Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Permission to Fail



The past year has felt like the most drawn-out invitation to retreat into the Small. It would have been nice if it had ended with moving to a smaller house.

Life has gotten busier in the strangest ways, and still, here it is, the nudge and pull to be less, do less, have less. We've been confined in closer quarters, squeezed of our excess, stripped of the senseless religion that's tailed us from our youth.

But we're a couple of old dogs and these new tricks don't feel right sometimes. We're prone to wanting, quick to forget that this is the flipped-under world that we signed on to when we believed and agreed that we would walk these miles with Christ.

The truth is, God calls His people to do great things all the time, and by "great", I mean big. And by "big" I mean, like, really actually big. Things that get people noticed. Things that pay the bills and then some. Things that require marketing teams and fancy shoes and extra forms from the IRS.

But sometimes, His calling is big in a really quiet way. Sometimes - often - the Bigness happens shyly, inside us, when we finally agree to unclench our fists from the allure of standing just a little taller than the rest.

Blogging is a tricky boat to steer and sometimes I struggle to make sense of how it fits in with my life right now. I'm wistful about the days when the words came more easily and didn't cost me an ounce of pain.

I'm going on five years and somehow, astonishingly, this community keeps growing. (Thank you! Also, really??) The people in my back yard sometimes think this thing is a biggish deal, but what you and I know is that I am a drop in the bucket. And sometimes that thought comforts me more than any other, but sometimes I notice that the blog sisters of my generation have book deals, magazine spreads, conference tickets, etsy shops, thriving businesses, and 85,000 followers. At a minimum, they've defined a niche or their work helps pay the bills thanks to a sidebar full of quirky-cool ads.

On those nights, I stew around my kitchen and stir doubts into the soup. Maybe the smart people are right and I'm doing it all wrong. I could do more, shout louder, switch to Wordpress, write more, say less, network like I mean it, take a class, learn a trade. I can't compete. The world around me is savvy and I just recently learned what "domain" means. I hit the pillow feeling sure that I should just shut it all down.

Because of course I'd like an invitation. Heck yes, I wanted the book I spent over a year writing to be published. I struggle to find my place, my worth, amid what I think I lack.

But here's the fantastic, can't-wipe-the-smile-off-my-face fact of the matter: Little is much. Small is holy. Quiet can be sacred.

That year I spent hunkered down in the fox room taught me a few important things. 1) Not a single dot or dash of art is wasted time. 2) I can write a whole book!! 3) I can write it just for me.

The day may come when all of this changes. It's not likely, but it's possible. Until then I'm clinging to the simple truth that my Savior found His home in the small and the ordinary. He invented the crazy math where a little + even less = more than necessary.

So I'm right here, cheering on my sisters who are doing things "better" and "bigger". They're walking the path laid out for them and they're doing it justice. I'm reading and learning from them every day.

But for me, and maybe for you, our bigger doesn't work the room and our better won't ever own the crowd. 

It is neither my duty nor my desire to push away from where I've been placed because this is a thing of beauty and my heart is being straightened out in the process of watching those around me snatch up the things I always thought I wanted.

It's amazing how wrong I've been about what I need. I've seen too much to go back to thinking my plans are the right ones.

So my hope is that in the moments I seek recognition I will find only His; in the days I crave popularity I'll rediscover the humbling gift of my brokenness; in the time and time and time again that I fall back into defining success by things that aren't real, I'll come face-to-weary-face with my failure. Because only then can I remember the truth of it all - there exists no failure inside Christ's sovereignty.

If I am His, I am exactly enough.
If you are His, you are exactly enough.


110 comments:

  1. preach it girl...and you are the real deal - don't let the doubt & lies creep in - push them away with HIS TRUTH!

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  2. "He invented the crazy math where a little + even less = more than necessary."

    Needed.THIS.reminder.

    thank you.

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  3. Beautiful. Love your last two paragraphs. Yes. Yes. Yes.

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  4. I like Kelly's math. I don't want to be the voice of a tempter, so disregard if you have to. But may I ask what the book you did write was about?

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  5. I like Kelly's math. I don't want to be the voice of temptation, so disregard if you have to. But may I ask what the book you did write was about?

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  6. Oh mah word. This post is amazing, really. Also? I have a little photog bitness, but I still am a drop in the bucket. Networking what?! I'm so with you. Except your words are spelled out way better than mine.


    Ps. I still have to read your book. Published or not. But it should indeed be published damnit. I never curse, but this is the right occasion. Forgive me?

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  7. Oh my how I needed this. I have struggled, okay still struggle, : with all of those things. I have actually prayed to be smaller and then whined when He didn't take that to mean He could go ahead and bring an agent to my door.
    This is precious truth.
    And just between you and me - I totally love your writing.

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  8. What a breath of fresh air this post was to my soul, Shannan. Right on.

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  9. Shannan, your blog, your life, and your words have influenced me more than any other blogger (except Ann Voskamp ;D) and I would guess this is true for many. Your "bigger" now is in your home with your family, but I'm sure there are "big" things in your future. :)

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  10. i've been angsty and fidgety all day, but in this i can rest. we are His.

    ps what *does* domain really mean?
    pps the book. i don't care if it's alien abductions or the finer mechanics of plumbing, sign me up for the purchasing.

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    1. Maybe you and Shannan should ride to Indy together, this summer, Nicole! xxoo

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    2. Uh...please don't press me on the whole "domain" thing. ;)

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  11. You are my favorite. Seriously. Love love love your words.

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  12. this is exactly how i feel all the time.
    but you, you are amazing. you have words and i envy your words. you wrote a book and i am amazed. i predict you will burst on the scene in the next few years. speaking, publishing, reality tv, people magazine! you'll be everywhere because you are awesome. and i will buy it all.
    (and speaking from someone who blogs and has a photography biz, there's so much work to that and not a lot of income. so don't be jealous.)

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  13. here's something that helps me out when i'm playing the 'compare' game...
    God only made one YOU.
    you are unique.
    you are special.
    He created you just so.
    there's no need to compare b/c He wants you the way you are.
    that always helps me.
    there's no use in wondering if i can be someone different.
    it would be a shame in trying to be someone else.
    you are such a gem.
    such a great person.
    i love this b/c it speaks to me... and will to so many others...
    but i love it the most b/c it's you.
    you're sharing YOUR heart.
    love your heart... it's beating with the love of Jesus.
    hugs and love from me!
    xo

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  14. I have just 'jumped'. I KNOW this is what God has for me, but satan keeps whispering about how small it is. He is constantly trying to tell me that the work is insignificant when compared to........

    Everyday, over and over, I have to keep rehearsing truth and reviewing His faithfulness. I do not want to give in to the temptation to pull the rip cord and slow the fall. It may not make a difference for a lot of people, but I know it has already made a difference to one!

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  15. What's for you will not pass you by.
    Jesus loves you, and so do I.

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  16. These thoughts kept me up last night too. A tad bit of free lance work took me out of my SAHM world and into the what.if I'd.never.had.quit(postponed?).my.career world. And I love your sentiment that you don't want to push away from where God has you, neither do I, but those thoughts get ya' sometimes...

    And we both posted similar petal pictures today. Weird. Except mine had snowflakes on them. :/

    Great post.

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  17. Oh. My. Word.

    I just wrote a post about this very same thing last week. And here I sit, feeding a babe a bottle of milk with a kitchen to clean and a project to edit. This life--my life--is one for the not so famous. I am small potatoes, and while others go on to become twice baked or gnocchi dumplings, I am merely smooshed taters. All that to say, I'm not one to work a room or be a keynote speaker at a conference.


    I tremble when people talk to me, and I feel faint when all eyes look to me. I'm an observer, a happy side-line attendee. I stand outside the spotlight, supporting those who bask in the glow.

    I know you read plenty of comments, but just so you know, in my book you are BIG potatoes. From one author to another, keep on keepin' on.

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  18. I originally found your blog when someone else (not sure who....) mentioned it during the 31 days series, and you were writing about letting go. That time was a the beginning of a long spiral out of the church we had attended and BELONGED to for many years. At a time when it was going a direction I could not agree with, and the words from the pulpit didn't sit right with me, what you wrote became my church because it resonated with what the Lord was whispering in my soul. God was in the process of turning my heart around 180 degrees and to find someone else figuring out the same things was so meaningful. I wish I could accurately tell you how much your words have meant to me over the last couple years, but I'm not a great writer so it isn't going to come across the way I want it to. Suffice it to say - your blog is a BIG deal to me and I'm really, really grateful that you write. Also your kids are the dang cutest ones I ever did see and that's the truth. Adoption is my dreamiest dream in life - I don't know that it will happen for us, but I'm so happy that it did for you; what beautiful, lovely stories your kids will have about the family God chose for them.
    Lots and lots of love,
    Anna

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  19. Your blog is one of the only ones that I spend time reading. It always brings a smile to my face, makes me laugh, makes me want to do better. It is in the small & simple things that great things shall come to pass. :) Please don't think that your efforts, thoughts, prayers are ever not big enough. You touch many hearts. Those who read your blog, take it into their hearts & minds and then it unfolds into the readers lives in ways you may not even realize. There have been times after reading that I hug a little longer, look at the flowers a little closer, feel the promptings in my heart a little stronger... :) Please don't ever stop.

    xoxo

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  20. So many of the things you write resonate perfectly with my life and experience, including this. Your words are a blessing.

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  21. Oh wow, you are speaking right to my soul! One of things I tell myself over and over again is the age old saying "less is more" and I truly believe it. Just have to remind myself of it from time to time. Thanks for yet another wonderful post Shannan!

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  22. Your words bless me and help remind me that my discontent is a slap in His face...my prayer each day is to be content (with my place in this big world, my 'status' in my career, my financial position, etc, etc, etc) Thanks for the BIG thoughts ~ they pointed me back to 1 Timothy 6:6 - 'But godliness with contentment is great gain' You're gaining every day, sister!

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  23. I love what I find here at your blog. I am a newby. Thank you for writing and sharing your life with us.

    BTW, a book? Would be lovely to read.

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  24. "But for me, and maybe for you, our bigger doesn't work the room and our better won't ever own the crowd." Oh, friend. I feel this smallness every single day. I'd love to say something inspirational and awesome, but sometimes small is just small. And it's hard. Thanks for speaking to the hard stuff.
    I for one, would read your grocery list if you published it. An entire book would be so much better!

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  25. Have to agree with Kimberly and all the others..
    You write.. we read..
    you publish.. we buy..
    we follow you..
    because we believe in you..
    because we love you..
    and the littles..
    the whole package..
    the real honest real deal!
    ((( ♥ ))))!
    Loui♥

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  26. ...sweet sister...don't you know how much braver you make all of us...by your writing...by your loving...by your sharing...by your obedience...by your love for Him...your house may have grown smaller...but look how much bigger your home is...and in some glorious wonderful way...it will always be big enough for one more heart...blessings laney ps Jesus reads blogs too...and He recognizes big when He sees it...

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  27. YES! This is worship poured out here. The raw, honest truth. And the seeking Him anyway. He will honor this. And, I can't help but state the obvious . . . the everyday story you write about with your littles, it's possible because He's keeping you small-ish right now. (and of course I say "ish" because your influence is so much farther and wider than you can even begin to see.)

    Keep on preaching the truth, friend. I'm so with you. And He's so loving you.

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  28. Thanks for writing just what I needed to hear today. I am a missionary in Brazil - I get "paid" to do spiritually "big" things. I know that's not the way it really is, but it seems like that in my head a lot of times. Just today I was struggling with the apparent "smallness" of what I'm doing in comparison to the great need and the great sacrifice it takes to keep me and my family here. God brought to my mind that this - all of this life - is HIS story - not mine. And if he chooses to use me to play a small part, I need to be OK with that. Because I'm not the star of the show. Why do I forget that? Anyhoo, please don't change who you are. I love reading your words because they ring true in my life. You are living as a missionary where you are and I can relate to you in so many ways. Thanks for sharing your part in THE STORY!
    Benay Blume

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  29. So much truth and beauty here, my friend. Your small has impacted me, and I don't think you've failed at all, I'd say it's the opposite. You're living in crazy obedience, and that is always where we should be. Love this, love your heart, and I will read your book one day. I should say, your books. ;)

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  30. Shannon...
    I read your blog, I never comment. I'm just not the commenting type, I suppose. My life is busy...each moment crammed with caring for our farm (which is how I found you years ago...when we had that in common) Small talk is saved for the animals most days!! But what I want to share with you is this. Even if a publisher does not pick you up, you can self publish. There are many platforms on the internet for self publishing. You can even sell your book that way...hard copy by hard copy. You have plenty of readers that would love to consume that. And who knows where that might lead.......

    You can also self publish an e-book....that readers can "buy" and download for Kindle. You can self publish through Amazon.
    Just an idea or two.....
    The fact that you finished the book is amazing. But it needs to be read I am sure.
    You have a way with words. Your words flow across the mind as easily as a thought. A good read, to me, is one that flows like conversation and you have mastered that art.

    Get that book "out there".
    K?

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  31. Yes. yes. yes. I am right there with you and God it right there with us, so all will be well. Reading your blog gives me joy and hope. You are doing your part and I am oh, so glad. Enjoy your rightness.

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  32. I adore some of those gals out there with all the bells and whistles on their blogs, and I often wonder the same as you......why can't that be me? Thank you for the beautiful reminder that sometimes BIG is small. It also reminds me that if God wants you or I, or any of us to walk a BIGGER path, He will set us in that direction. But until that time, if ever, we are doing Him just as much good in our little blog space, with our own number of followers.

    I can't go a day without reading what you have to say, BECAUSE it always points back to Jesus and that's the real deal. Please don't go away :)

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  33. Bless you....I love this, and all your inspiring words. You have touched and blessed my life in sooooo many ways...thank you!

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  34. Here's all the big I see you doing (and it's really big to me - it's meant a lot): being an encouraging friend; making a beautiful home that welcomes and inspires; being an amazing mama to your squirrely kids and big; sometimes taking on my kid, and twins, and others small ones to help out another; writing gorgeous, breath-taking, breath-giving words here that speak to all of us when we are doubting, hurting, weary, or just wanting a laugh; loving your CMB; sharing yourself with honesty and integrity and raw intimacy; living authentically; inciting cravings of mexican; introducing people to crack-bark.

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  35. "my heart is being straightened out in the process of watching those around me snatch up the things I always thought I wanted"
    Yes. YES!
    Keep on writing, please :)

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  36. Love this post - it's so easy to feel like everyone else is doing better. But who defines what is better - you always inspire me so please never stop blogging

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  37. wow, did i need that big time this morning! thanks!

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  38. Amen. And Amen again. Love these truths: "Little is much. Small is holy. Quiet can be sacred."

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  39. This makes me think of the story of Amy Carmichael, who prayed for blue eyes as a child, only to discover as an adult that her brown eyes allowed her to do the big work to which God called her - rescuing girls from temple slavery in India. If you were a big shot speaker and published author, perhaps you could not do the work in the community, the real, physical community, to which you have so clearly been called. God still loves to rescue.

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  40. Funny....no matter where we fall on the totem pole, we always notice who's butt we're looking up to. I look up at your butt alot, talk about you to my hubster ("you know...that gal who doesn't live too far and is the best blog writer I know and takes amazing photography and dresses like I wish my size 2x body could and and and...."). I'm taking HUGEMONGOUS pains lately to just 'be'. Accept where I am, rejoice in where I've been, be happy for everyone who succeeds (even when they're doing the gig I wish I could be doing), build new friendships, buy clothes that fit no matter what the tag says because cellulite can be beautiful. And I step away from the blogs alot. Which is hard. Just sayin'.

    Fave quote of my year thus far:
    "From the very beginning you are told to compare yourself with others. This is the greatest disease; it is like a cancer that goes on destroying your very soul because each individual is unique, and comparison is not possible." -Osho

    So yeah, live small or live big or live smallish-big/biggish-small. But live and cherish the breath you breath. Only look up from your spot on the totem pole every now and then, and then come to your senses and realize there is no darn totem pole.

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    1. Oh man, I love this. You're funny. :) And that quote is the KNEES!

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    3. "no matter where we fall on the totem pole, we always notice who's butt we're looking up to."

      laughing! one of my fav comments ever~

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  41. An older woman just told me, "Right now it seems small. But when you look back, all of this small stuff is going to make sense in the big picture He is working in you - and you will marvel."

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  42. know this...it is evident that you are reaching many with your humble words, making an impact for the kingdom in your own way, anointed by His sovereignty. more, please!

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  43. i'm so thankful for YOU.
    just as you are.
    just as He wants you to be.
    this is really, REALLY wonderful.
    spoke to my ugly heart in all sorts of humbling ways.
    you are loved, sweetie.
    xoxo

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  44. I really appreciate hearing this. You speak God's truth and it has spoken to my heart. Thank you.

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  45. Thank you. You are the real deal.

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  46. I just read this post....THANK YOU!!! You have blessed me this morning!!! Terri

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  47. Long time reader, first time commenting ... :)
    You may never know the big impact you are having by keepin' it small. I've read your blog for years. You introduced me to the books of the Hatmakers (now, I stalk Jen, too). I first heard of the Ragamuffin Gospel right here, and have cried happy tears reading about your love for a big kid and your real life struggles with the little ones. And because of all of this, my life has changed. So, thank you for being vulnerable, open-minded, a lover of Christ, a follower of the Gospel.

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  48. Thank you so much for sharing your insights and thoughts! I'm in the middle of studying the life of Joseph---such an encouragement---he spent 12 years in an Egyptian jail, but God was working....and Joseph was not forgotten or unnoticed by God. God was working a bigger plan out.

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  49. You brought me to the world of blogging with your words and your style and you brought me to service with your Sacrilege and your way of living. I was drowning in a life of inward implosion and you pointed me to my now much too busy life... but it's better. You are big - so much so that I constantly compare my little life to your big love and service one. Oh the human condition.

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  50. Shannan, I too am a first time commenter, even though I have read and reread your blog for such a long time. My grown children feel like they know your three "littles" and the big ones too, from all the stories I share with them! I shared with my father my concerns when
    you all chose to move to the city and he reminded me of the protection God would cover yall with in striving to do His will. Never underestimate the good you are doing as you share with your readers as we all go through this journey together. Quite often, your words make me stop and reflect on what is really important in life and I look forward to each new post. Blessings to you and yours, my friend! April

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  51. i need you to know how big you are even when you feel little. your kindness and the ways you give without asking make a difference. your words are far reaching, and they are a gift. not just to you, but others. your words have encouraged and stretched me to have a bigger belief, a bigger faith. your words have made me question and argue and struggle. i wrote about missionary of missionaries. you are that to me. you are using your "tiny" to make "big" things happen. right where you are. you are the real deal, like so many have pointed out. you are never going to get an invitation to be who you are. but you don't need one anyway. your invitation wouldn't look like theirs, or mine. you do have have the permission to use your gift every day. even in your "failure" God is working through and around you. in his way. you show up, shan. you GO, girl, and you don't stop. xo

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  52. Thank you for writing what so many need to hear, including me. When the world says stand tall, get bigger, the Spirit whispers, get low, be quiet and still. This was a great reminder to cheer others on in their journeys but not to get caught comparing. I love your space and your words and your openness.
    Bethany

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  53. "They are walking the path laid out for them" That's it right there. We each have been uniquely designed to walk our own path. The key is sticking to our own path with our eyes fixed on JESUS instead of fixed on someone else's path we wish we could walk on.

    We readers will learn and grow as you learn and grow. And growing pains are just part of the process : )

    Keep writing because you're making more of a difference than you'll probably ever fully know.

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  54. Writing was my friend. Journaling allowed me to breathe. Writing letters and notes to God provides an avenue to praise and to the touchstone of anger. I wrote a blog during cancer. I began reading others blogs. I lost my nerve. So many amazing, gifted writers. My personal life became so overwhelming, too much sadness, too much anger. No one, including myself, could withstand that season of lament. In a world of incredible pain and indescribable moments of unspeakable, miraculous joy - this season in the dark would not be of benefit to anyone...I said to no one.
    I love your words, your gift, your 'ordinary, extraordinary self'. I'm a lurker and have been for a long time. Write on...

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  55. I love you. Please don't ever "shut it down". Where would all your followers go to feel the Braveness that you encourage us to everyday?...you know that "regular ol' vulnerable, earth moving, soul shaking Brave. Brave in Christ. Brave in purpose. Brave, like who the heck cares if no one gets me." A lot of us have a long way to go--we need you! : )

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    1. Amen to Bean's words! and your words straight from your heart, straight from God..so pure, so honest, so truth fleshed out that we all need to hear! We love you...and don't stop and I believe you have many who would read your book ! May God continue you filling you so that you will be poured out for HIm!

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  56. Sometimes, I have no idea what you are talking about. Sometimes, I have no idea what you are trying to accomplish with this life you are living. Sometimes, I have no idea why. All I know is that I am not following the bigger and the better. Every day I seek out this place and I try to let it sink in. I get the sense that if I am really and truly lucky, someday I will catch up.

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  57. A relatively new follower here, chiming in to say: Your words do matter. I (and many others) needed this reminder today. And isn't that what it really is? We tell our story, and in the telling remind others that they are not alone, that we all have these things in common, and God loves us in all our mess and glory. Good stuff. Thank you. PS - I would totally read your book.

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  58. This spoke to my heart...thank you:) Bigger is not always better...and I AM ENOUGH!!

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  59. Big or small you are touching hearts and making a difference...

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  60. thank you for this! i have been mulling over very similar thoughts recently. what do i write to make much of God that doesn't make much of me? i am often wordless at this moment, but i'm encouraged by this that my simple honesty in all things might be enough. thank you!

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  61. When Dave and I decided to make our two teams one - I moved into the 1100 sq foot house he had built nearly 16 years prior. When you combine two established households into 1100 sq ft, there is some serious editing done! I love our space - there is a board hanging in the living room that says "Love Grows Best in Tiny Houses". I love that we are free to have 'more' in life because we aren't bound to taking care of and accumulating 'things'. And I can guarantee you, when I'm on my knees handmopping behind the toilet,I thank God there is only one bathroom! I love your words, I love your inspiration, I love that I have someone to share our prison experience with - that's a tough road that is hard to share. Thank you for blessing us all with your thoughts and words, your photos and your recipes, and most of all, your faith!

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  62. I've wanted to comment so many times but just haven't because..well, I suppose I'm a bit bashful. :) But I wanted to tell you today how blessed I am by what you write here. I've been reading blogs for about five years now, and I can honestly say that no other blog has challenged my thinking, changed my heart, inspired me, resonated with me, or impacted me as much as yours has. I really mean it - I am so incredibly grateful for all of the words you put here.

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  63. Well said, as always. Your words continue to inspire me time and time again. Don't stop.

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  64. Well said, as always. Your words continue to inspire me time and time again. Don't stop.

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  65. You're one of my favorite blogs, especially now that I've recently welcomed God back into my life.

    Your words grabbed my heart today. Thank you.

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  67. I just found you by searching for "Dave Ramsey criticisms". A similar post is bubbling up in me. Drives me crazy how selectively he reads and interprets Proverbs, while ignoring verses like the one's you highlighted. But I digress. Beautiful blog. And this post was excellent. But looking at the names of nearly every commenter, I have to ask, is your blog co-ed? :)

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  68. Kingdom work sometimes feels mighty redeundant and trivial. Then again, He has never been one to use the 'powerful', right? I adore you sister, and I will by the book NOW if you want to run to staples and photocopy it.

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  69. I really liked this Shannan. I am learning to love being small, even if it's in my big house with my Great Dane of a dog. heheh. But then again, no matter what you say, there's never a time where small is better in relation to dogs.

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  70. This post was like a big bowl of chocolate ice cream with extra extra sauce. I am still savoring it. It makes so much sense.

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  71. love this! so needed to hear the words as i'm trying to figure out what i'm all about in this new stage as a mother, potential serious blogger, etc. thank you for reminding me that it's ok and enough to just be in Him!

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  72. You certainly haven't failed and you're living quite large. You've figured out what most people never do. Your not only kind hearted your wise. Even when we know that we're doing is right there's still those moments of doubt.

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  73. I don't know much about blogs and I don't read too many of them, but I have gleaned so much from reading your blog. I am very thankful for your words and your messages that ring so loud and clear. Thank you for just being you!

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  74. Shut it all down?

    *lalalala I can't hear you, I can't hear you lalalala*

    Small is the new big. You are the real deal & I can't wait to be able to say I "knew" her when. Don't weary in doing well, FPFG. You make a big difference in me.

    xoxo

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  75. Shannan,
    You are honest, and passionate, and busy, and challenging, and full of love. Keep it up! I am a faithful reader and you continue to challenge me.

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  77. You bring Christ to life here in a way I have not found anywhere else. Plus your writing brings me back everyday. You make me laugh and you feel like a friend.

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  78. Shannon, you are not "small" in my eyes. I appreciate your encouragement and heart very much. Thank you for challenging me and lifting my spirits. You rock!

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  79. If it makes you feel better, you are waaaaay ahead of me:-) You know, many who write blogs and become blog celebrities miss out on a lot? Would I be one of them? Well...yeah:-) The money would be heavenly. But that's not me...that's the good thing about over 50...you have this SO WHAT? thing going on, I'm satisfied as is, if more comes along...that's good too. I love to write my blog, I have maybe 2 readers...those few followers I have just stopped by and took pity. I'm doing good to have more than 2 comments on any post. Just as I make my art for me, I write my blog for me. Sure I share it on Facebook, but the same Aunt likes it every time. Your blog makes me smile. I found it through my friend Pam at HOH...never laid eyes on her in person, but I'm crazy about her. That's what makes blogging so great...the few people that you find and make your true friends. I loved your post...honest and pleasing to the Lord. Doesn't get any better. Best, Vicki

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  80. I couldnt love you or this post more :-) Also, sometimes I think of you as my famous friend. It's true.

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  81. I so appreciate your authenticity. I'm not a big blog responder-this may be the first. Not even sure if I know how to post. Just want to say that I am encouraged and blessed by your words and heart for Christ and others. I so enjoy reading your posts and always feel challenged. Thanks for sharing your heart like you do.

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  82. You bring so much love, life and honesty into this blogging world and I savor every single post you write. I feel God moving in me right now and am constantly inspired by your faithfulness.

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  83. i think you rock and I love reading your blog! I've mentioned this before, but you inspire me to be a better person, a better. Christian woman and wife and mother. Thank you for all that you do and for changing my life.

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  84. Let me just say, if I had to narrow down my loooong list yours would be at the top, most of the ones with the ads that fill the sidebar, and have you seen the new ones that pop up in the space you are trying to read?! Makes me want to figure out once again how to take more off my list, I followed the step by step directions how to un follow once, maybe I would understand domain too?

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  85. thank you, thank you, thank you for this post.

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  86. learning to be okay with the small? yeah, me too.

    i first loved you cause you were from ohio {cincinnati girl here}. now i love you for your heart..

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  87. I just found yr blog recently. I have read MANY popular Christian blogs. The funny, the though provoking, the ones that say what I'm thinking but say it way better than I could have...and I find that as soon as they get popular, they LOSE something... The something that made the rawness REAL... The ability to say something wo fear of now becoming... Unpopular. And I find myself moving on from those blogs. Well except Ann! But with your blog, it's the first one I have read in a while that doesn't TRY to b popular. Isn't trying to b Nything other than simple. And funny. And especially makes a very different path seem doable. So THANKYOU fr NOT being like one of them. THANKYOU fr being real and raw.

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  88. I just found yr blog recently. I have read MANY popular Christian blogs. The funny, the though provoking, the ones that say what I'm thinking but say it way better than I could have...and I find that as soon as they get popular, they LOSE something... The something that made the rawness REAL... The ability to say something wo fear of now becoming... Unpopular. And I find myself moving on from those blogs. Well except Ann! But with your blog, it's the first one I have read in a while that doesn't TRY to b popular. Isn't trying to b Nything other than simple. And funny. And especially makes a very different path seem doable. So THANKYOU fr NOT being like one of them. THANKYOU fr being real and raw.

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  89. You are astonishing. You always make me want to be a better person and much much much better Christian. Thanks for that :) xo

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  90. Great post, Shannan. I think it helps to remember that we are striving for an eternal reward. Some folks will have their reward here on earth, because they've put their personal desires and ambitions ahead of everything else, including their own families in some cases.

    As I read Matthew 25 today, I was reminded all over again who will make up the Kingdom of Heaven: Starting at verse 34, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
    37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
    40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’"

    That doesn't mean you can't have the desires of your heart, but God's timing is perfect. I believe doors stay closed to us for a reason. That doesn't mean they will always be closed. In the meantime, keep doing what you're doing and know that lives can be changed for the better, just by reading a blog. And that's no small thing.

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  91. Simply ~~~~~ Amen. blessings~barb

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  92. Thank you for speaking what I've been thinking. Everything around me, even church, says we are supposed to do "big" things. Be big, have big. But I feel in my spirit the other way. Live simple, give more, be happy with what I have and can already do. And in the midst of it all I'm trying to find what it is I'm supposed to be doing with what God has given me. And right now, all I know is to homeschool my baby, and to be a really good friend. (I even re-vamped my blog, but I'm still not sure which way it's headed...)

    Keep writing. :) You're awesome and way cool, and totally inspiring!

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  93. The most beautiful thing I read on the Internets in a long time. This is holy ground here. I'm taking off my sneaks as I read this again and again, "But sometimes, His calling is big in a really quiet way. Sometimes - often - the Bigness happens shyly, inside us, when we finally agree to unclench our fists from the allure of standing just a little taller than the rest."

    Reverently, Amen
    LJ

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  94. I ran across your blog, maybe by accident or maybe by a Grander design. I love that your words "His calling big in a really quiet way". God uses the weak to lead the strong. The smallest of platforms will reach the most people. Maybe you don't have a book deal. But your words may be the stepping stone someone needs to go on to do bigger things in His name. And really, all that matters is that He is aware of that. I am sure that you are a beautifully grounded Christian woman and while I am sure that my comment will not have much impact on your life, please know that your words - have had a large impact on mine.

    I believe this happens more often than not (God changing the hearts in a quiet, but large way) and I pray that more people would realize this after reading your blog. I purposely scrolled past all of the comments, because your words, had such a lovely impact on me. And I thank God they did. When I think about God's plans for me, those that He has chosen to reveal, they completely astound me and sometimes even take my breath away. Because as you say, my past experiences have taught me that if nothing, I don't have a clue about what is always best for me in my life. I am slowly unclenching my fist and what a beautiful and scarey experience can be. I look forward to more of your posts. I will pray to God that if He wants your book to be published, that He lights the fire within you to get it done.

    May God Bless your life and every word.
    Melissa

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  95. This.

    Not about the blogging part. (I mean yes, same, but I figure God hasn't blessed my blog. He could. He hasn't. And, I'm okay with that b/c it tells me that isn't what I'm supposed to be focusing on. Same with the 2 etsy shops I closed. So I'm oaky with it. Not that you aren't. Gosh I'm gonna stop writing this paragraph now. LOL)

    But, I needed what you wrote for a completely different personal reason.
    Your words spoke truth.
    And, I think you.

    ~ Blessings,
    Dana

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  96. This is fantastic! Thank you for sharing. jana

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  97. Yes and yes and thank you. I needed your words so much tonight. XO

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