.
Was I not good enough?
Am I a bad writer?
What am I doing wrong?
Should I write more?
What if I wrote less and just made each post better?
Do people not like me?
These are all thoughts that ran through my head on a daily basis. I began building my self-worth and my view of myself on how well my blog was doing. I neglected the fact that I was part of a thriving ministry, that I had a great girlfriend, and that, other than my little hole of the internet, everything in my life was going absolutely fantastic. My profile and my name and my voice weren’t growing, and obviously that was my fault (in my head), so I didn’t think I was good enough anymore.
In April I realized this wasn’t healthy. I realized that I was being completely stupid and that the only way for me to stop being stupid was to completely quit. I had to stop. I couldn’t just slow down like I had originally thought. I had to put it down, walk away, and not even mention I was doing this to anyone. So that’s what I did. I didn’t visit the site, look at the views, or anything for nearly two months. I honestly didn’t even think about it. I didn’t think about writing or becoming a bigger name or being more than just another student ministry intern.
I focused on what God was actually calling me to do.
The disconnect in my head ultimately came down to this: My definition of “not just another student ministry intern” and God’s definition of the same phrase were two completely different things. I felt like God was calling me to “not just another student ministry intern” but he was calling me to that in a way that was not what I expected it to be.
In my head, it was, “You’re going to be big. I’m making you out to be one of the rising stars. Put your work in and people will know your name. Do this, and you won’t be just another student ministry intern.”
God’s voice, however, was saying, “Work hard. Stay humble. Do the things no one else wants to do. Support your pastors. Love your students. No one will know your name but I’ve known your name since before time. Do this, and you won’t be just another student ministry intern.”
I chose not to hear that. I chose to hear my version because it seemed more fun. It seemed shinier. And, honestly, it seemed like it would feel better.
A week or so ago one of our students posted something on Twitter that concerned me a little bit. She seemed to be going through a lot of the emotions that I went through in college. I sent her a message and part of it said, “I’ve been there. I’ve probably written some things that you can completely relate to. Let me know if I can help at all. I’m here for that.” We went back and forth and I ended up sending her a list of things I had written on here for her to read through. The first one she read was nearly identical to something she’d written the night before.
In that moment, as she told me that, I felt God lean down, tap me on the shoulder, and whisper in my ear, “Psst. That right there is being not just another student ministry intern.”
As that day and the few that followed it went along, I started to get the itch to write again. I hadn’t had that itch in almost two months. It felt good but it felt weird and scary at the same time. Knowing that the pride and insecurity issue could easily pop up again, I knew that the only way that I could start writing again was if God told me that it was okay. I started praying about it, asking if it was okay for me to start again, asking if I would be able to balance the pride vs insecurity issue. As I prayed about all of it, the thought of that student popped back in my head and I felt God, in that way that only he can, whispering, “That right there is why I’ve given you the gift of writing. That’s what I want you to do. I don’t want you to be the next big thing. I want you to tell your story and let me work through that. Trust me.”
So, 1300 words later, what does all of this mean?
It means that I’m going back to what this blog was when it started. I’m going back to telling my story. This is going to be a personal blog. It’s not going to be a ministry blog. It’s going to be my fears and my failures; my wins and my achievements; my ups and my downs. It’s going to be what God’s teaching me through the things that are happening in my life today.
It’s going to be honest.
It’s going to be raw.
It’s going to be one kid’s story of growing up.
And that’s it.
Oh, I almost forgot: say your prayers and take your vitamins.
Have a nice day.