My friend Amber emailed me to let me know about a post that revealed the top Youth Ministry Blogs of 2015. I geek out giving lists like this a look because I love youth ministry and people who write about youth ministry.
The blogs were ranked by three kinds of stats:
- Page authority of the blog home page (how well this page ranks on search engines)
- Number of linking domains back to the blog site (how many other websites reference this blog site with links)
- Social media popularity in the last 6 months (total number of shares of the top four posts)
As I read her email and then the list, I was surprised to find my name at the bottom.
In 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, I would have believed it, but 2015?
I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud to be at the bottom of a list in my life!
Because, sometimes it’s hard—to write, to connect, to keep going. I felt like my blog suffered most in the transition from youth ministry at Highland Park to youth ministry what eventually became The Justice Movement.
There were days when I wanted to quit all of the things, shut down the blog, delete the social media apps and crawl into a pillow fort with my kids and a bunch of children’s books for the next forty years.
But somehow (really I know how, it was the capital G-R-A-C-E of God at work in me) I found a few days, a few places, and a few words to share. It was my showing up for my life and doing my best to be okay with being seen.
This weekend I watched my daughter compete at her second cheer competition. At the beginning of the meet the kids are invited to the floor to do tumbling passes to music. Our daughter, who has never done much more than a cartwheel, ran down to the mat to tumble with older and seemingly more experienced girls. I never felt so restless (I’m thinking “don’t fall on your head, don’t fall on your head”) and I have never felt so proud. I fight the urge to go down to the mat and talk to her about the pros and cons of potentially falling on one’s head in front of hundreds of people. But I also champion the voice inside of me that says, “let her try…don’t flip on the switch…let her find her way”.
Showing up is the new winning.
And I’m learning that vulnerability isn’t experienced by talking about it. It’s experienced in moments of courage and trying. It’s found in exposure and trust. It’s what we become when we are willing to show up and be seen.
Winning is getting on the mat and giving what you have or writing a few words and pressing publish.
Like most people who breathe oxygen, I’ve sat in some darkness during 2015. But I’ve also tried to stay committed to the things I feel called to do—as much as I humanly could.
So my blog this year was very much what marketers might call minimal viable product.
It was what I could give, given the circumstances.
It was what I could eeeek out with whatever effort was available to me at the moment.
It was my try and a try that I’m proud of.
I’m blessed with the opportunity to keep trying.
I appreciate everyone who reads this thing.
My heart is electrified when I see others trying.
I can’t celebrating the amazing tries I see all around me. So many of them are changing the world as we know it. And some of them aren’t changing much but the person doing the trying. Either way, trying is changing us and helping us be more us.
I love you guys (you know I mean girls too and that “guys” is Ohioan for “everybody”).
I get excited talking about life (and books) and faith (and books) and youth ministry (and did I mention I like talking about books?.
I always have the feeling that our lives are beautiful bridges to each other and to God.
I can’t imagine not having the friends who share their lives with me through a little youth ministry blog that was started over a decade ago. Thanks for being a safe place to try.
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” – Confucius