choosing to connect, not compete.

It’s so subtle when it happens, but all of a sudden, I’m believing that numbers and stats are what matters. And before I know it, I feel like I’m in a competition that I never signed up for. 

I’m in the process of learning about the publishing process, as I have hopes of being published someday. Wow. It feels scary to even write that down. But that is the dream. Anyway, in the midst of my research, one thing that keeps coming up is demonstrating proof that you’re someone worth listening to.

You need to prove that you are worth a publisher taking a risk on.

You need to prove that you have something that X amount of thousands of followers think is worth listening to.

You have to prove you’ve got something other people don’t.

You have to prove that you have credibility with what you’re talking about.

You need to prove that you have the chops to not only write but promote your writing.

You need to get your name out there.

And hurry. Because if you don’t someone else will.

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In a moment’s notice, my heart feels the pressure to produce instead of create. I feel the pressure to prove something with a performance. I feel rushed and stressed. All it takes is an instant and I’ve forgotten why I’m even here. 

And then I hear the whisper in my heart, reminding me of how I came to this place.

Writing was a dream from Jesus. Jesus gave me the abilities to write and craft words. Jesus is the one who asks me to show up and say things. He is the one is asking me to serve in this way.

I’m not writing to create a following. I’m not writing so I can compete with other writers. I’m not writing so I can cultivate tons of traffic for my blog. When I share my writing, it is because I hope it can help someone. It is because I hope that someone has a little courage breathed into them. It is because I want them to experience the grace I’ve been shown. 

I’m writing because I think this is what Jesus is asking me to do in this season.

I’m writing because I think this is a way I can point people to him.

I’m writing because I want other people to know the truth I know.

I’m writing because I want to connect.

I think my forgetful heart needs reminders of these truths every time I sit down to write. This week, as the siren call of pressure and performance felt especially loud, I posted these two index cards next to my writing nook.

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“Trust over Traffic” is an idea that came from an article I read recently. Instead of worrying about how many people are reading, I can do the slow work of building trust. I’m not here to sell anything. I’m here to share truth and build relationships. Sure, it looks different on the internet than in person, but that’s how I think of you, my reader. I think of you as a friend. I want to be a good friend to you, as I write. I want to be someone you can trust, who cares about your heart, more than you being a number or a statistic.

“I write to connect not compete” came from Emily Freeman’s Writer’s Manifesto: How to Write on the Internet Without Losing Your Mind. She has lots of good things to say about how to remember what is truly important when writing, but this really one  idea of connection really resonated with my heart. Shauna Niequist says that “With people, you can connect or you can compete but you can’t do both.” If I only get one, I choose connection. I choose connection with my writing. I choose connection when I use social media. I choose connection in my friendships. Connection is what allows us to give and receive grace. Connection is what allows us to believe the best about others and ourselves. Connection keeps our heart on target for what really matters.

In my advent reading for today in “Waiting Here for You,” there was a beautiful prayer called “A Private Litany of Humility.” It was exactly what my heart needed to say to the Lord as I give him my dreams and ask him to use me.

Adapted from a prayer by Rafael, Cardinal Merry Del Val (1865-1930).

 From the desire of being praised, deliver me, Jesus.

  From the desire of being honored, deliver me, Jesus.

  From the desire of being preferred, deliver me, Jesus.

  From the desire of being consulted, deliver me, Jesus.

  From the desire of being approved, deliver me, Jesus.

  From the desire of comfort and ease, deliver me, Jesus.

  From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, Jesus.

  From the fear of being criticized, deliver me, Jesus.

  From the fear of being passed over, deliver me, Jesus.

  From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me, Jesus.

  From the fear of being lonely, deliver me, Jesus.

  From the fear of being hurt, deliver me, Jesus.

  From the fear of suffering, deliver me, Jesus.

  That others may be loved more than I,

  Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

  That others may be chosen and I set aside,

  Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

  That others may be praised and I unnoticed,

  Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like yours.

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, strengthen me with your Spirit.

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, teach me your ways.

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart,

help me put my self importance aside

to learn the kind of cooperation with others

that makes possible the presence of your Abba’s household. Amen.

I’m convinced that it is only when we trust in the Lord for outcomes, can the work we do go beyond performance and competition. It is tempting in our current culture to want to make our own name known and great. But that stems from the lie that I have something good to offer apart from Jesus. I’m convinced anything good I offer anyone is a direct result from the grace that I’ve been shown from Jesus. Whether I share that with two people or two thousand today, I want to love, serve, feed, listen to, write to, care for the people Jesus has for me. No more and no less.

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As I look to Christmas, only a smattering of days away, this is my hope.

I want to connection, not more competition.

I want trust over traffic.

I want to love the people Jesus is giving me.

I want his name to be great.

I want to live out of the grace that I’ve been shown.

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9 Comments Add yours

  1. Mommy says:

    So Beautiful!!!! I am so very thankful for the heart Jesus continues to give you.

    Like

    1. Thank you for cheering me on! I’m so grateful for you.

      Like

  2. naureen05 says:

    Loved, loved this post. Really reflects what I seem to battle with more constantly that I’d have liked. Ultimately I know what I wish for people to do is connect with any of my posts and writings.

    Like

    1. I’m so grateful to hear it could reflect your heart’s desire as you blog & write too. I think this is a struggle for everyone, whether they admit it or not. I think you are so brave to admit this is something you battle with. Thanks for reading!

      Like

  3. naureen05 says:

    Wishing you the best of luck & God’s Graces for your publishing dream to come true, btw. 🙂

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  4. lsipla says:

    Thanks for the encouragement Alison! Convicting and comforting : )

    Like

    1. You’re so welcome, Lacey. 🙂 Love to you!

      Like

  5. Christine says:

    I started to read the prayer, but just skimming it. My heart (and eyes) slowed down as I the words seeped into my spirit and then I felt muscles relax in my body. These truths, these wrestlings, I’m with you and I’m thankful for your call to Faith and what is True! It’s so so powerful and beautiful and brave.

    Like

    1. Ha! I totally started skimming the prayer myself this morning, then had to slow down to let it sink into my heart. And when I did, WOW. It was the truth I needed to fall back on in this struggle. I’m so grateful to be WITH you in this. Love you, friend.

      Like

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