When I start justifying my own choices to myself, it is a good indication I’m probably heading down the wrong road.
I found this to be the case in deciding upon the best option for hosting this blog. There was a low limit on how much disc space was provided with the plan I was paying for at my previous host, meaning I genuinely needed to assess whether an alternative would be better than paying for more data.
After some research I decided upon another provider and transferred the blog. However, the new option was slightly more expensive than what I’d been previously paying. With a small blog and low visitor numbers my heart was telling me that paying for huge bandwidth and storage capacity was overkill.
For a blog which is growing rapidly and generating an income from advertising it would be an excellent option, but that is not the direction I want to take. Yet this was the path I was burdening myself with in order to justify an more expensive hosting option.
As I have engaged with the blogging community, particularly those who have positioned themselves as experts, the general assumption is that most bloggers seek more visitors to generate income through advertising and other mechanisms. Although I never completely embraced this as my own goal, I did assume the principles used to make a blog successful in that way would also make my own blog better. There is some truth in this, also some self-deception.
If money, popularity or growth is the primary goal then more and bigger is better; more visitors, a bigger audience. Is this my goal?
Growth had in fact become my goal, wanting reassurance that there is some merit in what I write because more visitors arrive at the blog. Yet a reasonable proportion of these visitors arrive here via random Google searches for stuff I don’t even focus on – how does that ‘show’ any merit in my writing?
This goal of growth is one I gave myself. It is certainly not a goal given to me from God. I am convinced that what I should be doing is to write stuff that honours God and builds up other Christians. To quote Ann Voskamp:
A successful blogger is a serving blogger
(What is Success?)
In the Kingdom of God the values we are accustomed to in this world are turned on their head, it is an ‘upside-down kingdom’. To be successful as a child of God I must become a servant, even as I write.
The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
(Matthew 23:11-12 ESV)
So my crucial tools for blogging in the Kingdom of God are not Google Analytics, PHP, CSS or an awesome web host; rather the crucial ‘tools’ are to love God and serve Him.
You, with a keyboard – you are an artist.
You with a blog – you are filled with the Holy Spirit.
You telling your story – speak it with boldness.
Ann Voskamp, (What is Success – Life in the Upside Down Kingdom)