Thursday, January 17, 2008

When the Quest Becomes the Idol

Recently, I took a step into the 21st century and started a blog. I had been curious about blogging, and after a class about it, I finally took the plunge. I enjoy writing, so I was excited once it was set up. I researched promoting your blog, getting paid through your blog, finding other blogs, and everything I could about the "blogosphere."

I had been searching for my purpose, a way to glorify God with the talents He had given me. I felt that my blog was it. It would be my own little ministry! I wanted it to be an encouragement to whoever might stumble across it on the Internet. I would be very honest about my faith. I would write devotions, handle prayer requests, and share how God was working in my life. I just knew God would use that for His good.

I was so eager to see how God was going to use my blog and me. So, I signed up for a free service that tells you all kinds of information about the people who visit your blog. Things like where they are, how they found you, and most importantly, how many of them there are. Each time I logged in, I was disappointed to see only one or two visitors on my graph. “Where are they, God?” I became so consumed with the numbers that I found myself checking it out several times a day. Eventually, I spent more time checking the stats on my blog than I did actually contributing to it.

What about you? Have you ever been so excited to do something for God that you were just on fire? You worked at it; you shared it with others; you thought about it all the time. Then, you got discouraged because you weren’t seeing the results you wanted. And suddenly you realized that it had stopped being about God, and had started being all about you.

Here’s what God tells us in John 15:4: “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (NIV) He’s reminding us that we need to stay focused on Him. All our efforts will be in vain if we don’t include God in them. Just like fruit on the vine is nourished through the branches, we are nourished when we maintain a relationship with God. Once the fruit is removed from the vine, it stops growing. The sustenance has been cut off. The same is true for us, too. We will only be fruitful when we keep God at the center of our efforts.

Those numbers I was looking for? Those would reflect what I did in my own power, not what God had done. I didn’t give God time to work. I was too busy looking at my graphs! I was not remaining in God. I was trying to bear fruit all by myself. And all it did was frustrate me.

When I realized that the focus had shifted from God to me, I felt so ashamed. Instead of quitting, though, I decided that I would not check my numbers every day anymore. God would direct whomever He wanted to my blog, and He may only use it to touch one person. All the statistics in the world won’t tell me that. I know one day God will reveal to me what He used me for.

So now, I check out my stats occasionally. It really isn’t a big deal anymore. My focus is back to the right place: glorifying God. And you know what I find now? That even though I don’t advertise or do any extra promotion to drive traffic to my site, my numbers are steadily increasing. It’s thrilling now because I know that those numbers are truly an indication of God at work through me. I’m back on the vine!

My quest to find purpose and glorify God turned into my own idol: something that distracted me from God’s assignment for me. But when I shifted my eyes back to the God who called me and stopped looking at myself, I started making progress, and knowing the exact purpose I was created for just isn’t that important. What is important is that I stay focused on God.

I certify that this is my own writing. If selected by Proverbs 31 Ministries, it may be used in any printed or electronic media for their purposes. The Word Count is 725.


  1. Beth-
    Excellent advice here! I appreciate your honest thoughts.

  2. I don't know how I stumbled across your blog but I did. I was astounded by how open you are about your faith. It was really refreshing and very encouraging. I have it saved to my home page and look forward to reading your new post. God Bless.


  3. I have been watching my counter too much lately. Why does it really matter?

    I love the new perspective. Find purpose and glorify God. It's amazing how life is so much better with a different view and putting God first.

    Good post. Thanks!

  4. I find I spend far too much time blogging and then I need to step back and take a break. When I do, my perspective is changed and it becomes less of a chain around my neck.

  5. Beth,
    I just recently started my own blog and experienced the same obsession with tracking numbers. Thanks for putting it into perspective! I enjoyed re4ading your blog and look forward to visiting it again soon.
    Thanks, too, for your comment on my blog.

  6. Wow - I had no idea you could take a class on blogging (maybe I could learn something :)...And I think you are in the same place as many of us - whether it's writing, speaking or blogging, we want to do something that impacts people and the numbers game can be so trapping. But, it's about glorifying God in the end, isn't it? (And those two people who stop by just might be the ones God wanted us to minister to!)

  7. Beth, It's our search for significance. We all want to have some type of significance in life. We want our lives to matter, to make a difference. We as women were made to bear life. We want to know that somewhere, someone is being touched by our lives.
    And then we cross the line and it becomes about our significance. If we have "X" amount of people visiting our blog, AND commenting, then somehow we feel a bit more significant.

    The desire to have a significant story to tell is God given. Where it crosses the line for me is when I get some type of need met or unmet, through it all. That "thing" then becomes what gives me value instead of God.

    Yea, I see the potential for the enemy to use it in my life too. It always brings me back to my motive in blogging.

    It's good that you see it.


  8. If numbers count for anything, I am ONE who's heart was touched by this post.

    Miss Sandy

  9. There was a story from church that has stuck with me - it was about a little boy who wandered on stage before a piano concert and started playing on the piano. The great maestro strode over and rather than yelling at the boy, he sat down and played along with the boy turning his simple plinkings into a magnifcent song. I like that as an analogy of what God does with our simple efforts - even when we can't hear the music. Hang in there

  10. I blogged for nearly a year with very few readers and usually only one commentor: my husband! But, fortunately, I also was not tuned into the stat counter, or I probably would have been even more depressed! But, I kept blogging.... and, the thing that really started people visiting my blog was visiting theirs! I visited and commented and became a regular reader of many blogs and met some wonderful people (mostly women) along the way. I've even met some in person! So, in addition to doing it for God, I was also blessed by GIVING (comments and attention to others) and then I RECEIVED some wonderful new friends.


So, what do you have to say?


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