{What you can find in sharing your troubles.}

I had an exciting opportunity to be a guest on Simple Mom’s podcast channel the other morning. It was amazing + fun, and I’ll be sure to share the link once it’s live. But in the meantime, the podcast reminded me of a few things I’ve had on my mind. To backtrack a bit, one of the things Tsh + I chatted about was how we’ve both felt a steady, slightly strong pull to share more personal things on our blogs. Not like “nitty gritty, down & dirty” stuff. But things like sharing more about who we are as individuals, outside from the brands we’ve created.

^ My sweet friend Nester + I shared so many “get real” moments in Tanzania. By the way, WHY am I standing like that with a giant smile on my face? I am weird, hehe.

^ Oh, what I would give to know what these boys think of my husband’s silly faces :)

^ Getting on those planes, which brought me to these kids, were the scariest things I’ve ever done. BUT! It’s brought me some of the greatest rewards, too :)

Prior to blogging about more personal things, I think it’s been a bit easy to {unknowingly} paint myself on a pretty, sassy shade of pink pedestal where “nothing could possibly ever go wrong for her.” And that bothers me a bit, because that isn’t truth. I guess that’s one of the troubles with writing a blog — knowing where to draw the line with sharing personal things. I know in past posts I’ve shared about my fear of flying and how coming back from Africa I felt like something huge was brewing in my heart. {And no, I will never stop talking about Africa so if it bothers you then go on, click that X up there in the corner. Tee hehe.} Traveling to Africa with Compassion changed my life in such a large way that I can’t imagine not talking about it. I think the easiest way to wrap up our trip is to say I am just about over worrying about things. It’s like I returned home with a pair of grandma undies, except I’m only 27 years old. Zack, I hope you find that attractive –wink!

^ just moments before I fell + had my pride smeared all over my clean clothes

Sharing more of my heart, my troubles, has been a real gift. It didn’t make sense at the time, but starting this blog almost four years ago and just recently sharing more personal things was on purpose. His purpose. I think it’s set me up for a safe, incredibly encouraging place online for me to share more of my heart. Talking with Tsh the other day confirmed this for me.

So back to our trip, I believe it’s helped me put a finger on that strong pull to be more personal on my blog. And last Friday I got really brave + shared about the baby bump I don’t have, but hope so badly I will have. For a little flash of time I thought my post wasn’t good enough, that it didn’t share enough about the dark moments, but then I remembered that my post was written with hope, and that OH YES, YOU AGREED TO NOT WORRY! Remember that’s one gift Tanzania gave you, Maggie??!!

But then you interrupt me and tell me you can relate with everything I’ve shared so far. You have blogs you read often and it’s easy to want to feel connected because after all, you keep coming back week after week. But if they don’t share “enough” personal things, you don’t feel bothered. You know it takes time for these things to develop so you are a perfect friend + you wait patiently :)

^ I’m really not that different from the woman who launders these items. Well, the only different is she loves the color turquoise and I love pink.

I want to be honest about one thing, though: I totally get how easy these pedestals are to set up. Actually, if I didn’t know better it would be easier for me to set them up, too.  And — there are times when I have to firmly remind myself not to set them up. But let me be honest about this, too: I only live a perfect life because of who I am in Christ. From a worldly perspective I have just as many troubles + weaknesses as my neighbor.

And my neighbor, oh you are beautiful and perfect in your own ways, and your troubles really aren’t that different from mine because we’re all afraid of something and we all want something. And we will all always be learning more patience.

 

But I do think there is a lot of value in being able to share what makes sense to share. It has taken me some time to get to that point, where I can point out “yes, share that” or “no, that’s not really that important.” And so far I like that I’ve been able to be more personal on here :) Sharing in my troubles has brought me deeper friendships, and if you recall that’s something I’ve been looking for, too. 

So to that I say — Thank you for being so kind to the fact that yes, I’ve taken some time to get here. But I do feel like I’ve finally arrived in my own skin. And thank you for welcoming the change with open arms. You sure know how to make a lady wearing grandma undies feel loved.

Let’s connect in the comments, tell me this: Where do you draw the line as a blogger? How personal do you get on your blog? Or, are you “all business”? And in sharing your troubles, what have you noticed doing so has brought you?

xoxo

[All photos taken by Keely during our beautiful, inspiring, life changing trip to Tanzania with Compassion International.]

Comments

  1. 1

    says

    Oh Maggie, you have challenged and encouraged me in so many ways. More than you realize!

    I think for me, the limit comes when I ask what my motive is + if anyone would be hurt, exposed, compromised if I shared it. That includes me.

    Thank you.
    Xoxo

  2. 2

    says

    Oh Maggie this post is beautiful. Blogging is such a weird and wonderful hobby and job for people that it is so easy to get thrown in to a tizzy deciding what to blog about, what to say, how often to say it and worrying about offending people.

    There are a few things that I share deeply about on my blog (the loss of my mom, how having a handmade biz really makes me feel, finding my path in life, etc) but one thing i have really opened up about lately is the fact that I want to want to have kids. And I was going to mention this on your baby bump post but some people can easily get their feelings hurt about the kid situation. I didn’t want to come off as high and mighty or anything like that. Kids are a hard decision for anyone but we all get the choice to make that decision for ourselves and I feel like putting my beliefs out there may seem like a ploy to change your mind. But if you want a baby, and you pray and talk to God about it in earnest, then you will have one. Remember that we will never operate on God’s schedule or within his frame of mind. But Philippians 4:6 (and with thanksgiving, submit all requests to God) says if we ask him in earnest and be patient and thankful for his response then we shall receive it, in whatever way He things is good. God is always good. :)

    love and hugs xoxoxo

    • 3

      says

      @skye @ neathering our fest, I think you’re incredibly brave. I don’t think everyone is born with the desire to have children, and I don’t think everyone should feel like they should have children. Whatever God places on your heart is what you should do. And knowing when to take a step back to really review your thoughts is wise. So wise :) AND, I also understand what you mean. Baby bump stuff is generally a pretty sensitive topic and just like you wrote, I can see how it is a sensitive subject to write about. XOXO

  3. 4

    says

    I think knowing where to draw the line is important. I will never share problems I have with my husband or family. But I will gladly discuss other troubles. Good for you for opening up!

  4. 5

    says

    These are good questions. Sometimes I find writing after the pain, after the hard, is beneficial. This week was wowza hard. I needed prayer and needed to share what was going on with our family but I will give my heart some time to process what happened ago that it can TRUTHFULLY be hopeful. If I wrote a heartfelt, positive post about seizures right now – it would be a lie:).

    So that’s what I do. If its a yucky and wrong thought in my heart (in the midst of the hard), I let the Lord get at it until I can truthfully speak life & truth about it – even if it is actually hard.

    For the record: you’re doing a great job:)

  5. 7

    says

    Maggie, what a truly beautiful post. I notices early on in your blog it was very business minded and I have noticed the shift and I know it’s intentional. It’s been a sweet treat getting to know the Maggie behind the Gussy. I don’t take personal subjects as a simple and easy post for the writer to publish. It’s tough. Having a blog geared toward my biz I find it very hard to write a personal post. I try to insert some writing that is personal throughout a post but it’s tough. But I also don’t like writing about myself or talking in public either. I’m better one on one with a girlfriend.

    You have taken the challenge and thru this post I feel challenged by u to make my blog a little more personal and not so business forward.

    Have a wonderful day and praying for that baby bump.

    • 8

      says

      @Katy (lil’ alice), YEOW! Oh that makes me happy — you are right, it is hard to write a personal post and I can definitely see how that has transformed throughout the year. It is starting to get easier :) Blogging is such a funny thing, who really knows where their blog will end up? So how do you prepare and know if what you’re preparing is the right way? I guess over time, being able to go with the flow of life helps. Thanks for your comment :)

  6. 9

    says

    You have inspired me to blog without fear more often. I have two blogs as I’ve mentioned before, one is definitely fun and fluffy fashion stuff but even there I’ve been willing to more openly admit if I’m having a bad day or I’m struggling. But on my more personal blog I have definitely opened my heart a bit more, especially since beginning She Reads Truth. It’s cathartic and I have been amazed at how supportive folks have been. And wow, big shock (sarcasm) I find it really makes me feel better laying it out there. Healthier spirit.

    So I can never say it enough, thank YOU for being so open and honest here, because it has helped me a great deal in my own blogging journey!

    • 10

      says

      @Beth, I do think we all have our own invisible line of what we’re comfortable sharing — or how much, but I love reading that you feel you’re able to share more. It does help the spirit, doesn’t it??? :)

  7. 11

    says

    I’ve lbeen struggling with this SAME thing on my blog! I’m so thankful that you posted about this because now I can read the comments to better understand where I should draw the line.

    My blog is a mommy blog, but I’ve struggled with sharing more of my heart and relationship with Christ over just the day to day happenings of my family. I so struggle with the pedestal and showing what life is really like. How did you climb down from the pedestal? I’m struggling…

  8. 12

    says

    I think boundaries are good for your blog, as this provides you with some security as to what you are willing to share, over that you don’t want…

    That being said I think it is important to share some of the bad/hard things along with the good, as you say the “pedalstool” picture is easy to paint…

    For me balance is something that is ever changing as you find yourself at different phases throughout your life, so finding something that works for you right now is great but be prepared to change it up a little as you grow…

    Working for something that is right for me, is something that has helped me realise my goals, especially going forward in opening my shop..

    I think you are doing a fantastic job, it’s great to be on this journey with you ..

    Claire xox

  9. 13

    Wendy says

    I do share some personal things on my blog, but find them more difficult to write than anything else. To be vulnerable in that way. There is always a fine line on the border of TMI. I do have some things that are private and not shared. But if I think my experience shared may help someone else, then I write.

  10. 14

    says

    I started following your blog when you went to Tanzania – and by all means keep talking about Africa! I, for one, love hearing about it! – and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know in this space ever since.

    I write a personal blog, so there’s really not any “business” to tend to, but it can still be such a fine line with just how personal is too personal. I think the balance is probably different for everyone, but I strive to be honest without giving away more than I’m comfortable with. And that target can change depending on what I’m walking through at the moment.

    However, given that the “heartbeat” of my blog is devotion thoughts, I often have to keep it pretty real with how I’m walking with Christ as the devos are quite frequently based on personal conviction or at least what I’ve been reading in Scripture. But I know through conversations with readers that the honesty is appreciated and easier to relate to, and I don’t want to lose that connection!

  11. 15

    says

    Yours is my favorite blog ever.
    While I LOVE the business posts, and that is why I became addicted to your blog – hehe – watching your blog evolve has been a huge blessing. I love the balance you have between your personal life and your professional “Gussy” brand. It’s perfect.

    I struggle with this too. My life is so, so far from perfect – or from what I thought my life would be right now. So, I when I blog – its hard for me to know what to share while maintaining a professional business front.
    Learning right along with ya, girlfriend.

    xo

  12. 16

    says

    That is a very good question and I think you are right in that it does take time to find your blogging path. What feels right to share and what doesn’t. I think many of us also worry about family reading our blogs and so we sugar coat or avoid “certain subjects” because we certainly don’t want to stir things up there. I’m afraid my blog has been more on the “business” side of things. I too want to change that…to connect on a deeper level with my readers. It is a little frightening….but I feel the rewards will be great.

  13. 17

    says

    I just want you to know that I am a 55 year old Mom and GMa, but I love your heartfelt posts. May God continue to bless you with the life that He has planned for you! I wish I would have listened to Him more in my life, but made many bad choices, that ultimately He blessed me anyway, blows my mind!!!
    You are an insightful beautiful young woman, and I am excited to see what your journey brings for you:)
    Blessings to you!!!

  14. 19

    Kristina says

    This is something I struggle with on my blog honestly. I go through phases where I really want to pour out my heart {and sometimes I do} but other times there is a disconnect and I can feel it. It’s one thing for the readers to feel it but when you feel it yourself, it’s a big problem. It’s hard to draw the line I think, but really what it comes down to is probably Realizing if your situation or feeling could be something that reaches someone else filling the “am I alone?” void and relating and connecting. That’s what blogging is about. And if what you are writing won’t hurt someone you love, then do it. I should really take my own advice, but like you have blogged before – I have an issue sometimes being open and making those connections.

  15. 20

    says

    I’m usually willing to share my “working through” process; however, I’m well aware that some things don’t need to be part of the public eye. So I definitely edit–not so people won’t see my “process” but so I don’t disrespect my husband, family or friends.

    But I do discuss my struggles–from PCOS to loss–even if I don’t discuss them until after the fact. Will I always do that? I don’t know. As long as it helps me work through the process and I continue to watch the feelings and hearts of others, I think it can be a very healthy process.

  16. 21

    says

    I’ve been struggling with this question a lot recently. My blog began as an online journal of sorts while I was on a missions trip, read just by my family and a friend or two, so I used to pour my whole heart out. Over the last two years, I’ve been moving farther and farther from that, and feeling more and more uncomfortable sharing my struggles. At the same time, writing has always been the way I cope and process emotions. I’m trying to find balance by being vague, or writing about difficult struggles long enough after the fact that I can say something positive, and in the meantime, filling pages of my prayer journal. I don’t want to drag my readers down into a miry pit of despair, but I don’t want to give them the impression that my life is perfect either :) It’s tough to balance, and I’m glad you shared this today!

  17. 22

    says

    I feel like sharing the darker and harder moments just depends on the situation. It’s so hard to draw the line sometimes and it also just takes me, personally, a lot of time to “digest” the harder things before I can write about it. It’s not a matter of not wanting to be real or vulnerable, it’s just a matter of letting things run their cycle and spilling the beans when you can. I don’t think people would keep coming back here if they didn’t know deep down that you’re not perfect. I think you balance it well (especially lately!) with what’s going on in your heart, inspirational things, and just fun lighthearted handmade love. :)

    (when I wrote this post – http://www.ohsweetjoy.com/2012/06/on-my-heart-its-not-all-bike-rides.html – , I was so encouraged that people didn’t think I was trying to be fake. Just wanted to encourage you in the same way. No one thinks you’re perfect, but it’s nice to come to a cheerful place. The Lord obviously gifted you with that joy you have and it’s contagious. I’m grateful you’re willing to share.)

  18. 23

    says

    honestly, its hard for me to get super personal on my blog for the sole reason that I don’t feel my words on paper (errr.. computer?) don’t sound eloquent enough. When I type it out, it sounds hokey//whiney//silly. I guess I just need practice! I have LOVE hearing your heart on your blog, Maggie! You are seriously such an inspiration. Tons of love to you, girlfriend. Praying for that baby bump (or *whatever* way the Lord decides to bless you with children :))

  19. 24

    says

    I think, for me, my goal with my blog is authenticity. My Mom’s definitely voiced a bit of concern over how vulnurable I allow myself to be, yet every single time I write with authenticity and vulnutability, I get emails and texts from friends and strangers. I wanna honour Jesus with each word I say and type. I consistently pray that He will get glory and that He will influence hearts to His own.
    So be real. Be beautiful. Be ugly. Show the pretty pink life and the dirty tear-stained life. Because we all are broken people in need of a saviour and if we act like we’re not, then nobody is going to meet that saviour we have.
    Your words have influence. Speak ‘em!

  20. 25

    says

    I share everything on my blog. And sometimes I regret it, sometimes I wonder if it’s the right thing, but my blog saved me after my daughter died and sharing my heart helps others (and me) feel less alone. I love her through my writing, and so I write often. I’ve found the most amazing connections through my blog. It takes courage to be real. Good on you for striving to be honest and open.

  21. 26

    says

    People keep warning me about this, but I pretty much share anything that someone else might relate to. If there is another girl going through it, thinking she’s the only one, I need to get up the guts to tell her she’s not. Of course, timing is a big deal (there are some things I can’t blog about yet but hope to be able to in the future) and, as my mother would say, our tone. The *way* we say things is so important. But I don’t draw the line. Or rather, I keep moving it!

    Everly

  22. 28

    says

    Dearest Gussy, I never thought that you didn’t share, I think you share so much by the little snapshots of your life that you post here and on instagram. I have never felt like you didn’t share enough, but I am happy to know specifically things that I need to pray for you about. I try to ‘keep it real’ on my blog and sometimes things are just to real and raw and I don’t share and then my blog sits for months on end with no updates. I find that sometimes when I open myself up and I don’t get a response from people that it hurts. I mean, I write for myself, I truly do, but I love the interaction that blogging brings. I think that with all of the new gadgets out there, its so easy to just read blogs and not comment or respond in some way; the way it was ‘in the olden days’ LOL! I sound like an old blogger, next thing you know I am going to be shaking my mouse yelling at all you kids to get off my lawn.

    And just so you know grannie panties are the best!

  23. 29

    says

    This is a great post. I have actually quit blogging for a little while because of this. I was just tired of posting great tutorials and trying to make my life look so awesome and creative when it’s really maybe just a little creative-ness and a lot of play-doh and cereal stuck on my floors. I am taking a time out to re-evaluate, I think that some of us are moving past just wanting to have pretty blogs with nice things on them, and instead being a little more vulnerable in the hopes that someone else won’t feel so isolated and alone and maybe use this ginormous web space for something a bit more meaningful. This definitely blessed me :)

  24. 31

    says

    i feel like this is still such a struggle for me. i like to make others laugh in real life, and yet my blog seems so deep, and (not always) about how i want to live more openly as my unique Christ-like self, who is actually a hippie and just wants everyone to all get along. Confused yet? yeah, so that’s where I’m at. Goal: keep blogging. Pursuit of goal: Always trying to remain myself, even if it’s deep, silly, not as often as I’d like, or not as “Christian” as I should seem. I’m just me. Zits and all. :) (although I wouldn’t share that, too embarassing to even type..or maybe i just did.)

  25. 32

    says

    Maggie–I clicked on your blog from pinterest…what a blessing! Your heart comes alive (through HIM) in every word and photograph!
    What piqued my interest most–was the name “Gussie”…I knew a Miss Gussie. Long since gone on to be with the Lord, she was quite a memorable lady. I remember visits to her house (she was my cousin’s granny), and I remember she always had “juicy fruit” gum in her purse at church…Wow…that was about 45 years ago.

    Not tellin’ my age or nothing ;)

    Thank you for sharing your joy with Compassion. I’ve traveled twice with Mission of Mercy–and am leaving in just days for Bolivia for a mission trip with my husband (we are the mission directors at our church). He’s been on many–me just 4 now–but each one made an impact on me that I hope and pray I will never forget.

    Thanks for stirring sweet memories today!
    God bless you!!
    Angie Knight

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