From the Heart of Discouragement to the Head of Pride

I almost didn’t publish something today.

Hang on, hang on, there’s a reason. (There always is…) This wasn’t just me being lazy and furtively ignoring my blogging accountability partner. (Which I would *cough* NEVER *cough cough* do… *choke*) The reason I almost didn’t post today is ACTUALLY because of you guys.

Yep. It’s YOUR fault. Not mine.

Never mine.

I think it’s fair to say that over the last year or so, my blog has done surprisingly well—especially considering I’ve spent a sum total of zero minutes trying to get myself out there. (New Year’s Resolution, guys: I’m gonna be more professional about marketing this thing.) Sure, I’ve had my spells of blogger’s block (yes, that’s a thing) and some pretty lousy posts, but overall, this ship has sailed pretty smoothly. And of LATE…

Hoooo boy.

People have started sending me so many sweet comments, on the actual blog and in real life—people telling me this place is one of the funniest, one of their favorites, that I make them laugh and they look forward to Thursdays. They tell me that they love The Sarcastic Elf. That my sense of humor is on point. That INTJs are awesome.

(Okay, maybe not that last one, but seriously guys, we are. Just sayin’.)

Now really, is there ANYONE who could hear all that stuff and NOT feel slightly… accomplished? (Especially considering I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing, and most of this is just me winging it…) I mean, practically every day, I’d have some new tid-bit that had to be reported to my family. I’d burst forth into the living room to declare, “I JUST BROKE MY RECORD FOR THE MOST PEOPLE TO LOOK AT MY BLOG IN ONE DAY!!!”

And they’d pat me on the back and say, “That’s nice dear. Despite the fact that I have no idea what it means.”

But Anna, of course, had to be really annoying about it all. She would grin deviously and go, “Don’t take it away from God, Sarah.”

Which of course, I would NEVER do. The very thought. Preposterous.

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Yeah, yeah, you all know what happens at this point. Unfortunately, I didn’t.

Apparently, I’m stupid.

Hilariously, as my blogging was going up, my writing was going down. It wasn’t that I couldn’t find the words, because I had no problem with that. But there was this crippling… fear. Insecurity, I guess, though I hate that word. I couldn’t pick up my pen without those little nagging doubts appearing in the back of my head, reminding me that this story is worthless, my characters are dumb, I’m a horrible writer. Reminding me that I still have a gazillion plot-holes I need to work through, and my main character still hates me, and my plot isn’t complicated enough to snag anyone’s interest. Reminding me that I’m a failure at writing.

For at least a month, this went on. My blog doing beautifully, my book… not so much.

And it’s STRESSFUL, okay?

I didn’t want anyone to read my work. I didn’t want them to know how terrible it was. I didn’t want to follow Anna’s idea and post book updates around here, because I didn’t want people to be misled by pretty book graphics only to be disappointed when they finally got to read the finished product. Thinking about my book was stressful, because I knew I had to somehow fix it, but I wasn’t sure how.

And the worst part was, I knew I was being illogical. As someone who doesn’t often descend into the realm of overthinking and insecurity, I could tell that a foreign emotion was overriding my brain and making me feel paranoid. And I hated it. So I did what any INTJ would do: I grabbed hold of the feeling and dissected it.

Where is the stress coming from? Well, my book, obviously. It’s horrible.

Why does that bother you?

Uh…

Yeah, so my brain asks stupid questions sometimes. The funny thing was, this one actually threw me for a loop. Because when I really looked at it, I realized that the horribleness of my book didn’t actually bother me—at least, not in the traditional sense. Yes, the perfectionist control-freak in me hated that some stuff wasn’t the greatest, but far more important in my mind was the fact that… well, people would have to read that stuff.

And when people read it, they would realize how bad of a writer I am.

Now before you take to the comment section like flaming angels of charity, assuring me that I’m not a bad writer, please rest assured: I know that. NOW, at least. But at the moment, that wasn’t the problem. I was comparing my work to others. I was measuring my work by what others think. I say that I write for God, but when it comes down to it, I don’t. I write because I want to please people, because I want them to admire me and see what a talented person I am. (I’m a narcissist. You already knew this.)

I write for myself.

That’s a huge no-no.

God gave me the gift of words. When I use them, no expectation ought to be in my mind except His expectations. So if I’m a horrible writer—so if I’m not—it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that I do my best for Him, that I use my words for Him, that I try my utmost for His glory. If I fail, I fail. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what people think, it doesn’t matter what I think. It matters that I tried.

Because really, can anyone do any greater than that?

And  just like that, the insecurity was gone.

You think I would have learned my lesson.

c1

HA.

Nope.

Suddenly, the tables were reversed. As my book started going UP, my blogging went DOWN. Yeah, people still liked it, but for some reason, when I sat down to write my posts, my words… stopped… COMING. I wasn’t eloquent, I couldn’t think. It was like…

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Stupid. Useless. Brain.

Just. Make. Words. Already.

PLEASE.

It just got worse and worse, until this week, the words finally… just… stopped. Completely. If I was one of those on-top-of-things bloggers, I probably would have had seven back-up posts, but as it is, I only had one, and I’d already used it. Way to go for being on top of things. Monday came, and I had nothing. Tuesday. Still nothing. Wednesday came, and…

HOLY HAMBURGERS, I NEED TO GET THIS THING DONE BY TOMORROW MORNING.

Which resulted in mad typing, which resulted in eight different horrible posts, which resulted in my trash can overflowing, which resulted in me draped over the side of the sofa, wailing.

I spent all day trying to write something for you guys. But nothing came.

Night approached, and I was still furiously typing away at a stupid idea that would later be discarded. Anna happened upon me, and I took advantage of her presence to wail about how I had absolutely nothing to write about because my stupid brain was stupid empty.

She looked completely uninterested. “So… skip this week. Come back next Thursday.”

Please note that this is the girl who would practically burn me at the stake if I posted one DAY late, let alone a whole WEEK. I sort of blinked at her for several minutes. For one brief moment, I actually considered doing it, but then one of my reader’s comments echoed in my mind, reminding me that people would be sad if I missed Thursday.

“I can’t do that,” I told her. “I have this reputation, you know, and people are expecting me to…”

Yeah, I walked right into that one. She grinned at me as only an annoying older sibling can, and said, “See? It doesn’t matter about God anymore, does it?”

Burn.

As much as it pains me to admit this… she was kinda right. I’d done the exact same thing to my blog as I’d done to my book, albeit in opposite ways. My book had led me to be discouraged because it was all about me. My blog had led me to pride because it was all about me. Look at MY achievement. MY great blog that everyone loves. MY thing that I did. I claimed it was for God, but in the long run… it wasn’t.

I had lost sight of the very One who made it all possible for me.

So I dropped it. I told God that I would forego my reputation and skip a week. And if next week came and my post wasn’t quite as good as it could have been, and people were disappointed in me, I’d let the matter slide. And if next month came, and my words still weren’t back, I’d just accept the fact that I would probably be stuck in an indefinite bout of bloggers’ block forevermore, and that was God’s will for me.

I went to bed.

Thursday morning came. This morning. And suddenly it struck me… I wonder if I could write about… well… this?

And the words came.

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So there you have it, folks. The very long and wordy explanation that you probably didn’t want about why it took me so long to post this (I literally typed and edited and reread 70,000 times and made graphics for and had it proof-read ALL THIS MORNING), why I’m no longer worried about my book, why this is once again a blog dedicated to Jesus, and why you guys are the root of all my problems.

Just kidding. I still love you.

~Sarah

*sits back and waits for mother’s snarky comments to come rolling in*

16 thoughts on “From the Heart of Discouragement to the Head of Pride

  1. Man, I know, it’s really really hard to admit something like that to yourself. You kinda know it all along, deep down inside, but you kind of avoid it. At least that’s how it is for me. Good for you admitting it to yourself.
    May your blog continue to get even more views, despite your lack of promotion!
    “flaming angels of charity” How did you come up with that? 😂

    Like

    1. Yeah, I don’t like hard truth. It’s… hard. *cough* Anyway.
      (And I’ll be totally honest, I have absolutely no idea where the flaming angels came from. Honey, you don’t want to KNOW what goes on in my brain. It scares even me. 😉 )

      Liked by 1 person

  2. YAAAYYYY!!! *glitter* *more glitter* *drowns the room in glitter*

    So technically, we should all stop saying amazing things about you, and that would help a lot, right? 😂

    *thumps you* This is great. It’s wonderful. And what would you DO without Anna?!
    It’s crazy how dumb we humans get sometimes. We don’t really realize how much more worth it it is to do everything for God till we stop. And then we wonder why fate hates us. *headdesk* There is SO. NOTHING. WORTH. DOING. if it’s not for God.

    Like

  3. *refrains from descending as a Flaming Angel of Charity*
    *thumps you instead* I really haven’t done a very good job as a blog accountability partner, have I? Especially considering it was my idea in the first place… 😛
    But hey. Looks like God’s got you in hand. *thumbs up* 😉

    Like

  4. Hi Sarah!

    So, like everyone else who loves you dearly, I will not descend as a flaming angel of charity, but can I come in as a cuddly angel of charity? Or maybe a frigid…nope. Never mind. I’ll just be me. It would be less awkward.

    I struggle with this too when I know other people are going to be reading my stories. I think there are some people I don’t mind so much if they read my work, even if it’s terrible, simply because I know they believe that I am capable of doing so much better, and that the trash I make them read are flukes. Every. Time. (They’re not. I really write what will eventually trash every time, I just don’t let you read it all. I don’t dislike you THAT much. 😉 ) But when letting someone who are not 100% convinced I am the next Dickens or C.S Lewis or whoever, I get overly nervous and clingy.

    Like currently I have a short story that I wrote for fun about an elderly man whom I admire at my church, and he’s been asking to read the story, and I just can’t bring myself to let him read it. (I made the terrible mistake of letting him know about it. I know, stupid me. I will never tell someone I wrote a story about them again. Until next time.) I wonder now if maybe I can’t bring myself to let him read it because I have this inflated view of my talents. Pride is getting in the way of me reaching out to a fellow Christian, because it’s not just me simply not letting him read it, but I also avoid him sometimes because I don’t want him to bring it up. This is pride, and I am grateful to God for you, Sarah. You are proof that if you mix sarcasm, glitter, and bit of sensitivity, you can have a wonderful blessing in disguise.

    Does that count as an angel of charity?

    ~Akir

    Like

  5. This was a great post. Thank you so much for this–I needed to be reminded of it myself. *nods*

    Besides, you used Loki GIFs. 😉

    Like

  6. I’ve had this trouble myself this past week. I’ve been looking at other people’s work and wondering if mine measures up or if I’ll ever be good enough. I actually almost permanently quit writing (more than once) because I was afraid of failure. Sometimes it felt as if I was putting forth all my effort for nothing. But I realized that it isn’t useless if I’m glorifying God in all I do. The only thing is, sometimes I forget that and start glorifying myself instead. Thank you for this reminder!

    Oh, and thanks for the Big Hero 6 gif. 😉

    Like

  7. Since my blog is getting a few more views now, I guess that motivation and God and audiences will start to become an issue for me – hehe. Thanks for blessing us by your honesty, Sarah!

    Like

  8. Amazing post, Sarah! *awkwardly waves after realizing I yelled my own name*
    This post was so true. ☺I have so much trouble comparing myself to other people, and wondering if my blog is actually worth doing… so thank you for writing this.
    And on a side note, INTJs are awesome. 😉

    Like

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