So last week, I discovered that Modern Reject was named as one of the Top 200 Ministry Blogs of 2012 by Church Relevance. I’ll be honest, I was way geeked out. I was stoked and honored, albeit a bit confused as to how I ended up on the list.
Then, Kent Shaffer, who writes Church Relevance responded to a bit of controversy as to why there aren’t more women (and less Calvinists) on the list. In his response post, other more prominent female bloggers than myself commented and listed even more prominent female bloggers who they thought should have made the list.
Some of these female bloggers even made their own lists, so as to include more women who they felt were jipped or forgotten. And in all of this, the glow and excitement of seeing my name there on that list started to wane.
I began to feel embarrassed and lame for ever even caring, for feeling a moment of encouragement, for feeling like all of this hard work of blogging was being recognized. I felt stupid and insignificant.
And why? Why had I let the subsequent discussion about female bloggers rob me of my joy? Because I’m not one of those female bloggers. I am, what I’ve always felt I’ve been–an outsider.
Scrolling through a list of women’s names, I was suddenly left feeling like I was back in 8th grade, nervous laughter, frizzy hair, braces, and all. I want so desperately to be known by the “cool girls.” I want them to include me in their little circle, but it feels impossible to break in.
I’m not trendy enough. I’m not pretty enough.
I’m not theological enough. I’m not enough of a mom-blogger.
I’m not emotional enough. I’m not around enough.
I’m not published enough. I’m not well-known enough.
Basically…I’m not enough.
And what tends to be such a strength for women–their ability to form community so easily–can also be an area of weakness because community among women can often turn into cliques. So yeah, I feel like I’m on the outside of the Christian chick blogger clique (same that 3 times fast).
In their defense, the blogger who wrote her own list of 50 women, explained that she never wanted to make anyone feel excluded, but that she was trying to be more inclusive. I so get it and I so understand her motivation.
Thing is, I guess I was just hoping that instead of only complaining that there weren’t more women on the Relevance Church list, that more women would stop and say “Hmmm, who is this Nicole Cottrell chick? Maybe I outta say hi and see what she’s all about.”
But that didn’t happen. I guess I was expecting some congratulations and comradery, but instead I was left feeling like they were disappointed I made the list since I wasn’t part of their clique…*ahem* I mean, community.
But then I prayed. I was starting to angry for letting myself get so angry and so I prayed. I asked why my name was on that list in the first place since so many other Christian blogging women have way more traffic than me, way more influence than me, way more everything than me.
God basically told me to zip my mouth. He told me He put me on that list and He has me exactly where He wants me. It wasn’t an error. It wasn’t a mistake and I just need to shut up and be thankful.
So that’s what I’m doing. I’m shutting up and being thankful.
Lessons learned in all of this? I’m still a big sensitive baby when it comes to other women. I need to learn how to form community via blogging with other women. I’m still insecure. God is big. God cares intimately about my small little life. Shutting up can work wonders. The end.