Tuesday, August 28, 2012

on getting followers.

i get 2 questions asked often: why don't you wear deodorant and how did you get followers on your blog?

i would like to address the latter to spare you from the armpit talk.

if you are in the blogger world (or twitter or instagram or Facebook), i think it's pretty obvious that many people are after this accumulation of followers. i.e. a giant popularity contest.
and i will say, this applies to christian and non-christian folks.

for you christian folks, i want to tell you something. i have no idea how i have followers...except that God made it happen.

i would also say, when you ask, how do i get more followers, you are asking the wrong question. your blog is not about popularity and the approval of men. that should not be your goal, nor should it be the rudder in your blogging endeavor. your guiding questions should not look like, what do my readers want to hear? what do people like to read? what will get me higher stats? what will get me more notoriety? 

for some reason, because it is a blog or interweb related, we tend to think the bible has nothing to say about this and so we kind of just do what we see modeled by other bloggers. and yet the bible does say a lot about this topic.
God's word applies to everything...even your blog who you think no one reads and your blog who maybe lots of people read.

now i've already made some of you mad, but stick with me here.

if i walked around in normal life saying, what do you guys want me to talk about for you to be my friend ?! who do you want me to be?! you don't like this outfit? ugg, that hurts my feelings...i'll never wear it again. ok...if i act this way, will you be my friend?what about this way? no? ok! tell me who i am!
you would say, that girl has issues. and that girl does have issues. because that girl is all of us to some extent or another just slightly exaggerated because that's how i roll.

the heart issue here is that we love the approval of man over the approval of God.
we give our affections to other gods and we chase after something that will never satisfy us. we find our identity elsewhere other than who God says we are.

if i find my identity in how many followers i have, i will be on the prowl constantly to gather people to "like" me. i will sometimes mold myself to be who they want me to be. in small or large ways, but i'll do it nonetheless.  is that you? does this consume your brain? things that consume our brain are often what we call "treasures". and God says, where your treasure is, there your heart will be. 

God is after your heart. all of it. there's not room for both treasures.

so instead of chasing after approval, i wonder what it would look like if we started asking the right question.

Not, how do i get more followers but why do i exist?

now quickly turn to the back of the math textbook for the answer...
the answer is, you exist to glorify Christ.

so then we ask specifically,
because i exist to make God's name great, what does it look like to glorify Christ on my blog? 

what would it look like to submit that Christ is in control of my blog and can make it big or small or reach ten or reach one million. do you know that both are just as important when we are glorifying the cross and the creator of all things?
and by the by, some of his creations include the gigantic physical world and all those living in it. and it includes the mighty interwebs and your blogging community. it includes your gifts and talents of writing and design and photography and networking.

these are not ours. we are simply ambassadors that steward these gifts in order to say, i represent something greater than myself.
1 peter 4:11 says, 
If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

well amen!

these blogs and our words and pictures are not ours to make our name great but to make His Name great.  we are not called to make disciples of ourselves, only to make disciples of Him. everything we do should be pointing people back to the God of the universe.  our lives are a short breath. and as bloggers and followers of Christ, we need to gain more of an eternal perspective that shapes our heart and is portrayed in our blogging and in all other social media.

with that said, if this is the main goal of your heart, so that people would encounter the living God, then by all means, you can strategize and network and grow your business and your blog with Christ at the center and director of it all. always holding our endeavors loosely so that they do not become little idols we carry around and worship.
so i'm not putting rules here like, everyone take off your follower button! because what is a struggle for you is perhaps not a struggle for others. in fact, they might be using it to grow an audience that is hearing the Gospel.

regardless, fellow bloggers, be careful. examine your heart. dig around in there and ask God to shine a light in those dark corners of your blogging heart. repent where you need to repent and abandon your goals of making yourself great instead of Jesus.

colassions 3 puts it best. with parenthetical jami remarks.
17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything(blog!) in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him(because those gifts you have, He gave you!)... 23  Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men(you don't need their approval, you have God's), 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ (not yourself!).

90 comments:

  1. thank you for writing this Jami. I ask myself a lot "what can I do to make my blog more popular?" and I actually clicked on this blog post because I thought you were going to tell me how to get more readers...

    How rude of you! You tricked me and convicted my heart.

    Thanks! :) You are totally right and totally wise.

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  2. I think you have made some really valid, heart-wrenching points here. When blogging becomes an idol or takes more space in our hearts and minds than Christ, then something is definitely off!!

    I do think that you have missed the fact that some blogs are used to intentionally grow a business. It is a persons income-- an income that lets a mama stay home with her babies instead of work outside the home. When blogging is a persons way of making a living, it really is about considering your target audience and the things they enjoy reading about. I think the problem arises when a person becomes someone *different for those purposes. I wholly agree that our every thought and action (and therefore, blog post) should reflect the light of Christ in our lives.

    I think this post just felt uncomfortable in the sense that not every blog (especially business blogs) needs to highlight on a daily basis the author's Biblical/doctrinal beliefs. That is the niche you personally are exploring, but others choose to bring Christ into the posts in a quieter, but still sincere, way. Especially when the blog is 'business' based.

    I enjoy reading your posts. They really do always make me think and reflect on the heart of things. I appreciate your leadership in the Christian blog community.

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    1. i think whether you blog for business or whether you blog for personal reasons, it should glorify Christ. it doesn't mean that it looks the same for everyone. i know i do have theological discussions on my blog and that wouldn't work... say, on your business blog. but i'm just after the heart. that your business is about Christ first and then the business of expaqnding business and reaching new markets second. i think everyone will need to search their heart and see where they've made it more about them and not about God. there's good place for strategy !
      thanks for your thoughts,
      jami

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  3. Great post. I agree with all you have said. Our chief end is to glorify Him and I think we need to always keep check on our hearts and our motives. It's so easy to fall into the trap of pleasing men rather than him and social networking has made that so much worse. My brother has a really big blog and he would say it was simply God putting him in the right place at the right time...nothing, nothing to do with Him. God uses all of us, each in our own way and he has used my brother. I know he has used you as well. You have a unique story of forgiveness and redemption...it is wonderful that your story is out there for others to read!

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    1. catechism questions do us right, huh?

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  4. This is so good. I feel the same way. Besides if you try to act a certain way because you think you will get more followers (in real life or the blog world) You can only last as that person for so long. Eventually your true colors will show through and you will lose the phony followers.
    Thanks for being a great example and reminder of who we should always follow

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    1. aww I miss you too! Do you ever use the phone? lol I can totally call you now. I just need your digits

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  5. Love this! I'm a random blogger - crafts, recipes, life and serious posts about bible studies and what I'm learning about who I am in Christ. I have gone from 20 followers to 200 followers in half a year, only because one of my craft projects exploded on Pinterest. I always remind myself that God must have wanted that craft to explode, because it wasn't even anything I thought was super amazing, but by gaining followers through it, I've received so many emails about how what I've written has hit home and made them think, or encouraged them. So so great to feel like I just write as I feel led, and God is in control of what hearts the words touch. :)

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  6. Thanks for the slap in the face...and I really do hope you address the armpit issue one of these days...

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  7. So well written Jami. Thank you, definitely something I needed to read right now. It is all so true. YOU have followers because you speak the truth, and you speak from your heart. I always admire your courage, strength and ability to be who you are. Which is an absolutely amazing and inspiring woman, with just enough quirkiness to keep you real :).

    Oh, and deodorant? I kind of think it is a good thing, but be who you wanna be!! Haha.

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    1. i think deodorant gives you cancer. LOL. but seriously.

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    2. yes, i've heard it leaks into your chest area and can give you breast cancer. so i don't use it either. lol.

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  8. Jami! it's been a really long time... since our days with Cru at JCCC. crazy, huh. i randomly stumbled upon your friend's blog (the anderson crew) a couple months ago, so i've been reading her posts. but today, she linked to this post of yours. thanks for sharing your candid honesty and truth. really good to be reminded of... where our worth really lies and where we really should be seeking to find it. thank you for saying it straight. anyways, just wanted to say "hi"... looks like you've been at this blogging thing for a while. looking forward to reading some of your writing when i get some spare time. ;)

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    1. hey amy! how hilarious...the memories at JUCO! thanks for stopping by.

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  9. Love love love this. I blog for myself, because I love to write and because I want to share how God is working in our family. I just need to remind myself that sometimes! Especially when things like number of followers and stats are so easy to see.

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  10. So well said. Thank you for addressing something that needs to be considered, this has been on my heart lately, about followers and also about comments. Fear of man is no reason to write or not write, to share or not share, but we do it all the time. One verse has really stood out when considering all this - Matthew 6:33 "But seek ye first His kingdom, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

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  11. THANK YOU FOR THIS! This is exactly what I've been thinking for so long, but hard to get it out on paper...and to make sense of it! YOu are so right! I needed this! THANK YOU!!!!!

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  12. yes, it is noble to have the right frame of mind when it comes to 'followers' of your blog. however, it is even more noble to not even plaster the 'follow' button on your blog at all. there are ways for your 'followers' to 'follow' even without the button there.

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    1. i'm wondering how you come to the conclusion of which is more noble. Christ says it is more noble to have a heart for him. obedience comes later. if you have "obedience" to the law and no heart, you look like a pharisee.

      for some, this might be a struggle. for others it could just as easily be a tool. for some alcohol is a struggle so they stay away from it, when others may use the bar as their place of choice for their bible study to reach out to an audience who would find it awkward to go in a church.

      anyway, thanks for your boldness to speak and your thoughts.

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    2. my point is just that your words in this post lose their strength with the followers gadget remaining in the sidebar. the number of followers doesn't matter. after all, Christ changed the world with only 11 followers. well, disciples.

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    3. by using that logic, did Christ lose value in his words when he used his disciples as tools or instruments to spread the Gospel?

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    4. how are you using your followers gadget to spread the gospel??

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    5. hey sara, before we continue this i want to make sure we're just engaging in a discussion/lively debate and that feelings aren't getting hurt or anger isn't abounding here. also, we can continue this via email if you're more comfortable. anyway, i'm viewing this as simply a discussion and i don't mind thinking through the follower button with you.

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    6. Not to jump into a debate or something, as that isn't my intention, but I just wanted to point out that the option to "follow" is for readers who want to get updates on a blog without going to it every day. If a blogger has trouble with their heart, of course charting followers can become an idol, but just having a button there does not mean the heart is in the wrong place. Maybe I'm not tech savvy as you, Sara, but I would have no idea how to follow a blog without the button...

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  13. Love this! I'm going to have to listen to my heart more. :)

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  14. Stopping over via The Anderson Crew-HI!! Your words are amazing. So glad I found you and can read all you have to write!

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  15. so, i almost didn't read this amazing post on account of the title, and the fact that the very topic of followers and getting more drives me crazy. i am SO HAPPY i did though, and i'm so glad you shared this.
    thank you for setting the record straight.
    A-to-the-MEN!!!

    xo

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    1. The title is tricky huh?! Haha

      Thanks for your amen.

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    2. Me too! In fact, I confess, I rolled my eyes ... (Sorry, Jami!) Fantastic post.

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  16. word. times infinity.
    love you. xo

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  17. what a fantastic post. found you thru 5ohwifey on twitter--glad that I did! :)

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  18. i loved this and needed to read it and not because i am striving for more followers on my blog but because i have started a new job and have been seeking approval of my new co workers...who cares what they think...right! i just need to do my job and please God while I do it!!

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  19. well freaking said. so well said. thank you.

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  20. great post...i am often reminded of this, that though i may want more followers or more comments, i am only stealing the glory meant for God and he will never honor that.

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  21. Great post, jami. Thanks for reminding me to examine where my heart is at, and not just when it comes to blogging, but in my daily activities. You amaze me. Thankful for you!

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  22. Thanks for the reminder to examine my heart, jami. Not just in blogging, but also in my daily activities. So thankful for you!

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  23. well this is just perfect.
    i had to take my follower button off...it controlled me too much and i used to do exactly what you said, try to become what i thought people would like to hear or see. bad choice.
    then God tugged at me and reminded me that He is the One I ought to aim to please, and if that's what I strive for, no one else really matters.
    thank you so much for putting pen(or keyboard) to these amazing truths.
    xoxo

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  24. Wonderfully written and spot on!! It's easy to get caught up in the numbers game, almost like it's a popularity contest. Remembering it's not about us, but Him, helps me keep things in perspective.

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  25. Wonderfully written and spot on!! It's not about us, it's about Him!! Remembering that it's not a popularity contents helps me let go of the numbers craziness.

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  26. dear sister friend,
    you've got the light on over here and even though it blinds me a bit it's truth. and everything is better in the light! thank you-thank you. my dark little heart needed the lights turned up-and congratulations you got one more follower drawn in by the light! blessings.

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  27. oh my goodness you cuss and love jesus-i just feel in love
    now put on some deo or it's over.
    but i'll barter for the why of that one......

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    1. i wear it sometimes. like if i know i'll be very close to people and it's hot outside. it's the best i can do.

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    2. well that's hope so..........is it because it has carcinogens in it???? does it make you feel like you're suffocating???? is it your brand of 'do your own thing???????' no, no, i was not the kid who asked 20 questions. a + for originality

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  28. Thanks, Jami. Your blog is like a flashlight...it definitely makes me take a look at some parts of my heart that would like to remain shadowy. Thank you!

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  29. I love that you just speak the truth. You certainly don't blog for the public...it's too close to the heart. That's what I love about it. Sometimes the best reason to blog is that it just comes out better on paper/screen. Can't keep all the crazy locked up in my own little head. Carry on!

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  30. That was an incredibly timely read for me as I just finished a "I'm frustrated and worn out because I'm caring about what people think and not about what God thinks" conversation. Sigh. I'm now going to google image Colossians 3 on my iphone, screen shot it, and make it my background...

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    1. i heart you. we need to get together again. :)

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  31. I agree with you 100%. I've been thinking a lot about how our desire for more followers reflects our ultimate purpose. And my purpose is to bring glory to HIM, to make much of HIM, no me, not sponsors, not brands. Ultimately, making much of HIM doesn't require lots of followers or pageviews. It requires a willing vessel and the mighty work of God! And we all know He can work with small numbers. :)

    Great post, thank you so much!

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  32. well said, jami nato. yet another reason why you are one of my faves. you are using your voice for the Lord and the advancement of HIS glory, testimony, purpose, plan, sanctification.
    i have ALWAYS wanted my blog to be a place where the holy spirit permeates and changes people.
    but every so often i will feel satan come in and tell me because my numbers are such and such, i am not good enough.
    i know that is not true, and i hope other blogger's blinders will be opened to the lies that Satan perpetuates.
    thank you for making a difference. i mentioned you on my blog sun for such this reason.
    your sister in Him! xo
    thanks for not talking about your armpits.

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  33. Sharing! This is exactly what I've been trying to get across ever since I began blogging. I'm not interested in followers, monetization or the like. I don't need to host giveaways, write with predictability and network. That's not why I write! I write because He Lets me. Thanks, James.

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    1. tis true...you don't need any of those things. BUT some people choose to use those things to bring glory to God. i think it's important not to say, we all need to do it this way! because having any of those things on a blog is not a sin issue, it's the heart behind it that can be sinful or not. anyway, i love you and your encouragement.

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  34. yes, yes, and yes. Thank you for saying this because I needed to hear it!

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  35. amen sister. you always put it just the right way.

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  36. Aaaand this is why I'm a subscriber. :)

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  37. i could be wrong, but i'm certain you wrote this for me! i so very much needed that as i find my blog in major transition mode right now. thank you, thank you to the moon, heck, to heaven, and back! xoxo stacey

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  38. i could be wrong, but i'm certain you wrote this for me! i so very much needed that as i find my blog in major transition mode right now. thank you, thank you to the moon, heck, to heaven, and back! xoxo stacey

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  39. This is such a sweet and thoughtful idea! LOVE it! Thanks for sharing.
    christmas gifts

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  40. Really appreciated reading this. Oh and I don't wear deodorant either. I haven't advertised that on my blog yet though. I don't have as many followers to lose as you do :). Thank you for sharing!

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  41. Like so many other commenters have suggested, this post is FOR ME. It truly is an answer to prayer as a brand new blogger trying to navigate this strange, new online world.
    Thank you so much!
    Kara

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  42. I just prayed to God this morning to show me more clearly what to do with my blog. God just answered through you ! Thank you for letting God use you !

    Have a nice day ! By the way your instagram photos/comments always makes my day !

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  43. I see a relationship here. Jami Nato doesn't care about physical followers so she doesn't wear deodorant. And virtual followers? She's not counting them either, but just praising God for the opportunity to reflect His awesomeosity! Yeah! I see what you did there.

    Re: deodorant? I use baking soda. Quarter sized amount in hand, make paste with water, slap under arm, slap under other arm, done and done! Cancer free!

    I've had a blog for a long long time and I get the same question, like there is a secret algorithm of which one must copy the code and bladowww! they. will. COME!

    My general rule is that if I'm not embarrassing myself, I am not speaking the truth. And I do, so desperately want to be truth-filled.

    Thanks, Jami.

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  44. You know what's funny? When ever I think about trying to get more followers or getting sponsors, or whatever-I think of your blog. I think "Jami is just telling her story and God has blessed that- she is speaking truth". So when i saw your title I got so disappointed! Until I started reading of course. Thank you for speaking truth. For being a good example of sharing a story of brokenness that is redeemed and hope despite the despair of the world. I appreciate your blogging and your honesty. Plus thinking about followers makes me feel icky- like I am glorifying myself and not the Lord. So thank you for repeating and even "naming" that icky feeling.

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  45. This is spot on. I would love to know if this is something that you yourself struggle with or have struggled with. I think that oftentimes people who have blogs with only a few followers think that we're the only ones who struggle with craving more blogging popularity, or blopularity (it's a word). When the fact might be that the more followers you actually get, the more of a temptation it is to idolize them. It's always encouraging to hear people who seem to have "made" it (based on the standards of social media) to confess that they, too, find themselves asking "what do my readers want to hear? what do people like to read? what will get me higher stats? what will get me more notoriety?"

    After reading this post I was like, "oh sweet, even Jami Nato struggles with finding her identity through how many readers she has!" It's ironically encouraging, as the gospel so often is, to see a fellow believer's brokenness and to know that the Cross connects you and that person and that that connection is eternal. And you are so unashamedly good at being honest about brokenness. But perhaps this isn't an area of struggle for you, and you were simply trying to challenge and encourage those that DO idolize their blopularity. Or maybe it used to be a struggle, but through sanctification and by grace it isn't one anymore. Either way, your words are convicting. It's amazing how efficient we sinners are at turning things into idols. It's almost as if it were in our nature or something. What a thought.

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    1. ya, i think it's definatly enticing to look at the followers or the feedback and want to idolize it. like anything. i think as for many people, i do love approval. and when i brought the follower thing to the the Lord a while back, i felt like God helped me to see that it wasn't about the button but that i needed to deal with the heart issue. so the button stayed. and the button doesn't have the pull for me anymore. maybe it will later and i can re-think through it and see what God wants me to do? i think it's important to be obedient..not band aid heart issues. for some this maybe means taking that button off. and for some it won't. (some people turn off the comments for the same reason).
      ironically, even if you take the button off the actual blog, you can still see how many followers you have. so to say that's the issue i think misses the point. regardless, with Christ's guidance, each person must decide in his own heart what that will ultimately look like (romans 14 and 15). which is why i don't make lists of rules(nor did i do that on the modesty post for the same reason)
      did i just make all of that even more confusing. LOL.

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    2. Totally makes sense. Even if the followers button never existed in the first place, I think we would still find ourselves asking, "hmmm, I wonder how many followers I have? I sure hope it's a lot, cause I would feel pretty worthless if it wasn't." It's definitely not about the button, but about craving something, anything, more than Jesus. Thanks for sharing, and for NOT resorting to a list of moralistic do's and don'ts, like them 'ole Pharisees were so good at doing.

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  46. thank you for writing this post. it really challenged and inspired me to yet again give my blog to the Lord. thank you!! blessings, lora

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  47. And all God's people said, "AMEN!" Thank you for writing this....
    So many times I go to "TOP bloggers" blogs and they give a 5 point presentation on everything we shouldn't do or should do to get more followers.

    MOST of the time.... they hit on "What you shouldn't talk about... or change the title"

    yadaaaaaa. yadaaaaa.....

    Anyway! I just wanted to write that I am 100% behind you!!!

    xoxo!
    -b

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  48. Beautiful reminder, it's easy to forget the most important thing sometimes. And we could probably all benefit from asking ourselves that question: what did God make me for? And how can I glorify him today? Not just in the blogging world but in real life too.

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  49. It's so refreshing to see THIS and YOU, or moreover JESUS! As a Christian sometimes I realize I'm starting to think like the world in this way and then I realize that's stupid. But it definitely can be an easy trap to fall into... man's approval vs. God's. I just try to think about how I'm making things to reflect His glory or sewing to make my heart glad that God has given me this gift! And I just hope others can see that through me. This is who God made me to BE! Yay!

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  50. this is awesome! i chuckled a little under my breath when i read the part about actually seeking followers in every day life. it would be totally weird. and yes yes yes to the fact that god wants us seeking him. using our talents to honor him. i hated popularity contests when i was a teenager and i definitely am not eager to be part of one now. love people, the end.

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  51. first time visiting your blog,
    love love this post.
    i followed the link heather at live made lovely posted and am so glad I did! to be perfectly honest with you, i am always so busy within my own little world (3 little ones plus one in mah tummy, pretty much explains it all right?)that I just don't have the time or the effort to figure out blog strategies and followers etc.
    i admire you for being bold and posting about this topic and sharing your heart and knowledge about this. love.

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  52. Amen!!! This post is an excellent reminder to me as I can get caught up in the popularity contest that blogging can be.

    I will confess that I questioned how much of my faith I should reveal on my blog. I didn't want it shoved in people's faces, but I want it to simply be a part of who I and how I live without constantly announcing it obnoxiously. God is giving me more courage to weave in how His hand works through me and I know that the only reason I have so much to blog about is that the Lord is pouring inspiration into me. God and I have agreed that as long as He gave me inspiration, I would keep blogging. I'm happy to say that nearly a year in, I see God lining up more work for me and I am more than happy to get to work for Him.

    Thank you for keeping us bloggers focused on what truly matters.

    ~ Ferly
    Gifts We Use {to grow, love and serve}

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  53. thanks for posting this. all bloggers struggle with this even when they promise not to...ever! srsly. just blog. pray and blog. he who has ears to hear will hear and it may be only one. is that one not worth it? blogging is freeing, and it is leaving a legacy for our kiddos whether it reaches anyone else or not. bonus if it does. you have a gift. you reach souls. God gave you thins gift, as you know. keep it up. cute kids can only get you so far. the gospel reaches souls...

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  54. PREACH. Girl, I was @ Influence and did not go to your session and am seeeeeeeeeeriously regreting it now.

    I think I needed to read this today as in I think the LORD somehow directed me to read this post. Seriously, thank you for being His tool (in a good way).

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  55. Jami! This brought me to tears just now. i had never read this before. i had always shared so much from my heart about the love and forgiveness and healing that God can bring to the broken hearted, due to my own experience on my blog! Yesterday was the first time I ever posted something that ppl simply didnt like. not alot of ppl, just a few, but losing those few followers hurt my feelings so bad, even though I KNEW when I clicked publish, it would happen. I ended up taking the post down, then feeling so convicted for letting the approval of a few men overshadow what I felt God put on my heart. Ashley from 5ohwifey shared this link with me when i was saying how it felt crappy losing GFC followers. This scripture you shared hit home. This is for his glory and I had so desperately been praying lately that even as I share my story of depression, that it wouldnt be about me, but about him bringing me out. I wanted to relate, yet i didnt want to recieve the glory that man gives us for the words we say.
    1 peter 4:11 says,
    If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
    Anyways, i did see you and hear you at Influence...and i so appreciate your heart. thank you so much for the reminder. our lives are to simply bring glory to God.

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  56. I really needed these words tonight Jami. Thank you!

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