I almost lost this blog a few weekends ago, and I was terrified. If you’re reading this then you know that it’s back up (like, obviously) but more than anything, what the experience showed me was my own vanity and things that I need to work on in myself. I mean, it’s just a blog! I should get a life 😁
It all started when I saw an advertisement for a task that would require storytelling and I was so excited to get on it. One of the requirements on the application form was for a link to some of my past work. Now I’m ashamed to admit this, but in that moment I felt really proud to put in the links to my recent stories-turned-books (Have you read Portal and The Curious Case of Doctor Maundy? Please do!There’s a behind-the-scenes series on writing I’m planning to put up here, so follow the page too so you’d be the first to know when it’s up. Gracias! 😁 🙏🏼). And when I say that I was proud, I don’t mean that in a good sense.
So I came over here to do a little touching up on the pages so that any visitor would see excellent and quality work … or something. I made a couple of edits here and revisions there when, all of a sudden, I found that I couldn’t save changes anymore. After trying a few more times I assumed it was just a fluke so I stayed off the ‘Net for a while. It wasn’t until I tried logging in again when I saw the message in a red block on my dashboard.
This blog had been suspended 😳.
I tried to access the URL on different browsers, but it said the same thing.
Now I’m usually generally chill, and I deliberately take myself away from undue tension, so I wasn’t anxious at first. I just figured there was something I needed to do to change this and that I’d figure it out soon enough. Maybe there was one of those Terms and Conditions I usually don’t read that I’d violated, I thought, so I scanned through them. As far as I could tell everything was in order.
As the hours turned to a day and nothing had changed I gradually realised that this was a serious problem. I came face-to-face with the possibility that I could actually lose this catalog of articles, stories and writings dating back to 2013.
The thought of it all shook me to my core.
What if I actually did lose everything?
Before I get to how we got it back up, I should point something out. This period and looking at it all showed me a bit about problematic perspectives I held.
What do I really have?
I realised that I had considered the blog as a possession of mine, something I worked to build, and an extension of myself. Sometimes I look back at the archives and feel that “started from-the-bottom-now-we-here!” feeling. This blog has been an experience all on its own. Many life experiences have occurred in its day. I’ve had days with so much traffic and dry spells stretching for months, but it’s all been part of the experience that’s been building up gradually. I’ve been learning what works and what doesn’t. I’m learning not to judge based on responses, but to also write in reader-friendly ways. I had every right to see this as my own.
Or did I?
Perhaps it’s valuable, and it is. But if the loss of something ‘valuable’ to me was going to affect me, then that says more about me than about the thing itself.P.S.: Someone reading this is wondering, “Dude, It’s just a blog! Get a life!” And writing this out now, I see that you’re absolutely right! I feel like an idiot now, but I hope you can learn from my idiocy.
Seeing how the thought of losing this made me feel less of myself made me realise that I had, somehow, tied my value and esteem to this blog and, by extension, to my accomplishments even offline. And that’s definitely not a good thing.
I find that many times I feel down when I’ve not got something new going on, or when I’m not being praised for something. And that’s completely unhealthy and destructive.I apologise if I’m being too open about my flaws here. I find that this year I’ve been doing that a lot.It’s subtle, but if my perspective of my value is defined by my accomplishments, then that means that I have also been determining the value of others based on their accomplishments. And as the cycle goes, I would also judge my value based on the applause, rejection or indifference of others.
This is the core of an inferiority complex. It’s something I was sure I had dealt with, but I was now seeing signs of it peeking out again.
Who Owns it, anyway?
In recent times, I’ve been encouraged towards, and am considering and planning the conversion of this blog to a full-fledged website. The thought process of it all has made me go back to the beginnings of this platform and to be reminded why it exists.
This is not really my own. It’s never really been mine!
Many things on this page have changed over the years, but the tagline has not.
Life, Hope, Faith … with some humor.
It’s my playground to show my works, but it’s really a channel for the Real Owner to reach others through me with the creative tools He gave me. It was an extension of myself because that’s how I’ve learnt to see myself: I am God’s Instrument to reach the world, and every of my platforms will do the same.
But what’s at the core is my life.
It’s my heart.
Jesus told the story of the rich fool, the guy who defined his security based on what he had. He described the man as “…he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:21) I certainly don’t want that to be me. I want my life to be one that blesses and lifts others, yes, but it’s nothing if my life is not a delight to the Lord.
Like Jesus also said, “…where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:34). If the Lord is my treasure, then that’s where my heart will be. That’s Who would define my desires and life’s purpose and esteem.
What does it say about me?
I am learning to remind myself where true value lies. I am valuable, not because of anything I’ve done or can do or will do, no. I was valuable long before I could do anything! I am valuable because of the One that made me, that knows me, that loves me. That owns me.
I am valuable to God.
My favourite verse, and more like a lifeverse for me over the past couple of years, has been Isaiah 43:1:
“…Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.”
You are Mine.
I am His.My value is not tied to my accomplishments or possessions. Like Jesus said,
“…Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.” (Luke 12:15)
For a child of God, you never really lose. If we lose anything good, by God’s grace it can be restored and we can get back up again. That’s the promise of God’s Word. Remember Job? Everything he lost was restored by the end of the book, in doubles!
Proverbs 24:16 tells us that a just man may fall seven times, but he rises up again.
But you know what?
Even if what was lost is not restored, even if our hopes and dreams don’t materialise the way we would have desired, God’s promise is that His own can still be secure and at rest, stable and unshaken. Hebrews 11 tells us about the wonders and exploits done by many by their faith in God, but it also tells us of many who through their faith in God were able to go through trials and mockings, imprisonment, stoning, temptation, torment and even death.
They lost so much, but their true treasure was never taken away. Their true Treasure could never be taken away.
I want to be that strong and stable on the inside.Like Psalm 46 shows us, God is our home and refuge, and He is the One alive in us, like a river flowing through a city, bringing springs of gladness. Even if the things that have defined our stability are ever moved out of place, we will not be shaken. We can always be glad.
It would hurt, and real loss should hurt. But with God, that’s not where the story ends.
We can always be at rest.
What am I learning?
I’m learning to understand true value. When I underestimate anyone or anything, I devalue them in my eyes and lose out on some of God’s greatest gifts, treasure in “jars of clay” (2 Corinthians 4:7). When I overestimate them, I make them idols and I project my expectations on them, thus missing out on what God would have used them to be or do, and unable to see the bigger and much more that God has for me beyond that thing/person. Idols keep us from seeing what’s really important. I do the same to myself when i underestimate or overestimate myself. I’m learning to know what God sees, and esteem as He does.
I’m learning to enjoy every moment. The Bible lets us know that while “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof,” (Matthew 6:34) God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22,23). Every single day has an allotment of God’s supply for me and for you. We can actually enjoy His peace and rest, our own God-given Garden of Eden experience where I never feel the need for validation or affirmation because we’re constantly reminded of His validation and affirmation of us.
I’m learning to Live. Jesus said that He came so that we can have an abundant life, life to the full (John 10:10). I can face life trying to meet targets and deadlines and expectations, or I could actually live, and in so doing meet those targets without being shaken by the strain. To breathe in all that He’s got for me so that I can breathe out all that the world needs. And all of this both deliberately and ‘subconsciously’, I’m able to relate well with people, see myself and see them through God’s eyes, and without judgment.
I’m learning to be Free. Free from the allure of accomplishments, from the limitations I’ve known about myself, from the fear of failure or judgment, from the shame of my past mistakes, and free to lay hold on the ‘something better’ that God has for me.I’m learning to receive what He’s got for me freely, so that I can freely give. And, yes, even if it means I’ll never get it back. I’ve got Him, and He’s got me. And in the final analysis, that’s enough.
The blog will continue. I will keep doing things for the Lord by His strength and ability. I will keep creating things. But we can, and I will also have times where I’m not producing anything per se, and I will still be secure and joyful through it all.
That being said, Lord willing, you can look forward to a major release toward the end of the year 😉
And I’m also learning to clear the clutter. But that’s a post for another day. I think I’ve bared my heart beyond comfort enough here 😅.
Oh yeah, I sent a message to WordPress and the community personnel reached me to explain that my browser had was generating spam from my serial saving, and it was automatically suspended. So they got it fixed. Thanks, WordPress. 😁
So what are you learning, or what have you learnt, about loss and value? How do you handle it? Please share.
And thanks for reading!!!