You sit down with your morning coffee and see the following blog posts beckoning you:
- How to offer hospitality (the Christian way, of course)
- How to respect your husband more
- How to stop complaining: About everything!
- How to feed your family an “everything–free” healthy diet
- Watch out for your local tap water!
- What to do when another mom says something flippantly (which may be true)
Now imagine 20 more similar blog post titles along the same vein. Hmmm…. what to do, which to read first. After all, you are struggling with just about all these issues and the ones which are not currently problematic you have friends who could use the help, may have to look over all of them.
Stop. Take a sip of coffee. Can we talk? I would like to talk to you the way I talk to some of the sweet women that come over for tea. Do you have a few minutes? The kids are playing together, let’s chat.
There are two issues regarding blog posts marketed to women. I’ve struggled long and hard about how to share them in a way which honors Christ. I hope what I say will serve your soul in the long run.
ISOLATION WHICH LEADS TO A HUNGER FOR COMMUNITY AND ADVICE
We live in a society where women are isolated. Yes, I know most of us probably have a group of women we have play–dates with sometimes, but I’m talking deep down isolation. The kind which can only be filled by friends or family who you would allow to walk through your door no matter what the house looked like, the kind you have tea with and there are no subjects off limits. I have found that very few American stay–at–home moms have those kinds of “communities” around them. We are a demographic group hungry for community and advice. A group either looked down upon or pandered to.
There’s no denying that “Mom” is a multi–billion dollar consumer group—whether secular or Christian or any other group—everyone is trying to capitalize on our needs. And I do not deny that we have needs. However, I’m skeptical about how we are going about meeting our needs.
ALWAYS LEARNING BUT NEVER COMING TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH
There is a gluttonous amount of information on the internet. You can literally spend all day on it learning about how to make 15 types of cupcakes, 30 best of the best books to read to the kids, and 7 fool–proof ways to make your husband smile. But my question to you is: When was the last time you baked cupcakes for your family? Wouldn’t it be good to just go read to the kids from what you have at home already? I think you know your husband much better than some woman you admire but have never met, I think you know best how to make him smile. As Nike says: Just do it!
Stop “learning” and just apply the truths you already know.
My husband asked me not too long ago why I wasn’t reading those sorts of blog posts. I told him that I know what I need to do for the kids, for the house, for him, in friendships, and that the issue isn’t that I don’t know what to do, the issue is: Will I do it? Will I obey all Christ has called me to in these areas?
The other day while looking at the blog stats I noticed that someone had done a search for “obsessed with Christ” and Google sent them over here to Gospel Grace. I thought it was funny. So…. yes, I guess I may be a little obsessed with Christ and I write about him a lot. This leads me to suggest some possible solutions to the very real needs that I know women have, and to point out what I think may be unhealthy ways of meeting those needs.
First, if we have time for Facebook, other forms of social media, and all these types of blog posts, then we probably have the time for a local discipleship relationship or a local women’s Bible study. I stress the word local because I know from experience that no online blog reading, over time, can ever take the place of a local discipleship relationship and studying the Word of God with other women, locally. Internet friends and social media may fulfill a need temporarily but such sustenance evaporates and we’re left hungrier than we were before.
Second, the most satisfied and most productive woman you can be will emerge as you pour your energies into the real flesh–and–blood people around you, not by living vicariously through online personalities.
Third, don’t hear me laying down another law: “Thou shalt not visit mom blogs!” Please, don’t start feeling guilty or getting angry. I of all people know that sometimes God will touch a heart even in the midst of a blog post on “I had a nightmare last night and here’s what I learned from it.” God is longsuffering with us. The Holy Spirit is in charge of your sanctification, not me, and he will use whatever he wants to use to grow you into the image of Christ. I am just a voice crying in the Wilderness of the Internet, saying: “Wisdom! Wisdom! Use wisdom on the internet highways and byways!”
Fourth (yes, I’m fully aware of the irony), put Christ first. That means all things that point to Christ. Don’t feed the ego of some woman blogger, even me. If you sense the woman writer is either saying “hey look how great I am” or “hey look what a wretch I am” or even “hey look how great this little exclusive niche is,” if you sense anyone is using you as a reader to build a brand instead of genuinely giving of what the Holy Spirit has poured into her, then drop that blogger. Seriously! Here are three examples of blogs that are geared to mothers in particular, who I think have a genuine desire to serve Christian women and who are not all about building their egos or marketing machines: Domestic Kingdom, Desiring Virtue, and Preschoolers and Peace. I’m not linking to them so you can balloon your already burgeoning reading list. I do suggest visiting these blogs and listening for tone and spirit. There are other women bloggers I read that are written more generally for all women, not just mothers. Most are theologically geared, and they do an excellent job lifting up Christ and speaking to cultural issues through gospel eyes. It probably goes without saying that I also use the internet to read blogs by men, blogs for general audiences, blogs about particular things that interest me, the news, etc. There are sites that make no pretense about making me more spiritual, and I try to take them for what they are as I discern how they fit into my limited time.
WHAT’S THE TAKE–AWAY
Don’t swing to extremes. Don’t get legalistic about your blog reading. Give priority to loving the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind. And do think twice and build some extra filters in your mind and heart before you visit blogs marketed to women, whether they are Christian or not.
And lastly, know that I am learning discernment right along with you.