Before I get to the telling of this super long story, let me start with this:  I am praying for you.  If you emailed me, Facebooked me, Twittered me, or talked to me in person to tell me what this story means to you: I am praying for you.  If you’re reading and haven’t said a single word to me, I’m still praying for you.

I wasn’t sure I should post any of this story at all.  I think maybe God has sent you to encourage me. Thank you for that. The things you’re saying to me are important to me.  And in that, I don’t feel quite so alone.  Even though being alone is the state for which I so often strive.

A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but Godwasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper.

When Elijah heard the quiet voice, he muffled his face with his great cloak, went to the mouth of the cave, and stood there. A quiet voice asked, “So Elijah, now tell me, what are you doing here?”

I think God is asking me, “So Michelle, now tell me, what are you doing here?”

My answer?

I don’t know.

Back at the beginning of 2010, I thought the opportunity to be involved with the leadership of ccPublishing was an opportunity of God’s giving.  Almost immediately, I began to doubt that I’d made the right decision. I went to this paid-in-full-by-a-sponsor Christian Blogging Conference where the main priority seemed to be putting God first, then family, then everything else. Or Blogging as your ministry.  I’ve got my priorities in order, have for quite some time. Blogging is not my ministry, it never will be a “ministry.”  It’s an extension of who I am. A creative outlet.

Honestly, I’m not cut out for any Christianese version of Ministry. So my blog is not my ministry, ccPublishing is not my ministry, my home is not my ministry…I do not do ministry. I tried it once, didn’t like it so much.

I wanted to quit ccPublishing several times over this past year. Because it was challenging my priorities. Is my dying mother more important than this publishing company? A thousand times infinity and beyond! Is the publishing company worth the frustration I’ve felt being wrapped up in my family, not able to devote myself fully?  That was one of the questions I couldn’t answer. I went back and forth and flip-flopped more than a circus performer.

It wasn’t until God pounded this idea of pruning into me that I began to understand the answer. The answer isn’t quite what I expected (or wanted.) It would’ve been nice to get a straight-up answer. Quit the publishing Company. Stay with the publishing company. The answer I got was strange: Prune.

Prune what?

Not my family. Obvioulsy.

Not my writing.

Housework?  Dude. That’s a train I can get on. But I’ll need someone to fund the housekeeper and personal chef.

Art? No way.

Blogging? Nuh-uh.

Oh but wait. Back up a minute.  Is there a way to prune without giving up blogging?  Because that is what I believe is the answer. And it came in the form of The Relevant Conference. The place where a couple hundred bloggers went to learn about blogging. Things I already knew. (I’m not trying to be a know-it-all, I promise, I’m not) But the more I walked around the conference and the sessions the more I understood.

I think I’m supposed to be spending less time chasing sponsors and doing their reviews and events and more time focusing on what God has given me.  The events and swag have been amazing. But really, I’m not all into that stuff.  I like them when I go. I love free stuff. But (and here’s the clincher) I can live without all of it.  I cannot live without God or my family or my writing.  (I can live without housework, but that’s another topic for another day.) But what I can live without are all of the opportunities that are eating my time.

If you are one of my sponsors, don’t worry, I’m not backing out without honoring my commitments. I’m going to finish out the reviews, giveaways, and posts I’ve agreed to. But, I probably won’t be accepting new offers. Or if I do, they will be limited and restrained, few and far between.

I’ll be telling more stories. Talking about writing and art and life.  And hoping that you’ll stay and chat with me. Maybe if you live nearby, you can come have coffee or tea or wine and we’ll sit in front of the fire or in front of an easel and talk and create.  Or we can email if you live too far to come visit.

There are a lot of things in life that just aren’t important.  And my message is to prune those things from my life. To live life more abundantly. I don’t want things to fill my house and my life. I want people and relationships and art.  I want to be present in this life and not always running behind and trying to catch up.

So first thing’s first. The first branch whacked off in this pruning is the sponsorship on this blog.

Like I said, I’ll finish out my commitments, which may take me until February or so, but it’s a baby step and I’m going to do it.

The next step, I think, is to spend more quality time leading ccPublishing.  Since I don’t really know what I’m doing, it’ll be an experience to say the least, but I’m willing to learn.

One other step, which I’m already doing and don’t really have to change much is I need to focus on my art. Not just the painting and drawing but the writing part.

And I need to clean my house. Because of all the things that have been suffering, I think my home has taken the biggest hit.

By the way, if you come to see my house, you need to make an appointment, but if you’ve come to see me? Come any time. Because it’s likely I’ll never have it together enough to have a June Cleaver-Martha Stuart house.

I also hope to let my guard down a bit, but I’m not ready to commit to that just yet.  Maybe the real healing will come with the stories I’ll tell here soon.  For now, it feels like I’m standing naked at the front door inviting you in.  And I kinda need to have some clothes on.  😉

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In this (long) series:
Sometimes Things Don’t Turn Out As I Planned
Shepherds Aren’t Always Nice
How Things Come Together When God Tries To Get My Attention Part 1
How Things Come Together When God Tries To Get My Attention Part 2
How Things Come Together When God Tries To Get My Attention Part 3
How Things Come Together When God Tries To Get My Attention Part 4
How Things Come Together When God Tries To Get My Attention Part 5