Why I stopped blogging and why I'm starting again

Tuesday, January 7

Dearest friends and readers, this is a post I've pondered in my mind for a long time.
I've turned it over, wrestled with it, and worked to fine tune the reflections and processing of the last four years of my life.

So many of you were with me over the 4 years I blogged and leaned into some of my deepest dreams. Those years were surreal and amazing. I hit over 145K followers, was being sent around the world for free, and was connecting with so many amazing and beautiful women. At the pinnacle of my blogging career, I slowly walked away from this space.

These are my reflections...

in 2011, I was newly married and going through a bittersweet season. I was learning how to be a wife, which was the sweet part, but I was also walking through some dark days as a myriad of external challenges hit our world. In this dim place, I started blogging, and it lit up my world because I am an external processor and love nothing more than to connect with people. To be sure, my blog started as a way to update family and friends on my internal dialogue and day to day happenings. I was convinced nary a person read it faithfully except my devoted parents and husband.

A curious thing happened, and soon I was getting comments from people I had never even met (you guys, this was the dark ages of blogging, before IG was really a thing, and the thought of someone outside your sphere commenting on your work was crazy!).

And soon, I was connecting with thousands of women every day from the comfort of my own home, it was wild. In those early days I mostly blogged about living life intentionally in a low-income neighborhood in Southern California where we lived then. Then, we moved to Nepal, and my blog begin to gain momentum like never before. The amount of connection I had with so many incredible women around the world blessed my heart.

After Nepal, we moved back to the USA so I could begin graduate school and in that time we started traveling like crazy (Kevin was able to hook our miles credit cards up to the business, so we were getting free international tickets every 6 months...but that's a story for another time). All that to say, this blog began to morph into a travel blog.

And then bloglovin' started featuring my travel posts, and things seemed to go insane. I was gaining thousands of new followers a day, getting sponsorship emails where companies wanted to send me all sorts of cool free stuff (I was sent on trips around the world from Tahiti to India), and was nominated for being a top travel blog on Bloglovin. It was incredible the kind of doors my blog had opened up for Kevin and I and I WAS THERE FOR IT! I loved it.

but amongst all the amazing things that seemed to be happening, I started to become self conscious.

I had a few people in real life make comments to me about my blog.
Being a sensitive soul, I read in to these comments and basically came to the conclusion that
I was too much.

Too much for people

I also became incredibly worried about offending anyone in real life or making anyone jealous of me.  I literally hate when anyone is jealous of things I have or do. I am NOT a competitive person, I love equality and harmony, so if someone ever seemed jealous of me I always tried my best to downplay my achievements.

Sadly... In my mind, I thought it was better to give up blogging/social media, than have people I cared about be jealous of me. 

 You guys, I read that last statement now and it makes me incredibly sad.
Sad that I bought into this lie.
Sad that I chose to give up my dreams for the sake of what I thought others wanted.

But here's the truth I've come to in these past four years...

No one was asking me to give this up, except for my negative self talk. 
My thinking was so skewed.
In the therapy world, we call this a negative cognition.

Here is the definition:
"Cognitions are the way we think about ourselves...The term is used to identify the belief or assessment that we have about ourselves. When we speak of negative cognition we are referring to a maladaptive self-assessment or negative belief that we have developed from negative or traumatic life experience".
(from here)

Essentially, my negative thoughts led me to believe that if I was to have a "good" relationship with certain people, I needed to give up this part of myself to be in harmony with them, that if I just seemed "average"  people would like me better because they wouldn't be jealous of me. 

And that is a bold face lie
One I lived with for WAY too long. 
It was heavy to live under this narrative. 
Suffocating, actually. 
And the worst part was, it wasn't true. 
None of the people who made these comments were ill-willed or wanted me to give up social media. 
And even if they did, it was just their OPINION. 

And someone's opinion doesn't always equal truth. 

I recently came across a great quote that said 
"stop looking for external validation. the opinions others have of you is not a mirror" 

You guys, I was so busy freaking out about other's opinions of me (because I'm obsessed with relationship and want everyone to be my best friend), that I wasn't standing on the truth that God had been leading me and guiding me the whole time I blogged. I felt total peace with the Lord in it, and instead of letting that be my lead and guide, I was frantically trying to make sure everyone was in harmony with everything I was doing. 

Can I let you into a little secret? 

At no time will everyone be in harmony with everything you are doing. 
never. ever. 

Look at JESUS. 
Newsflash, HE WAS PERFECT. 
And at NO TIME, was everyone in harmony with everything he was doing. 
His parents didn't understand him and questioned certain things he did 
His friends deserted him, even betrayed him
And we all know that half the world was against him right up until his death. 

But that didn't mean he stopped the purpose God gave him. 
He leaned into it. 
So much so that it led him to the ultimate sacrifice of himself, 
A sacrifice that FREED THE WORLD! 
Thank you Jesus. 

So, to finish off this already very long blogpost...3 things I've learned...

1) Don't be afraid to let God use you and your gifting! This season has taught me that God made us all unique and uses our gifting for HIS glory. In fact, not only does he use our gifting, He often uses our weakness for His glory (thank you JESUS!) The point is, pursue HIM and led HIM lead, let HIS OPINION be the only one that matters. 

2) I am not responsible for the feelings of others! People are allowed to have their opinions, and they are responsible for their mental health and feelings, NOT ME. I felt so responsible for other's feelings, that I gave up my passions in an attempt to mitigate the rift I thought my success was causing in the relationship. But that was not my responsibility. 

3) We always always always have a fresh start, there is GRACE! I grieve these last 4 years that I lived under the weight of a lie, but I also celebrate that at any point I can pick back up and allow God to use me, in spite of my failings. I realize, I LOVE blogging. I love connecting through social media with ladies around the world, and I can begin again! 

Friends, if you've made it this far you deserve a medal. Thank you for the constant love and outpouring you have given me all these years. It is true when I say, I Love you!!

Here's to living a life free from the lie that we are,
too much and responsible for others feelings,

and may we lean into our calling with
confidence in the Lord's guidance,
in the gifts God has given us:)

Excited to see where this journey takes me, and excited to invite you to join me in it!
I need you ladies and i've missed you all dearly:) xoxo
ps- if you are on IG, I've started a new one @hope_engaged
Would love to follow you too, so come and say hi!

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