This post was written by my good friend, Elizabeth Norton. Elizabeth is founder of a birthday party idea site and writes about the moments that matter the most, as she tries to find out her true calling in the world and why she is in it. Her journey to Relevant was one that she will be reflecting on for many months to come.
I recently had an amazing opportunity to attend The Relevant Conference. Like most conferences that I have attended the camaraderie and friendship that you experience is beyond words. Do I think this conference was for everyone? No, but that is not the intent. As the blogging world grows, niches can be explored and activated. This conference was to bring together like-minded believers in Jesus and those who have a passion for blogging. Blogging and Believing lead every session and meal, and every keynote was sure to be “relevant” to the way a Christian would live. Creating a conference where your beliefs can merge with all things online was empowering and set a base that forged real relationships I believe which haven’t been touched in the blogosphere yet. I was glad to be part of it.
I am not one who is outspoken about my faith. Through writing a party idea blog, I haven’t had a platform in which I had the freedom to express my beliefs. Nevertheless, as a blog writer and reader, I think Christian or not, there are some things I can share with you guys that I feel have transformed me and my online life.
As Christian writers and bloggers graced the microphone, I think one theme was thrown out. Be real to you and be relevant to your voice, yourself, and who you represent. I had a chance to eat dinner next to Sally Clarkson (a Christian writer) while listening to Angie Smith talk who is a mother of 4(1 in heaven) and wife to singer Todd Smith from Selah (a Christian band.) Her talk carried on the theme of being true to who you are, but Angie took it to the next level.
We talked about being content all the time. How often do we talk about what we are reading? It is so easy to be filled by affirmation of blogs! We can all agree or disagree with one another but in the end, are we reading the right blogs for us? There are also blogs that are a haven. There are blogs that show beautiful homes and lives that offer perfection or something that is not practical. Do we read filth to make us feel better about ourselves? Do we read junk? Do we read truth? Do we read tabloids? We all have the power to publish and be real. It makes me re-evaluate the content with which I am filling my mind. Angie asked one question that struck a chord with me? The question was, “Where do you want to run after you read a blog?”
Reflecting now, honestly I know there have been blog posts that have made me re-evaluate the worth of my husband (a perfectly wonderful man.) Sometimes, I could read a blog post and wonder why my 3 year doesn’t play the piano and wonder how I failed as a mother (as I run to the phone to sign my kid up for lessons). Then I have read those blog posts that make me want to quit mothering and being a wife all together because there is this mom who makes all organic food and spends hours in the kitchen, tucks her children in to bed at the SAME time every night, and then has enough energy to meet her husband’s EVERY desire.
Those blogs are great. They just are not for me. Just as Cinderella’s shoe didn’t fit every woman in the village, all blogs are not the perfect fit for all, especially me.
So, just as Angie asked us at The Relevant Conference, I ask you, “Where do you want to run after you read?” If it is away from yourself, your family, or to the realtor to buy a bigger and more beautiful house, then that post may not be the healthiest blog for you or your family.
It is ironic how I have traveled hours on planes and in cars to learn about content creation, how to attract more people to my site, how to make quality content, how to write prompts, etc. at other conferences. I must admit I never have once thought about how another blog’s content had affected me, my life, or my family. Angie definitely made food for thought in the words I was consuming and she made me accountable to being who I am portraying online. I can now be the %100 real me.