Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Three Word Wednesday: I Take Joy

I have been in a strange place recently when it comes to writing and I’m trying to figure out why. I’m on the hunt for the joy I once found in writing. I cannot say writing has completely lost its joy. I would be lying though if I did not say I’m weary from this writing thing I do.

I came across a quote last week that said, “You fail only if you stop writing.” ~ Ray Bradbury

When I first read the quote I thought, “Yes. This.” After another look I stopped at the word fail. Do I really fail if I stop writing? I pondered on it for a bit longer and the word fail simply didn't sit well with me.

I came across another quote by Martin Luther and he says, “If you want to change the world, pick up your pens.”

Maybe there is truth to the first quote I shared. I’m still struggling with the word fail.

But what I’m wrestling with is how writing has slowly become, for me, less about writing and more about the other "stuff" that comes with writing. If I’m called to write, could I simply write?

I've fallen into the trap of comparing myself to what other writers are doing and I am growing weary over believing what I am doing is not enough.

Be on all four social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Goggle+ and Pinterest). Like more pages. Follow more people on Twitter. Tweet more. Retweet more. Share more content on Google+. Add more people to your circles. Follow more boards on Pinterest. Add more boards and pins. And if I’m on Pinterest I need to have a pinnable image with every post.

When exactly do I write?

I do all these things to become bigger; gain more followers – right? To find joy in writing I need to try harder and do more? Do I find more joy the bigger I become?

Ann Voskamp writes in Chapter 9 of her book One Thousand Gifts, “The humble are laid-low and bowed ones, the surprised ones with hands open to receive whatever He gives.”

What if I’m okay with being small and want to simply be surprised, and give thanks, for whatever gifts He gives? Like maybe more followers.

Have I given thanks for the gifts He has already given me? Like the gift to write.

“And in that place of humble thanks, God exalts and gives more gifts and more of Himself, which humbles and lays the soul down lower. And God responds with greater gifts of grace and even more of Himself. And I ride the undulating wave of grace, this lifting higher and higher in grace, the surging crest of joy, and this plunging lower and lower in humble thankfulness only to rise yet higher in grace and this eucharisteo, it offers the ultimate joyride and I don’t think I ever want to get off.” ~ Ann Voskamp

The way to joy . . . Count His graces. Give thanks. Find joy.
Grace. Thanksgiving. Joy. Eucharisteo

Could God’s calling for me to write begin with writing down His graces? And if I stop writing them down? Maybe I do fail when I stop writing because I am no longer seeing God in my everyday moments. So I pick up my pen and I write...

Thank you, Lord, for the gift to write
Thank you, Lord, for pens
Thank you, Lord, for computers
Thank you, Lord, for my daughter-in-law who helped me to launch Simply Beth
Thank you, Lord, for Traci who gave Simply Beth a blog makeover
Thank you, Lord, for social media outlets to share words and connect with others
Thank you, Lord, for pretty images
Thank you, Lord, for each and every person you bring to my blog
Thank you, Lord, for their sweet comments
Thank you, Lord, for the friendships made through writing

And as Ann writes, “when we give thanks God responds with greater gifts of grace and even more of Himself.” And in “His presence is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11).

So I'm saying again, enough with the not-enough’s.

I give thanks. I take joy.

As for the weariness I feel with the other "stuff" that comes with writing, I'm going to give myself grace. I love the various social media outlets because it allows me to connect with YOU and to share YOUR words. The rest will continue to be a splattering of the words He has put on my heart to share . . . to simply share and not because I think I need to do more to be enough.

And I will pray if there is someone who needs encouragement and could quite possibly find comfort through the words I write, that God will lead them here with or without posts, tweets and pins.

I give thanks for this gift He has given me to write.
I take joy.


  1. I love your words here Beth ♥ It’s easy to become immune to (and less grateful for) the small things in our lives. We allow our feelings of achieving success and accomplishment, and our yearning for material satisfaction, to outshine the precious little gifts of life that surround us. There is so much joy to be found in the everyday things, and yes, especially when we "count His graces".

    Blessings and love as we give thanks in His presence ♥

    1. Ann Voskamp's book and counting His graces is having such an amazing impact on me. It truly does bring JOY. Thank you for your kind words, Denise. I'm so grateful for you.

  2. Oh yes, I can so relate. I told our associate pastor last week that I have stopped having the "joy in serving". Only because I over serve. Is that possible? I am the yes girl on staff, the one who does it all and then some. And this is sort of how I feel with blogging, writing tweeting, pinning and sharing these days. I have lost my joy. I've stepped back, as you know, am asking God to rekindle the joy in my writing. I started recounting my gifts this year and then stopped. Hmmmm, perhaps I shall begin again and see where that takes me. I so understand. I hope I can encourage you on your journey.

    1. We do that don't we? Overdue things to the point of where it is no longer as enjoyable as it once was. I believe we set out with good intentions. I pray for us both, Barbie. And always grateful that we are on this journey together. You have encouraged me greatly. Love you.

  3. Dearest Beth ... the whole social media thing and our desire to be liked, friended, have super stats, whatever has pulled us into something that goes far beyond picking up a pen and sharing our hearts. I guess we each have to figure out what the original call was, remember the pure zeal and the simplest of joys associated with it, and strip off all that's attached itself along the way.

    Long ago I said 'no thanks' to every other social media except blogging. I just don't do it. I already spend too much time online. What can I say except 'no regrets.' I might be a bit of a dinosaur, but that really is ok! I can't help believe that all that striving just leads to burnout.

    Been there, done that years ago. And I'm not going back!

    We've made our lives too complex on the way to joy. And the joy was hidden deep inside all the time, just waiting to break forth. It is, after all, one of His fruit.

    Love you my friend. Grace, grace, ok?


    1. Linda, you said this beautifully.

    2. I love everything you shared here, Linda. I have thought of writers like you who are not on social media and it reminds me that we can do this thing without all that other stuff. And yes, it can lead to burnout. I enjoy the different social media outlets but I know I need to stick to what I enjoy and not allow myself to feel more is required. Thank you so much for all your encouragement. I just love you.

  4. I'm weary of words too, Beth. Our words—your words, my words, the whole world wide web of words—will always fail. If we could fill all the oceans with words they would still fall short. The best they can do is point to the The Word. And that is where we need to turn our eyes.

    Thinking of this song:

    Could we with ink the ocean fill,
    And were the skies of parchment made,
    Were every stalk on earth a quill,
    And every man a scribe by trade,
    To write the love of God above,
    Would drain the ocean dry.
    Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
    Though stretched from sky to sky.

    Much love,

    1. Thank you so much, Rebekah. I love the words to that song. And you share something that has been on my heart...and that is trying to write more about what God is revealing to me through His Word as I read through the Bible. Thank you for all your encouragement. Love you.

  5. Beth, I understand. I had a battle within myself about a year ago over this "writing thing". I know I am supposed to because the Lord gifted me with the ability to put pen to paper. "My heart overflows with a good theme, my tongue is the pen of a ready writer." (Psalm 45.1) But, all the other stuff that we allow to crowd our minds: stats/followers/who is doing what/she writes better than me/her photos are better/I need a new camera/my computer isn't right/my website is outdated......and the list can go on and on. I believe, for me, I had to dig deep and ask myself, who am I trying to please? Others? Or, the Gift-giver? (Galatians 1.10) After much soul-searching, and releasing myself from self-criticism and condemnation, I have come to have a great peace about my writing. The one thing that helped me more than anything (and I know it won't get me on many blog roles) is my commitment to post new material on Wednesdays only - anything else I do is bonus! I pray and hope that perhaps something I've said here helps you through this "spell." xo

    1. Yes, that is the question we need to ask. Who are we trying to please? And when I answered that question honestly I knew something needed to change. Everything you have said has encouraged me and I greatly appreciate you taking the time to share. I appreciate YOU.

  6. I read this much earlier this morning, Beth, but have been thinking about it ever since. Not sure how to express my thoughts. I guess all I can do is share what I have been tossing around in my heart & mind lately. Can it be that we have it all backwards? Perhaps "success" looks different on each of us. I know I have taught Bible Study for many years. But that doesn't mean I will become a known teacher, conference speaker & write studies. Can it be the same with blogging & writing? Could it be that some of us will stay lesser known & yet be "successful" as we reach the one that God has placed in the arena of our influence? Can we be content where we are? These are all rhetorical questions I myself am wrestling with. John the Baptist, so often quoted, seems to have gotten it right - "He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less." So easy to nod in agreement but if we're honest, it really can be such a struggle in our humanity. This was a great post, Beth. Very thought provoking for certain.
    May we come to realize, and BELIEVE, that as we do what He has called us to do, we are enough. We are more than enough. For no one can do what each of us has been called to do. That is why He created you. And me. :) You are loved, friend!

    1. Joanne, I'm always so grateful for your encouragement. Yes...he must become greater and I must become less. That verse has very much been on my mind lately. God is so good and His presence has been so felt these past couple weeks. He truly does use those tough days (or weeks) to draw us closer to Him. Love you and so grateful for you.

  7. Beth- I believe you and I might be speaking directly to each other. My heart has been feeling heavy with the same notions. In my opinion it's the enemy's attempt at hiding doubt and discouragement in our minds, but lucky for us we know better than to believe them! Our God is so worthy and He demands that we not give in or give up. Sister, keep taking joy and giving God all thanks - your heart means more to Him than any amount of followers or "likes".

    1. I've got the song, I've got joy, joy, joy down in my heart song playing in my head today! He is enough!! Praying for you too, Shannon. Much love, Beth.

  8. Hi Beth,

    Thanks for sharing your heart with us.

    The message of 'more' is everywhere. To gain this... you must to that... same with social media. I chose to take a backseat and just focus on what I can write, rather than the umpteen things that come with it. When we view ourselves from a worldly view it is full of disappointments and discouragement, but when we focus on the One we are being the pen for, all the rest falls away.

    Bless you Beth -love you.

  9. Beth - so honest! I think there's another aspect. One that I feel, anyway. This blogging - this heartfelt writing takes a lot of time. And reflection. Good, old-fashioned effort. And yes, you want people to read what you've written so you jump through hoops to get them to.... Add to that, for me, anyway, the fact that when I have time to write it's because I'm not working. I'm not earning. I keep thinking that if I jump through all the right hoops, then there might be some kind of earning in it for me. Not to be famous. Not to be a star. And certainly not to make some ridiculous amount...But to pay my share of the bills. I missed the writing when I was working full time. I miss the paycheck now. Hmmm... Hang in there - maybe I'll start praying for us both! Love, Janet

  10. Love this post & your raw & honest emotion behind it. Thank you for being vulnerable & sharing where you are. Can't encourage you enough to lay aside the pressures of the world (social media) & just bask in the Word God's given you to share with others. They'll come, as He sees fit. Write it, and "they will read it"... whoever God intends to read it. His time, His place. Love to you & SO appreciate your friendship! ♥

  11. I can SO relate to this post. Nearing the end of last year, I was feeling very similar to you. The Lord spoke to my heart and told me to follow Him and exactly what He wants for me. I needed to work to let go of tweeting every so often and writing on my facebook page strategically. All I need to do is post when I can, write what He gives me, and engage in social media when it fits into my family life. No more living for the blog. I now live for the gift of writing and go where God leads.
    I had to give up FMF parties and other outlets, but crazy enough, since I have thrown out the business plan and social media gatherings (even though I really enjoy FMF) my blog has grown. Go figure!?!?
    I'm learning to define success based on just going after what God wants me to go after and not worrying about how the world defines success.
    Praying for you, sweet friend!

  12. That picture is beautiful and makes my heart happy. :)

    I am thankful that you are writing. Your friendship brings me joy. Hugs

    1. Thank you, Lyli. You brought a big smile to my face. :) I'm grateful for your friendship.

  13. What you are being led to write is enough. You are enough. Praying for you. Take care

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Dear Beth,

    The Lord keeps bringing me to these blog posts about comparison. I like how you tied comparison together with the lack of thanksgiving. Deep thoughts for me to ponder.

    Thank you!

  16. Your words are beautiful. I have been struggling lately with social media myself...needing to share more to connect more and to be more. It can be exhausting. I needed to hear this today, becuse you helped remind me that I do it because people need me. Just like people need you, I need you. Your words may only speak to one person when you write them, but you continue to write them because that is what God inteneded for that day. It may seem small on your end but it is huge on the other end. It may not be easy, but just keep sharing from your heart <3
    Thank you for your words, your encouragment and your thoughts. You are a blessing Beth!!
    prayers <3 Veronica

  17. I think the key is what you wrote toward the end of this post...Give yourself grace. I think that when we try to be structured in our writing (deadlines, subjects, # of followers, the routine) we can easily lose the joy we once felt when we first set out to share the incredible message that God had shown us. I get that way. In fact, I'm that way now. When I try to force out a post, I don't enjoy it at all. But when I am inspired...Ah, then! That is when I love it. So, I think giving ourselves grace is important. We need to write because we love to write and are inspired to write...not because we have to write. Thanks for the reminder to simply give thanks to God for the gift of writing and then give ourselves the gift of grace.

    Blessings, Joan

  18. I feel ya, Beth. Pretty sure I can't add to what the other 24 people have written so far, so I'll just add that I love you and grace is key. Grace grace grace. And if you can't find any to give yourself, let me know and I'll give you some more. Love and Hugs, Sweet Friend!

  19. I think sometimes we feel like we fail when we follow the call but are not sure if we're doing it "right" (there's a post to be written there). I write first because I believe it's something He's given me to do. I visit and wish I could do it more right now - and reach via commenting and connecting - because I am a relationship kind of person. I want to connect. Twitter, Pinerest, etc - I am not a PR-kind of person. I can cheerlead you, my boys, my husband, friend and community - but I cannot cheerlead myself:)

    We're not called to meet goals - we're called to love the best we can right now - through hugs, or words, or service - and we're lucky - for us writing is hugging, is serving, is loving!! Keep on Beth!

  20. I echo you Maryleigh, so easy to encourage others, but harder still to be my own PR- kind of person. I'm much more relational. I love that you shared your heart, here Beth. You're definitely loved:).

  21. I just love your site and how you share your heart on here. So glad you visited my blog so I could follow you back. Can't wait to join in your link up. Kim @ Pouring Down Like Rain


Thank you for leaving a comment! I love hearing from you and I read every one. Be sure to subscribe to comments or check back as I try to respond to all comments. I also do my best to hop on over to your blog for a visit.
Much love to you.