Staying in the Sweet Spot

I have a confession to make.

I went to Allume hoping to hear a particular message, hoping that all the sessions I attended and conversations I had would whisper the same theme and that it would be very apparent that God was speaking to me.

The message I wanted to hear? That it was time to quit.

It’s just plain hard work balancing an online presence with an in-real life presence.

I was getting a bit weary of the struggle and had a whole list of reasons why I should and could quit…

  • My kids were getting older—beyond nap stage, into the schooling years, and needed more of Mommy, more of the time.
  • Many of the relationships that I’d formed online had matured into an in real life community, and I no longer needed my virtual community to help me from feeling isolated.
  • And finally, I couldn’t seem to just write and blog without getting sucked into the addictive and pseudo-productive realm of social media.

Deep down it was that last one that was the kicker. That’s my biggest struggle online—trying to maintain any level of social media presence without slipping down that slippery slope to mindless trolling of fb and twitter feeds and wasting yet another hour I could have spent reading, writing, or connecting with IRL relationships.

So, being the extreme, black and white, knee-jerk kind of person I am, I wanted to just quit it all. BUT, in the last year, due to the gentle insight of my friends, (particularly Gretchen and Septemberthank you!) I have become aware of my tendency to make extreme, knee jerk decisions, and, in some ways, am learning to temper that tendancy. So, I waited to take the leap till after Allume, planning to go to all the sessions and talk to all the people I thought would best support my escape plan.

Funny thing was, even though I keyed into Sally’s session (because she always reminds me that my family should be first), and hung out with Laura Booz (who quit her blog last year just as I was imagining doing), and related oh-so-well to Sarah Mae’s story of having her heart turned toward her children above other  dreams…

The Lord didn’t tell me to quit.

See, I wanted to make a rule– “No more blogging.”–figuring that would be the solution to my little problem sin. But God, see, He doesn’t want to force us onto the right path with a bunch of fences, He wants us to be guided by His voice.

He didn’t give Abraham a map, He gave him a relationship.
–Ann Voskamp

The clearest message I received at Allume came from Ann Voskamp the final evening, when she talked about staying where we can hear the Father’s voice.

She shared the story of her daughter, Hope, asking her daddy to build a fence so she felt protected from the danger of the nearby pond. The Farmer replied that she didn’t need a fence if she would simply choose to stay where she could hear his voice.

Oh, sisters! Such a thrill went through me when I realized application this story had to my life!

And in the hours, days, and now weeks since God spoke to me through Ann’s words, He’s been trying to get me to believe that He really does care—and have a solution—for even the smallest of details and problems I face.

  • That He is there, with a guiding whisper, if I will hear it, when my fingers stray to play in a virtual world when my heart needs to be focused in the life to be lived outside of the computer.
  • He is there, with encouraging whispers, if I will hear, when I feel insecure and inadequate about the words He calls me to write.
  • He is there, with whispered wisdom, if I will listen, when I sit down to write and can’t find the words.

And ever since I committed to listen to the whispers, His voice has been growing louder and clearer, till I’d have to be deaf not to hear. And His words to me for this blog? To continue to write, continue to meet with you here for another season, and continue to find that sweet spot, that place of rest He has in store for those who let His whispers guide their every move and decision.

Not only has He called me to continue to meet you here, but He has also told me it is time to write-gulp!- another book…which I hope I have the guts to tell you about tomorrow!

Has He been whispering to you lately? Have you ever taken a step of faith to obey a whisper, and suddenly His voice was louder than ever? What has He said to you this month?

18 responses to “Staying in the Sweet Spot”

  1. Elisabeth Allen Avatar

    Oh, Trina, I know the “please let me stop blogging” feeling. Thank you so much for sharing what God is showing you about blogging and such in this season of your life. I’m encouraged! 🙂

    1. Trina Avatar

      And YOU always encourage me, Elisabeth, with your sweet comments!

  2. Jess Avatar

    The first thing that went through my mind, was that if God gave us hard and fast rules we would have no reason to seek Him, to listen for His voice, we would be on autopilot and what good would that be. What a blessing God has given you in your not only hearing Him, but listening to Him.

  3. Janel Avatar

    Thanks Trina. I have struggled with this for the last several years. It really is as Ann says: a relationship, not a map. Good stuff. Thanks for the encouragement. 🙂

  4. Amanda Medlin Avatar

    I love your honesty and your obedience even though it seems opposite of what one my think God would have asked of you.

  5. Shannon Coe Avatar

    This is so beautifully fitting for me to read right now. Not one thing concerning my schedule has remained the same since I returned from Allume. I have had to trust that when I am able to be online is the time, place, and presence that is suppose to be. I cannot fret at what I am missing, but see and know that God has allowed me to be here when I can, see and read what I can, and that is either/mostly for my benefit or to be a blessing to someone. His voice is beautiful, isn’t it?

  6. Lisa Avatar

    I have spent so much time lately trying to think of ways to take charge of my own computer time – a how to have a better daily schedule. There are so many interesting things out there -but there is not time for it all. At least not in this season of my life. I want to spend my time wisely. It is such a struggle at times. Like you confessed – it is really just plain sin to squander time on the computer. I’ve been asking God for direction and better keep that up. Because like you, I do not feel He is telling me to quit writing. He is saying to finish my book and keep blogging. But I simply must find better balance! Thinking now of the author you quoted from who said his writing time is time that no one else wants. Anyway, I am rambling – I hope this makes some sense. Thank you for this post! It’s nice not to be alone!

  7. Alana @ The Bliss Diaries Avatar

    Sounds like you’re a lot like me in that we like the “black and white” answers. Either all in or all out. But sometimes, God calls us to hang in the balance. In the tension…

    Glad to hear that God has called you to stick around for a while. Looking forward to all that He still has to say through you.


    1. Trina Avatar

      Ahh, Tension…that’s a word a tend to resent, but beautiful things (like violin music and suspension bridges) require tension, don’t they? Thank you for your words, Alana!

  8. Lisa Avatar

    Love your recap and the reminders I need to hear, too!

  9. Pumpkin, Pie, Painter Avatar

    Oh, this is so perfect. Glad I stopped in to read. I have been going through the very same struggle, imagining how freeing it would be to just quit it all but begging God to show me what He wants for me to do, how He wants me to face the future days, how I can be a help to my husband, THERE for my children, but reaching out to what He wants me to do with the talents He has given. Thank you for sharing this. I hope someday I can make it to Allume…it sounds so uplifting!

  10. Jennifer Peterson Avatar

    So glad you haven’t stopped writing!!! And I hope the next book is a cookbook:) made your vanilla ice cream today and my girls said it was the best they have ever had!!

    1. Trina Avatar

      Oh, my land. You made icecream and didn’t invite me? LOL I’m so glad you like the recipe. I think I’m gonna have to make some, now that you’ve mentioned it…

  11. KalynBrooke Avatar

    This is so encouraging! Its easy to have that all or nothing mentality – first hand experience right here! But you CAN find that sweet spot….it just takes some time.

  12. September Avatar

    This is beautiful. A gift. It is when the whispers become so audible, they are quite loud and clear, that posts come from this.
    Amen my friend! Hugs. 🙂

    1. Trina Avatar

      September, your words have kept me from more knee-jerk reactions in the last year than I care to admit! So grateful for your friendship and your book!

  13. Jesenia Avatar

    Glad to hear this! Just met you at your Allume session, so I’m new reader. God bless you and all that he places in your hands!

    1. Trina Avatar

      Thank you for your prayers, Jesenia! (I remember meeting you! Thanks for visiting me here!)

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