The Whiny Pants Post

“Mommy, are you famous?” he asks, as I butter a bagel still hot from the toaster oven.

I laugh a little bit. “No honey, I’m definitely not famous.”

“Well, are you famous in Lincoln then?” he asks.
“Nope, not in Lincoln.”

“What about in our church; are you famous in our church?”
“Honey,” I stop buttering and turn around to look Noah straight in the eye, “I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I’m not famous anywhere.”

He looks disappointed.
“Really, though, I don’t care much about being famous,” I add. “I’m happy just to write for a few people, knowing that God is glad that I write about him.”

I felt pretty good after that conversation, confident that I’d helped my son understand that there are qualities more important than fame to pursue in life.
Except for one problem...

Turns out that story I gave Noah about fame was a bunch of bull-oney.
I didn’t lie intentionally. In fact, at the time I really did believe that a desire for fame played no part in my writing. In fact I didn’t even know it was baloney until a couple of weeks after that conversation, when “the lists” were published.

It started with Kent Shaffer’s list of Top 200 Church Blogs, followed by his list of Top Christian Women Bloggers, which he published largely in response to the question of why so few female bloggers are included in the original list [a disclaimer here: I was sort-of included on that list, as a contributing writer for The High Calling].
Then, as a response to Shaffer's lists, Sarah Bessey published her own list of 50 Church and Faith Lady-Bloggers, based on the following criteria:
"Lady Bloggers that love Jesus, make beautiful art, challenge the Church, and wrestle with theology and generally influence the Church far and wide - with or without a power ranking badge on their website."

And then, as a response to that list, Diana Trautwein published a list of 21 Church and Faith Lady-Bloggers over 50 (with an additional five bloggers close to age 50) at Sarah’s place, noting that this group is even more marginalized in the world of Christian blogging.
So (if you're still with me) here’s the ugly part:

I scrolled through all the lists with the sole purpose of seeing who was included and whether or not I made the cut. 
I know, I know. It’s gross. Even admitting this gives me the hives. But it’s the truth. Worse, I scrolled through all the comments, too, to see if anyone mentioned me there. And then, to top it all off, I berated myself for not being gracious like the bloggers who weren’t included on the lists but posted encouraging, cheerful comments anyway.

I tried to climb onto my holy soapbox by telling myself that I blog for God alone, but the pit that persisted in my gut told me that’s not the whole truth. Yes, I write for God. I write because it helps me glimpse God and live out my faith in the everyday. I write for community. I write because I love to write and because I love to tell stories.
But I know something else now: I write for fame, too. I want to be included. I want to be noted and noticed.
Despite the hivey horror of this admission, two positive results have come of this:

  1. I realized I’m guilty of the same thing around here. As of 9 p.m. yesterday, Graceful included a blogroll over in the right column. I called it “Great Reads." So how did I decide who was included and who wasn't? How did I decide who qualified as a “great read” and who didn’t? Yesterday I wondered if I ever hurt a fellow writer who didn’t see himself or herself included in my “Great Reads” list. I don’t know for sure. But I’m guessing probably yes.
  2. I realized I need to pray about this. Seriously. I need to ask God for assistance on this one, to help me focus my writing on him and him alone and to let the comparisons with other writers go, once and for all.
I’m not famous. But I know now that at least a part of me wants to be. And I suspect I seek fame for all the wrong reasons.

What about you? Do you ever crave fame?

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Amy @ themessymiddle  – (April 25, 2012 at 3:46 AM)  

All I can ashamedly say, as I hang my head, is me too. Me too. I want so much to be used and by used I think I mean noticed. I'll join you in #2! I write about relearning the language of Eden (a post will go up tomorrow) and boy do I have a long way to go! Thankfully, God is not surprised by this and is helping me admit it out loud more. Amy

Southern Gal  – (April 25, 2012 at 5:59 AM)  

Your words ring true in my life.  Not about writing, but other things that are important to me.  I struggle with wanting attention, recognition, to be liked.  Then I read of Jesus and I hang my head in shame.  

Megan Willome  – (April 25, 2012 at 6:39 AM)  

I love you, Michelle. You are on my personal blogroll, the one no one sees, but is a list of bookmarks on my computer. 

Harriett –   – (April 25, 2012 at 6:46 AM)  

*runs and hides*


I try not to.


I want not to.

*less fib*

I have. Mm-hmm.


Love you for this raw  honesty.

Huzza! Huzza!

*waves victory flag*

Hugs, my friend. Hugs.

Heidi... –   – (April 25, 2012 at 6:47 AM)  

Wow... this is good.  Know that you are not alone!

Christie Purifoy  – (April 25, 2012 at 7:07 AM)  

I appreciate your vulnerability, Michelle, and I can relate. I wonder if there's a writer in the world who couldn't relate? I also appreciate that you're willing to push through the hurt toward prayer. My prayer is that God will carry your stories to every heart who needs them (in other words, far and wide!).

Lyla Lindquist  – (April 25, 2012 at 8:11 AM)  

Some days, Michelle, I think you get called to the task of not just being honest for yourself, but honest for the rest of us too. When you peel back the truth of your heart, you seem to open the rest of us up too.

Thank you for that. (I think. ;-) ) Seriously. 

dukeslee  – (April 25, 2012 at 8:14 AM)  

Holy crap. <-------- That's becoming a habit here.

I absolutely love your honesty. Is there a list for Top 10 Christian Bloggers Who are Really Real? You'd top it, sister.

By the way, I wasn't on any lists either. :) ... I've never been on a list. A lot of folks who put together these lists actually never even really look my way. Or maybe they looked my way and ran as quickly as possible in the opposite direction! I think there are a lot of great bloggers out there, and these lists (while they do include phenomenal communicators) simply cannot include them all. 

Which you knew, but I just thought I'd add my two cents. Oh, wait. I have two more cents here in my pocket:

Because here's the deal. I know that the lives of regular, ordinary folks are touched by the words we put in these places, Michelle. They are oftentimes people who aren't computer savvy, can't figure out how to work the comment box, and don't give two hoots about a list.  There are broken people out there, and they don't care if we're famous. They just care that we care. 

And you care. It shows. Your words matter to God. And they matter to people. 

Keep up the God Work, sister.

That's all. I have no more cents, or sense.

Ann Kroeker  – (April 25, 2012 at 8:18 AM)  

I think we each have to wrestle with it, and even when we reach a comfortable place that seems right and true, we'll probably have to wrestle with it again when our career takes a turn, whether an upturn or downturn.

Kirstin Cronn-Mills –   – (April 25, 2012 at 8:18 AM)  

As a writer, I totally understand your feelings.  We have lists & rankings in my writing world, too (and awards--gah!  Crazy-making.), and I haven't made them.  But I think there's a huge difference between wanting to be "famous," and wanting to be recognized and appreciated by your community.  To my mind, it's OK to want to be recognized and appreciated--it's a human need, especially for things we're doing with our hearts (blogging, writing, etc.).  Maybe that's also what you're feeling.

But please also remember that someone (a person, an organization, an awards committee, whomever) is still just one entity with one set of opinions and criteria.  : )  Maybe they're important someones, but they don't get to decide the ultimate value of your work.

Just my thoughts . . . thanks for your honesty, as always!  Love your blog.

lifeastwo –   – (April 25, 2012 at 8:22 AM)  

Ever craved fame?
No. Never. Definitely. Not.

(Totally lying? Why yes! Yes I am.)

Inclusion is a real sore spot for this introvert. And sometimes inclusion is found in public validation. It's when I forget that community is far more than a list that I get into deep, deep trouble.

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 25, 2012 at 8:26 AM)  

Oh yes, yes, Thelma - "Community is far more than a list." Thank you for that, girl.

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 25, 2012 at 8:32 AM)  

I love all your cents, Jennifer.

I admit, this whole list thing was really, really hard for me. I came away from it thinking, "Maybe I should be an edgier writer. Maybe I should be more controversial. Maybe I need to be more poetic or lyrical..." and on and on.

I know the whole thing is entirely subjective. Like you said, while the lists do include phenomenal communicators (and I do read A LOT of the bloggers included on the lists), they simply cannot include them all.

Thanks for being real in your comment here. Love you!

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 25, 2012 at 8:34 AM)  

I wrestled with this post for several days. I didn't really *want* to write it, because it smacked of whining and immaturity. But it kept nagging me, so I just did it. I do feel a little sheepish about it. But hey, this is the yucky, gritty, insecure me, so I'm going with it.

Thanks for chiming in, Lyla.

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 25, 2012 at 8:35 AM)  

I think you're totally right, Ann - it ebbs and flows. Some days I'm good with it - just writing for God, writing for my little community and for my family. And then other days...not so good.

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 25, 2012 at 8:39 AM)  

A really good distinction you make here, Kirstin. There is a difference between wanting to be famous and simply wanting to be acknowledged. But I do have to ask myself, "Why do I write publicly?" Because I could certainly journal and keep it all between me and God. There is something in me that wants my words to impact a broader audience, and it's hard to separate/differentiate that from desiring fame.

Thank YOU, for your insightful comment here - I always appreciate your writerly insights!

Amanda –   – (April 25, 2012 at 8:39 AM)  

Such honesty!  Love it. We are all there with you.  Long ago in 2005, I was on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, which was a totally cheesy reality show where we all took breaks from our real lives to see what fleeting fame looks like in the big city.  It's so fickle and silly, that fame.  Like the crowds that praised Jesus on Palm Sunday and then turned against him soon after.  They can turn on a dime.  Here was my letter to the great Martha after:

Here today, gone tomorrow.  Who cares about the lists?  But thanks for writing what we all feel.  My preaching is coming from a girl who is waiting with baited breath to hear back from yet another round of literary agents on her novel, only to probably get rejected.  And then pout and wonder why I can't be on that ethereal list of authors out there in the world. So yeah, I so get it.  There's always a list out there somewhere.  Amanda 

dukeslee  – (April 25, 2012 at 8:53 AM)  

I keep coming back to this post. (Third time this morning.) Also, I took my blog roll down today. I can't keep up with my growing list of favorites, so I decided to take it down entirely. 

Sarah Bessey  – (April 25, 2012 at 8:55 AM)  

Michelle, let me go on record: YOU TOTALLY SHOULD HAVE BEEN ON MY LIST. My initial list was 200 bloggers but that felt too cumbersome and I just arbitrarily cut out a big swath. There were so many good strong female voices that I left off the list - like yourself, Carol Howard Merrit, a few others. That sucks. I know that's not the point of your beautiful confession above and I don't mean to overshadow that or take away from what God is showing you but there's a bit of truth for you. xo

Patricia W Hunter –   – (April 25, 2012 at 8:56 AM)  

I LOVE your honesty, Michelle. And you're certainly on MY list of great reads. That's why I'm here.  

And remember that list of finalists for the Women of Faith writing contest?  I don't know for sure, but I suspect most of the bloggers on the lists you linked to above didn't made THAT awesome list.  

But I hear what you are saying here. 

Asking if I ever crave fame is like asking if I ever sin. The answer's obviously the same. The strange thing about that is that I'm an introvert who hates to be the center of attention. Let me stand behind my camera or hold up the wall and I won't crumble, but make everyone look at me and I'd just as soon die.All of us who seek fame do it for "all the wrong reasons." Some of us truly want the attention. Others, like me, want to be loved...and validated.  So when something happens that brings that "craving" to the surface for me, I have to ask myself why I'm looking for love and validation from "all the wrong places."  

So honored to be in your community, Michelle. xox

Sam Van Eman  – (April 25, 2012 at 8:57 AM)  

Right on, Michelle. It's this crazy mix of good and bad, isn't it? Like heaven and hell infused in our work. Jesus knew about wheat and tares and I think he knows that there's no such thing in this life as a weedless field. I'm glad you keep planting. 

Patricia W Hunter –   – (April 25, 2012 at 9:01 AM)  

I took down my blogroll quite some time ago for this very reason. It would kill me to hurt someone's feelings that way. 

Kelly Sauer  – (April 25, 2012 at 9:23 AM)  

Lady, I am glad to know you. I kinda want to cry now. This came at the exact moment I needed it. Thank you.

kdsullivan –   – (April 25, 2012 at 9:23 AM)  

Ouch!  I didn't go look at the lists...I KNEW that I wouldn't be on it.  I guess that assumption is gross on a whole different level...

JosephPote –   – (April 25, 2012 at 9:43 AM)  

Although I'm not sure whether or not I crave fame, I do know that I want to be noticed and respected.

I'm not sure that's quite the same thing, but is certainly similar.

Part of it is a sincere desire to do what I feel God is calling me to share the story of His love, grace and redemption with others.  For that to happen, someone has to actually read what I write, and reap some sort of benefit from my words.

Part of it is simply insecurity on my own part...a realization that the words I write reveal a part of who I am and how I view life, coupled with a desire for some sort of validation.  This part I don't like so much, but it is real. 

One good thing about keeps me reminded that I have not yet attained my goal to be wholly dependent on Christ alone and to seek only His affirmation.

And so I press on toward the goal!  :-)

Kirstin Cronn-Mills –   – (April 25, 2012 at 9:47 AM)  

It's quite hard to separate--but your word *does* reach a broader audience.  It may not be as broad as you hope (yet!), but you're still reaching people.  Look at this conversation this morning! : )  And, if we are doing our best to live in faith, we can (sometimes ; )) trust that Spirit knows our desire to reach others and will help us with that.

Harriett –   – (April 25, 2012 at 9:53 AM)  

I was so interested in this post that I came back to read comments.


Folks are taking their blog lists down/have taken their blog lists down?


As much as I admire that, I see a blog list in a different way.

{I'm not talking about your story, Michelle -- I'm speaking in general.}

My blog list is for me,  and I put them on my blog list for convenience as well as in case one  of my readers [all 13 of them]  want to check them out -- since those blogs may lead them to another blog... it in no way reflects all of the blogs I read -- it's just a taste. A sampling. A tapas.

Just like I can't list all the music or books I like -- I can't list all the blogs.


I have never thought of it as slighting someone or hurting someone's feelings. That -- never dawned on me.


Oh churl!

Should I follow suit?


Simply Darlene  – (April 25, 2012 at 10:01 AM)  

Well, it's been a long times since I've left words in your comment box... because I think to myself "she's got oodles of folks leaving notes, what good is one from me gonna do?" 

I reckon we all want to be heard 
and part of 
a herd.

I don't even know about these lists...

And in regard to blog rolls and such, I found THC through one of those; I found a gal who prayed me through my redemption in Christ as I threw myself at His feet; I found you that way. So, it's not all bad. I reckon it's mostly bad when our heart and soul don't mesh with humility, aye? Mine has been there in the Fame! trenches and it's mighty ugly, but uglier still is not seeing God when we look in the mirror.

(Dismounting. Signing off. Hasta-la-pasta-ing. Toodle-oo)


Michelle DeRusha  – (April 25, 2012 at 10:03 AM)  

Yup.  I was thinking about the whole blog roll issue even before the list thing. Honestly, it was there mostly for my own convenience, so I could hop over to the places I often visit with one click from my own site.

JosephPote –   – (April 25, 2012 at 10:03 AM)  

Yes, it is difficult to distinguish between wanting to impact a broader audience and desiring recognition...because developing a broader audience requires becoming recognized to some degree.

Yet, there is a difference.

Some days when I'm feeling doscouraged, I just have to say, "God, you know whose heart you have planned to speak to thru my words.  Please help those people find my site, and use my words to reflect Your glory in their hearts."

I appeciate you, Michelle!

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 25, 2012 at 10:05 AM)  

When I was first blogging I used to look at the blog rolls on other people's sites to see if my blog was listed there. It always gave me a little lift to see it...and when I didn't see it, I felt bad, especially if it was a blog I visited and commented on a lot. So yeah, I hear what you are saying, Patricia.

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 25, 2012 at 10:08 AM)  

No, no, no...don't follow suit! I totally hear you - I had my blog roll here mostly for my own convenience. I like the one click approach -- and sometimes (because I am old) I forget the name of a person's blog I want to visit...and that makes it really hard to visit! ;)

Also, it's very true: I check out lots of other blogs from people's blog rolls. It's a great way to discover new places and meet new people. It's just that because this is my own personal hang-up (fame, etc)., I think it's better that I move away from this model for now.

JosephPote –   – (April 25, 2012 at 10:12 AM)  

Hah!  I'm there with you, KD!  ;-)

JoAnn@Ostriches –   – (April 25, 2012 at 10:14 AM)  

I had the same problem. I was so jealous of another blogger that I actually got angry. Then a few days later I heard a voice tell me to stop blogging. I ignored it. Who hears voices? then I knew I needed to stop. SO I took a break...a possibly permanent break...and i didnt miss blogging at all!!!!
now  i feel like God has called me back, and I'm not very attached to my blog. It's something we all wrestle with. I think the internet is the devil. 

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 25, 2012 at 10:14 AM)  

Darlene, hello! Glad to see you in the conversation here.

I LOVE your point about blog rolls being a great way to find new people. When I was first blogging, that's exactly how I found A Holy Experience and The High Calling and tons of other places I visit regularly now. And even now, I often hop over to a new place I see listed in a blog roll - a title catches my eye, and I venture off to investigate.

I think you are exactly right that it gets ugly when "our heart and soul don't mesh with humility." It really is the issue of pride that I am writing about here - I'm grateful you have pointed that out so eloquently!

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 25, 2012 at 10:15 AM)  

Love how you refer to the blog roll as "tapas" - perfect metaphor!!

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 25, 2012 at 10:18 AM)  

Thanks for pointing out the distinction between fame and being noticed - I think there is a subtle but important difference. It's not like I want to be on the cover of the New Yorker as the Best Writer Ever (actually, that would be pretty cool). I just want a little acknowledge that my voice is heard among many.

But it's a slippery slope, isn't it? When does wanting to be acknowledged turn into pride?

I particularly like your last point, Joe: "it reminds me that I have not yet attained the goal to be wholly dependent on Christ alone and seek only His affirmation."

Yes. Exactly that. And I think that's why I realized I need to pray about this. Big-time!

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 25, 2012 at 10:20 AM)  

I hope it's a good "I want to cry" and not a bad "I want to cry." I'm glad to know you, too, girl.

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 25, 2012 at 10:21 AM)  

I'm so glad you brought Jesus into the conversation, Sam!

I wish I could remember the great quote C.S. Lewis had about weeds and fields. Something about plowing up the entire field and resowing...again and again and again.

kdsullivan –   – (April 25, 2012 at 10:23 AM)  

 You are kind, and I so appreciate your honesty here.  I think all of us can relate on some level...

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 25, 2012 at 10:23 AM)  

Oh, Patricia, you are so very wise. Thank you for your insightful comment. And yes, that's exactly what this experience has done for me - the positive is that it prompted me to ask, as you say here, why I am looking for love and validation in all the wrong places, especially when there is One who can give me everything I need?

Love you. And thank you. 

Shelly Miller  – (April 25, 2012 at 10:28 AM)  

Thank you for saying what we are all too afraid to say Michelle. And that list I was on as an honorary member of the over 50 group, I was undone by it. Not because I made the list but because I realized how much fear I have about aging and not wanting to be put in that slot of over 50. Now is that sick or what? I had to talk to God for a couple of days about that one. But really, when a list comes out, any kind that we aren't on it brings up all my school girl insecurities of not fitting in. It starts the minute we enter a classroom, this trying to measure up the worlds standards. I love seeing my blog listed on blogrolls but most of the people I am in constant community with, who frequently visit me and leave comments, don't subscribe to my blog or list it on their blogroll. So I decided to take mine off a couple of weeks ago, because I know how it makes me feel and I don't want anyone to feel that way. I read too many to list anyway. I thought about doing  a tab instead of side bar list because I do find it helpful personally, to find other blogs I haven't heard of before. Thanks for this Michelle, for your courage to be honest.

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 25, 2012 at 10:29 AM)  

Sarah, thank you so much for stopping by here and adding to the conversation. I want you to know that I thought long and hard about publishing this post, namely because I did not want to offend or hurt you and Diana. I truly know you had beautiful, honest and true intentions in publishing your lists. My thoughts here are much less about the lists themselves or the purpose in publishing them, and more about what my reaction to them said about my need for validation and the connection between my writing and God. I'm very grateful for the soul-searching this whole thing has prompted for me!

And thank you, too, for your kindness! 

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 25, 2012 at 10:32 AM)  

Ok, can I first just say wow that you were on The Apprentice with Martha Stewart! I got a little starry-eyed when I read that! ;)

You make such a good point, Amanda - there's always another list. It's a dog-eat-dog kind of world, which is why this has been a good, thought-provoking experience for me. Am I out here to eat other dogs, or to add my voice to a community -- all of us contributing to the higher calling of living out (and writing through) God's word?

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 25, 2012 at 10:32 AM)  

Thank you for your prayer, Christie.

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 25, 2012 at 10:34 AM)  

That's exactly what I did with my blogroll. I saved all the links as bookmarked favorites. Why didn't I think of that a long time ago????

Thanks, Megan. xxoo

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 25, 2012 at 10:34 AM)  

Oh my goodness you are so right, Renee - I see this manifested in SO many areas of my life. I'm with you...and praying for you.

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 25, 2012 at 10:36 AM)  

Thank God for grace. He's not surprised by any of our failings or shortcomings.

I'm intrigued by your post on relearning the language of Eden - I need to stop by tomorrow to read that one!

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 25, 2012 at 10:41 AM)  

Forgive me, Shelly, that I am laughing just a little bit...but only because your honest comment made me realize and feel better about the fact that we All have our hang-ups! We all have our issues that we need to put before God. The beauty in this is that God knows - He GETS us, our loveliness AND our ugliness. And He loves us, no matter what.

Thanks for adding your thoughts to the mix here - I always appreciate your voice in the crowd!

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 25, 2012 at 10:43 AM)  

Oh, JoAnn, interesting! I wondered, I did, about the reason behind your blogging hiatus. Thank you being brave in mentioning it here. And you were so courageous to actually listen to God and step away - I am such a bad listener sometimes! I think if God told me to stop blogging I'd plug my ears and sing loudly at the top of my lungs.

Nancy Franson  – (April 25, 2012 at 10:47 AM)  

 You and the lovely Charity Singleton are both saying out loud this week the things that run through most of our minds--the voices telling us, "Quit. You're not good enough. Nobody notices. What you're doing does no good." Or, "Promote! Get noticed! Get yours!"

Last week while my blog was down, and people I know and love were at the Festival of Faith and Writing, I felt like I was missing all sorts of networking opportunities. I think all twelve of my email subscribers have probably been banished to virtual limbo.

I just keep praying, "Lord, I'm just going to keep tapping away at this keyboard. You do what you want with it." In the meantime, I've gotten to know some amazing people out here, many of whom minister to my soul.

You are one of them, and I am so thankful.

alwaysalleluia –   – (April 25, 2012 at 10:51 AM)  

You can't know how this spoke to me today, except for me to say, thank you for saying the scary things that I am afraid to say myself. And you ARE on a list, and that list is the only one that counts anyway: Revelations 20:12 

I have struggled with all of this and God continues to humble me in no uncertain terms. This is the refining fire I walk through these days. Thank you, Michelle. Thank you for saying it. 

Duane Scott  – (April 25, 2012 at 11:56 AM)  

YES! I'd put you on a list, Jennifer. 

I'm one of those that doesn't make the lists (except Glynn Young's because he's the nicest guy ever). 

And I agree about our words reaching those who don't even know how to use a blog site. 

In fact, the bulk of my readers sign up by email and I sometimes look at that list of emails and I wonder who is behind all the weird names. 

I'll never know, this side of heaven. 

Duane Scott  – (April 25, 2012 at 12:01 PM)  

I went and looked at the list to see WHO made it and I recognized only a few.  How did they get there? I clicked on one of them. Their feedburner readers a little over 300 readers. Their comment boxes are empty.  

So... that list? 

Is it even accurate? 

I know Michelle here has a TON more readers than some of those sitting right there at the top of that list. 

Gaby  – (April 25, 2012 at 12:06 PM)  

Oh, Michelle, you are just as human as the rest of us! Thank you for your honesty. I think we all struggle with this. Henry Nouwen wrote a book called In the Name of Jesus where he talks about the three temptations of leadership: to be relevant, to be powerful, and to be spectacular, comparing them to Christ's temptations in the desert. I have to re-read it every few years to ground myself again. He discusses moving from relevance to prayer, from popularity to ministry and from leading to being led. Good read and very short. 
I did want to say the reason I have a blog roll is because often people who stumble into your post for a particular reason (say adoption in my case) and are new to the blog world find other people who also talk about what you are passionate about through your blogroll. I don't follow that many so I try to include them all. Many people do it by category so if you are looking for other blogs on, say, parenting, you can find them there. I have found all my blogs through other people's blog rolls. But I do understand your point. Love you!

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 25, 2012 at 12:21 PM)  

Well, I think that's exactly the point - it's a bit subjective, and it's personal. My list would look different than your list to some extent. My list would look different than Sarah's does. It's like we all have our intimate circles out here in the world wide web, and that's good...that's the way it's supposed to be. That's what makes it community. I just think it gets a little dicier when we label the lists in such a way that makes them sound a little more definitive.

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 25, 2012 at 12:26 PM)  

Duane, you are wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing your heart here. I know your story and the whys behind it, and as you know (as a person who turned off comments here for several months), I can relate to it. A lot.

I love your point about how all of us have weaknesses and that they are different weakness. My struggle with needing/wanting accolades and validation is different than someone else's struggles. I love that God knows that about us and loves us in spite of our whiny-pants ugliness.

Keep on keeping on, Duane!!

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 25, 2012 at 12:27 PM)  

Thank you for the book suggestions, Gaby. I love Henri Nouwen but have not read "In the Name of Jesus." Sounds like something I need to pick up at the library pronto!

I totally understand the blog roll philosophy, too -- I, too, found most of my favs through links on other people's blogs. So I am conflicted about that whole thing.

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 25, 2012 at 12:29 PM)  

Revelation 20:12. Amen.

I recently read a piece by Richard Rohr in which he said that he prayed to God to humble him every day - a brave prayer, indeed! I'd say this list experience has been a much-needed humbling for me.

Linda Chontos –   – (April 25, 2012 at 12:30 PM)  

I know people always say things like this, but honestly Michelle, I could have written this one. I've been working on it for a long time. I am asking for grace to get my big self out of the way and so He can use me in some small way - for His glory and not mine. It isn't easy.

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 25, 2012 at 12:30 PM)  

Oh my gosh, Nancy, I totally have issues with not being at conferences where I feel like everyone else is having a rockin' great time except me! A couple of years ago when I saw bunches and bunches of tweets from the High Calling retreat, I had to keep going to my Bible all day to re-ground myself - I was so jealous! Yikes, I am a big fat wreck.

So very thankful for you, too, Nancy. Thanks for adding your honest thoughts to the discussion here.

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 25, 2012 at 12:32 PM)  

And from where I sit, Linda, you are one of the most grace-full people I know out here in the blogsphere. Seriously -  I love your heart.

Joseph cantone –   – (April 25, 2012 at 12:56 PM)  

personally i dont give a rats butt whether your on anyones list.
youve got a good blog and its for regular people. thanks for

Jen Ferguson –   – (April 25, 2012 at 2:33 PM)  

When I bought my domain name, my blog list didn't transfer for some reason.  And now, I'm kind of glad that I haven't fixed it yet.

Michelle, I just want to say that I'm really glad you wrote this post.  You know what, I have some seriously gross thoughts, too, and I am proud of you for sharing yours.  In away, even though it's embarrassing on one level, do you feel the freedom in the open admission? It's like a dark corner exposed, one that was desperate for light in the first place.

I've been thinking a lot about all the link ups -- what does it mean to have a successful one? Is it numbers, comments, what?  And then, I think, what does it matter if my definition of success comes into play at all?

Dolores –   – (April 25, 2012 at 7:41 PM)  

I do not know how to answer all of this Michelle. All I know is that I am just trying to stay true to God and myself then whatever happens will be then I pray for the Grace of God and wisdom of Him to handle it. I tend to write from the heart when I do write in hopes I can be a blessing to others and lift their spirits, but  I am new to blogging. I hope I can just stay humble before Him and let Him do the guiding. I leave fame, plans, and numbers up to Him.


Deidra  – (April 25, 2012 at 8:26 PM)  

Honestly? I get overwhelmed by it all. I wonder how anyone has time to come up with a list of 200 blogs. And then, they're called the "TOP" 200, which must mean the list maker read more than 200. It makes me weary, just thinking about it. 

So, then I get jealous of the person who can manage their 24 hours so well that they have time to put together a list of 200 (!) blogs, and then a completely different list when someone wonders, "Where are the women?" And here I am, in a kitchen that needs to have the dishes put away, and laundry in three different laundry baskets that still has to be put away, and a dog that stayed at the kennel too long because I couldn't find time in my day to get across town and pick her up.

But I like what Darlene said, and I'm glad she popped in here for a bit. And I feel like Dolores who said, "I don't know how to answer all of this, Michelle." So, I'm going to hit publish on this comment (if I'm feeling brave), close my laptop, and take care of my kitchen while I listen to my neighbor mow her yard.

Oh. And this, Michelle. I love you.

Alicia Bruxvoort –   – (April 26, 2012 at 9:56 AM)  

Oh, my goodness, you just named my gut-level wrestling match with blogging and writing. Yeah, it's easy to say I write for God, but then why do I check my stats at the end of the day? UGGHH... I'm joining you face down on the floor and begging Him to purify my heart. "Your name and your fame, Lord, is my desire." 

DeborahJoy –   – (April 26, 2012 at 2:39 PM)  

gosh, well look at how many comments this post has received! God bless your honesty. 
But really, don't we all want to be included, noticed, listened to? We're only human, after all. And for me, blogging (and Facebooking) is an extension of chatting at the school gates and if I'm honest I do like talking about myself and the things that matter to me. I'm just a beginner at this, so I have a lot of catching up to do.I so value reading posts that make me think, reflect, that challenge me, that comfort me, that point me towards the Cross. And your posts (as well as the posts of many other commenters here) help me to do that.
So just keep doing what you're doing. Your words matter. YOU matter. X

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 26, 2012 at 3:04 PM)  

I did feel freedom and relief in admitting my hang-ups in this post...and I feel great comfort from and camaraderie from all the readers, including you, who have commented here.

I have trouble with the link-up community, too. I admit, I compare how many linkers I have with others (yours included, my dear) to see if I am "keeping up." Yet another grossness! 

pastordt –   – (April 27, 2012 at 12:57 AM)  

Oh, Michelle - I am so, so sorry. THIS IS WHAT I HATE ABOUT LISTS. I would put you on any list out there...except, of course, the one I did. BECAUSE YOU ARE TOO STINKIN' YOUNG. I feel terrible. And I SO relate to this post. Thank you for your honesty, and again...I apologize. :>(

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 27, 2012 at 10:47 AM)  

NO, no no - no apologies necessary, Diana!! Seriously. I hesitated SO much in pushing publish on this post, for this very reason: I did NOT want you or Sarah to feel badly. It's not about that, and I meant it. It was a very, very good wake-up call for me to realize how much stock I put into recognition and validation and how much I really do crave fame. I wrestled and wrestled with this all week and didn't really want to write about it, but I knew that God wanted me to be truthful about this, for myself and maybe for the benefit of others who struggle with the same thing. So PLEASE do not apologize or feel badly about this. It's ALL good!!

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 27, 2012 at 10:49 AM)  

I do think I hit a nerve with this post - I don't normally get nearly as many comments! :)

And thank you for adding your voice to the mix, Deborah. It's all a learning curve, isn't it - and blogging is so useful in discovering things about yourself...even those qualities you wish didn't exist!

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 27, 2012 at 10:50 AM)  

Lovely to meet you here, Alicia - and thank you for adding your honest, prayful voice to the conversation here.

Wouldn't it be fun to cross paths some day in person -- I wish you still lived in person so we could meet for coffee! And oh, I've spent many an afternoon at Trendwood Park with my kids!

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 27, 2012 at 10:51 AM)  

Yeah, there's that, too, Deidra. I can't even respond to my comments, never mind find the time to craft a thoughtful list of bloggers! I get a little insecure about that, too!

Glad you added your honest thoughts here...and you know I always love you!!

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 27, 2012 at 10:52 AM)  

Joseph, can I just say that yours is my absolute favorite comment on this post?! Thanks for being honest and telling it like it is -- I appreciate that!

Michelle DeRusha  – (April 27, 2012 at 10:53 AM)  

You have the perfectly right attitude about this whole blogging thing, Dolores -- I can learn a lot from you! Thank you for simplifying the conundrum for me in such a beautiful, prayerful way.

Dolores Green –   – (April 27, 2012 at 12:35 PM)  

 Thank You Michelle for the encouragement too. I love your blog. Please keep up the great work and I will always be in prayer for you. God Bless You Always, Dolores ♥

CornerGardenSud –   – (April 28, 2012 at 8:38 AM)  

 Hi Michelle, I found your blog from the Lincoln newspaper article.  I am commenting here, because I can identify with you in having checked the blogrolls of those whose blogs I visit a lot, too. 

I am more active in my gardening blog than my Christian one.  I used to check lists of top garden blogs to see if I was on them, too, but decided that wasn't why I was blogging. 

I think part of why we want to be known, is that we wonder if we are reaching people, if they are getting something from what we write.  I don't see that as sinful.  We can't always sort out all of our motives, but it's good God's grace takes care of it all. 

I enjoyed your newspaper article, and could actually identify with it, because I will be 60 in September, and am thinking about retiring, but would still need to work part time.  We would be able to live on the retirement money, but have none saved for when we are old and have big medical bills.  I am not getting a clear idea from God where my steps should go.

CornerGardenSue –   – (April 28, 2012 at 8:39 AM)  

I didn't see that I put a "d" instead of "e".  I am Sue.

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