Have you ever been confused? I must say that I find myself in this position every oncein a while - ok, ok - maybe more often than I would like to admit! Just part of being a blonde......or at least I grew up blonde. ha
There is a fine line in so many things in life. There is a fine line in being in ministry and doing ministry. Being in ministry, to me, means having an ocupation. Kind of like a doctor would say that he/she is in medicine. Something that you can almost turn on and off.
But doing ministry takes on a whole different meaning to me, but at the same time can and has been blurred in my life. Doing ministry is just going about the every day life and being Jesus to those you meet here and there along the way of doing life.
When I first started out in full-time ministry about 12 or so years ago there was very little social media. I was with Proverbs 31 Ministries out of Charlotte, NC and we worked our fingers to the bone doing all we could to get the word out about the ministry and us as individual speakers through email and a website. It was hard work and something I enjoyed immensely...answering emails and getting bookings.
As time went on I developed a close relationship with some college girls I discipled that were blogging. They also talked about Myspace and another weird thing called Facebook, but that was only for those in college. ha! So after a tad bit of prodding Idid it, I began to blog.
Blogging opened up such a neat outlet for me and was very effective in allowing not only my friends and family to see what was going on in my walk with Christ, but allowed strangers, maybe 2 or 3, to engage as well. I loved it and it was such a natural fit for me as I had already been a journaler since 5th grade. It was simple - I didn't even know how to upload pictures for a long time - and it was all about ministry.
Fast forward about 10 or so years...Facebook, Twitter, Path, Linkin, Vine, Tumbler, Foursquare, Instagram, it goes on and on and on!!!!!! These are now ways of engaging with people just as the blog used to do a number of years ago, but in microseconds unlike blogging.
The problem for me is that I got eveything so confused. I was extremely active on almost anything social media outlet that I could connect with. My blogging went by the way side and this incredible need to be validated and 'patted' consumed me. I felt like I had to share every detail of my life. Not only were people asking and commenting lots of questions, I developed this unrealistice obligation that I had a responsibility to share everything - not just my walk with Christ, but all the details of my life and every thought that came into my head. SCARY!!!
2 weeks ago as I sat in a purity conference for my girls I heard the Lord so gently repond to my question, "Lord, is there anything impure in my life that is coming between you and I?" It was so obvious as if the Lord had been waiting for the very moment that I would pose that question,
"Yes, Leigh, I think you know exactly what it is. Anything that your mind goes to or thinks about or responds to more often than thoughts about Me - that is coming between you and I. Leigh, do you know what I AM talking about? Leigh, do understand what I Am asking?"
Without hesitation I knew - it was the excessive social media. It was then that I took a good week to think and pray what He wanted that to look like for my life. I sought counsel from 2 super honest friends, my husband, and my ministry agent.
Over and over I heard the common theme come from the 4 of them - you have blurred the lines. You have to separate the 2. What used to be being in ministry has now become doing ministry. For some that may be great and easy to maintain and juggle, but for me it is not. 12K on Twitter, 26K on FB, hunderds in many other social places - I felt like they all had to be like close friends to me and ones that I had to try to keep up with - like I might someone I see nearly everyday exercising, a neighbor, or a lunch buddy.
Because it is impossible to do all that, maintain all that....I found myself tweeting constantly, FB too much, and all the other stuff to stay in touch! I am a people pleaser to the extreme and even if you are half way around the wrong I feel an obligation to be in touch as if we are next door regardless of whether you returned the favor or not.
I also had this strange sense of responsibility a church or organization would not want to hire me professionally if they didn't know me personally. Another thing I struggled with was making sure everyone knew how God was into every detail of my life.....
Nothing was a fascade. Nothing was not me. It was all very authentic and real and too honest at times, but just too much!!! Too much pressure. Too much influence on my kids to do the same. (This is one of the most terrible consequences of this whole debacle.) Too much!!!
So I tell you all this to let you know of some basic changes in my heart and in my actions. My 'Leigh Gray' page on FB will just be used for ministry. I will post encouraging things, etc and let you know of events coming up, but I will no longer be asking detailed questions or displaying personal things. I will use twitter for the same thing. Rare occasions I will make a break from the ministry aspect, but hopefully for like fun stuff like the Olympics...like we did so much last year. What fun!
I always want to pray for you - please ask for prayer at any time! Im still here, but just am dropping the obligation to post every detail - Im not really sure yall care anyway even though you are so kind in your comments and 'likes'.
God has clearly allowed me to stay on Instagram and connect that way with personal/professional things.
Hopefully I will be better at blogging and getting back to the basics, a simpler time, a time with more freedom, a time with more focus of HIM!!!!!!!!!