I started my blog in May 2016 with very simple instructions from the Lord, “Just write to encourage My people” and that’s what I purposed in my heart to do.
Within a month, I learned about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), how to monetize my blog, the importance of an email list, and how to attract followers to that email list. I also blew the dust off my marketing and communications textbooks from college and put myself through a refresher course on branding and finding your niche and target audience.
The simple instructions God gave me to encourage His people turned into a business venture. A business venture that, quick frankly, turned me off from the beauty that I find in writing and encouraging people.
And so, my blog posts became sporadic, non-existent even. Trying to create blog posts that met the SEO criteria and attracting more followers drove me batty. Implementing those tactics just wasn’t…me. They didn’t feel authentic to Aretha. That’s not my “brand” and I refuse to apologize for it.
Last night I was praying for someone and heard myself saying these words, “I pray he goes back to the instructions the Lord first gave him BEFORE he leaned to His own understanding, before He implemented those things his industry dictates.” As I prayed those words for him, I realized my error. I realized I too needed to go back. I needed to go back to what the Lord told me May 2016: “Encourage My people.” I repented before the Lord and I’m writing this post to encourage someone else to “Go Back”.
Maybe that someone is you. Maybe it isn’t. Maybe it’s someone you know. Regardless, last night, the Lord reminded me that His ways are not our ways. His ways are greater, higher than industry standards or best practices. I don’t need SEO to get my blog posts before people. Indeed, the Lord will send those who need to read my blog posts to my website.
I want to encourage Christian bloggers. Learn all about the standards, tactics, and best practices as they relate to blogging. By all means narrow down your niche and your target audience. If you’re monetizing your blog or want to monetize your blog, go for it. I’m your biggest cheerleader. I simply want to remind you to ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS leave room for God and His ways.
We serve an almighty God who knows absolutely everything. 1 Corinthians 1:20b,25 tells us that, “…hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?…Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” Leaning in to God’s wisdom will lead to blessings that we can’t even imagine. Yes, use this world’s knowledge, just don’t leave God nor His instructions out of your plans.
Don’t leave Him out of your marriage, your family, your home, your church, your ministry. Don’t leave Him out of your decisions on a career or college major.
He has a plan for you. Seek the Lord for His instructions for your life and NEVER forget them. Just like the woman in the photo, you may have to walk against the grain but it’ll be worth it.