good-bye me

I’m on the living room floor on my shins and forearms, pounding out some words on Gabe’s laptop because even though I finally figured out where I hid mine, I’m too lazy to actually make room for it at my desk, counting the seconds until my feet fall asleep and my 36-year-old back starts to protest.

If I sound like a hot mess to you, well then.

I have something to say, and rather than wait until it’s all processed and I know how to say it neatly and sweetly, I’m just going to air it out now and get it off my chest.

Some things have got to change around here. And by “around here,” I mean this blog. And my life. And my heart.

Yesterday at church Pastor Rich mentioned 9 of the most common sins, and I’m delighted to tell you that 3 of them are not really a struggle at all for me, 3 probably are, but I haven’t really realized it yet, and 3 are pretty glaring.

Pride, anger, and self-centeredness.

God has been gently hammering away at me for awhile about all three of these. And while the anger thing is something best dealt with in the privacy of my home and family (for one, because that’s where it shows up pretty exclusively), the pride and self-centeredness need to be dealt with here, because the internet is where I struggle most with both of those things.

It’s amazing how quickly I can make everything all about ME.

I don’t have the time/energy to re-hash all that’s happened in the past couple years on the “career” front for me, but here’s the scoop in a nutshell: I’m an author with real published books under my belt. And so that’s kind of a big part of my identity (whether it should be or not). But it’s been three years now since I’ve had a book published, and there’s a lot of hard work ahead of me if I ever want to get to the place where I can publish another one (through a publisher, not on my own). And that means a lot of platform-building and getting lots of people to notice me and know who I am and all that.

And I sense God telling me that I need to be done with that. For good.

Now, I have a ton of author friends who I love to pieces, and I’m not saying that building your platform and gaining followers is all prideful and self-centered and whatever. I’m just passing on what God is saying to ME.

And I’ve been thinking the past couple days (a dangerous activity when you’re suffering from jet lag) about the things I do (and am) online and wondering which of those things are a part of my life because God wants them to be and they bring him glory and which are things I’m just doing to get people to notice me.

I’m aware of the fact that I’m not making any sense, so I’ll just start explaining some small changes I’ve made.

Pinterest. Why did I join Pinterest a few months ago and then never look at it again? Why was I getting a ton of notifications in my e-mail that such-and-such had started following my boards?

Pinterest is cute. And swell. And helpful. But for me, it’s too overwhelming. I have too many things to do already, and there’s no space for it. I don’t really need to know about all the amazing, creative, adorable people out there that are way more awesome than me. And I don’t have to live in fear that if I’m not a part of it, I’ll be missing out and that people won’t know who I am and yadda yadda blah-blah.

So I canceled my account.

And I unsubscribed from The Writer’s View (a Yahoo group for authors) and a Facebook page for writers that I was a part of. And I unsubscribed from a bunch of blogs that I don’t have time to read but read anyway just so that I can feel like I’m “in the loop.”

And Twitter might be the next thing to go, because I haven’t even been on it in 2 months.

And I’m evaluating everything I say and do online to see what purpose it’s serving. Whose purpose it’s serving. God’s? Or mine truly?

The internet is amazing. I love the connection. I have seen God use it in a million different fabulous ways to make his name glorious. But I also know that if he calls me to just live a faithful life without telling the world about it, I need to be willing to do that.

If he calls me to move to Cambodia without blogging about it every day I’m there, I need to be willing to be his hands and feet and not his mouth.

I need to do this online thing on his terms, not mine. So I’m going to spend some time (as much time as it takes) asking him what that means practically speaking.

And I’m anticipating that I will screw up A LOT over the next few days, weeks, months. Your grace and patience would be a balm to my soul.

I’ve had a rough 24 hours. And I know from experience that getting my mind off myself means I need to take some other people to God in prayer. So I’d love it if you’d share a prayer need with me (either in the comments or e-mail).

And wouldn’t you know it, my back is aching, and my feet are asleep. That’s my cue.

78 thoughts on “good-bye me

    1. Dash

      Cogtranulations I’m really happy for you. What a privilege to be loved like this. I hope you have many happy and safe years of driving her..-= Sharon´s last blog .. =-.

  1. Holly B.

    Praying for you and your sweet family’s transition back into life at home, friend! Could you please pray for God to give me wisdom for little Anna’s naps? We’re having a hard time, so I’m trying to adjust things to help her sleep better…not easy. Also, I have an issue with my gums that hurts–heading to the dentist today. Merci, merci!

  2. K

    It’s amazing how God places things before us to make us realize how small our own troubles really are. After reading your post and your request for prayers, I thought I can do that. I have a list of “needs.” Then I read through just a few of the comments and realized how incredibly blessed I am.

  3. Pingback: Marla Taviano » get to the point already

  4. Katie @ Katie Without Restrictions

    I’m new here ~ I followed a link from another blog’s Facebook account to this specific post. What a beautifully written post. I think that it can be best to write from your heart, exactly as it comes out, before you have time to fix it up and make it “perfect.” I’m new to blogging, and my most recent prayer has been that God would use my blog to His glory and that I will remember not to use it to mine. I’m quite sure it will be an ongoing process. Thanks so much for opening up and keeping it real.

  5. valerie

    Marla, sorry, this is totally unrelated to this post, but I was so excited I had to tell you. πŸ™‚ Ever since you read Organized Simplicity and it was such an inspiration to you, I’ve been wanting to read it. I was hesitant to buy it, though, because I KNOW my track record with organizing! (hmpf) I saw it on Amazon yesterday for FREE for Kindle! I don’t have a Kindle, but downloaded the free app for PC, and then the free book! So excited, and can’t wait to dive in. Hoping it will inspire me to make big changes! πŸ™‚

    1. Marla Taviano

      I got it free too!! And I don’t have a Kindle either but hoping to get one in the next few months. I’m pretty sure you’ll love it. And the fact that she gets to the real heart of the matter makes organization much easier. And if it makes you feel better, my house is a WRECK right now, stuff from Cambodia everywhere. Sigh.

  6. Joyce

    Welcome home! I’ve so enjoyed your words and pics from Cambodia. Jet lag does funny things to a person so be kind to yourself for a while longer.

    Since you asked- my 17 yo niece has been battling an aggressive form of leukemia since August. She had a stem cell transplant three days before Christmas thanks to a random donor. She is now very sick with graft vs host disease and prayers are appreciated. Her faith is inspiring but she (and her parents) are utterly worn out. Thanks Marla…I will add you to my prayers too!

  7. C

    This past year has been a rough one with our two older daughters. They’re so not interested in God. Some of the pain is so personal that I can’t even put it in writing but the most current thing we’re going through is that our eighteen- year-old is pregnant. She has been considering marrying the father of her baby but right now that’s off the table for at least a year. We think that’s a good thing. However, I don’t want to stand in God’s way. He can do anything He wants–I just want my whole family to end up on our knees before Him.

  8. Jen Hanson

    Even in your “hot mess” angst, God uses you to inspire me (and a whole lot more people too). Just thought you should know that. πŸ™‚

    Prayer request: My bosses are dragging their feet finding my replacement and keep trying to get me to stay longer. I’ve already given them two-and-a-half weeks extra above my initial 3-weeks notice. Can you pray that I’ll stand my ground and put the needs of my family above the wants of a company I’ve already resigned from (but that I can do so with kindness so that I don’t burn bridges)? I keep trying to please bosses who won’t be my bosses anymore in two weeks and it’s silly because it’s causing stress on our home.

    Thanks cousin. Love you.

  9. brooke

    since its not about you, i’ll give God your hugs ‘n love mkay? {{{{marla}}}}} nevermind – i’ve got enough to go around πŸ˜‰

    my father was terminated from his job last week. he’s waiting to hear regarding the workman’s comp settlement. it took them 8 months to “release” him so waiting seems to have become his life. please pray for wisdom for he and my mom as they (at age 60) have to figure out how to proceed now that he’s (effectively) disabled.

  10. valerie

    Marla, I just love you. I’m just sure we would be friends in real life if we lived close to each other. πŸ˜‰ Thank you for boldly challenging me to work harder to get rid of the SELF in me and make sure everything I’m doing truly is for GOD’s glory, not mine.

    I would love your prayers. In lieu of a resolution this year, God is challenging me just to work to BE DIFFERENT, in pretty much every area. To examine my parenting, my marriage, my giving and serving, my homemaking, my job….and seek to be more like Him in all of it. A lot like what you’re saying – perhaps just with different words. It can seem so daunting and overwhelming, and I struggle to know what is my part and what is His part. Beth Moore said once, “There are some things that have to GO, so that we can GO!” And that’s what I want! All the things out that need to go so that I can go forward into what God has for me!

  11. Missy June

    Welcome home! I’ve been reading each day, loving the updates. It seems there is a constant struggle to know exactly how we are to live our lives and flesh out our faith – which is probably the way God wants it so we must stay connected to him.

    For me, my current struggle is boldness and authenticity on my little blog while still honoring my former spouse and father of my sweet children. The balance is tough and inevitably I step on toes. Is it healthy to avoid the subject matter all together? Or share freely with grace? It’s not always clear to me.

    Have a sweet day getting re-settled at home.

  12. Melissa Irwin

    I have prayer requests.
    1) safe journeys for my travel to Houston this weekend
    2) God to navigate His direction for my book (my first…and i’m almost finished with it…scary…oh and i haven’t approahced publishers yet)
    3) wisdom, patience & utter FAITH in Him in my leadership role with BFGO (a 501(c)3 I founded)
    4) for my oldest son (almost 23) to find a new church and start attending. he is an intellectual and teeters dangerously close to the edge of unbelief, IMHO.
    5) healing and restoration in my marriage

    I am praying for you too.

    1. Marla Taviano

      Wow, Melissa. That’s a lot for one girl to handle. So thankful God is there to shoulder your burdens! Prayed for you just now. Have fun in Houston! I was planning to go up until right before we left for Cambodia and I realized how over-ambitious that was. πŸ™‚

    1. Marla Taviano

      We just watched videos of Cambodia last night with my sis and bro-in-law. Missed you so much after watching you read the Christmas story and encouraging your boys to eat bugs. Need your prayers like crazy. Love you!

  13. Amanda

    I can relate in a lot of ways. I definitely have had to stop and reassess what I’m doing and why multiple times over the past few years. I think those times are so necessary and even precious, for they allow God to speak more clearly into how he wants us to go. He knows our heart’s intent, but sometimes we need a gentle redirection. Praying for you as you try and strike the proper balance!

    I just recently moved to a new city and am in the process of filling out job applications, many not directly connected to my field. Just hoping that favor would fall on the right job (and swiftly! And that I’d trust in God’s provision until it does).

  14. Lori

    Dear Marla….you are not alone! There is so much noise in our lives today. And the world is getting so good at being a marketing machine, it is harder and harder to discern what is good stuff to put into our brain and what to ignore.
    And I am going to boldly call you out on one thing….praying for others, while so obedient and noble, might be categorized as avoidance πŸ™‚ Unless it is a truly spiritual and mental renewing activity for you….which I totally think you deserve considering your transition back into American culture!!! (ignore that thought if I’m boldly on the wrong track and tell me to re-read James LOL!)

    Two things you can pray with me through this…

    #1 – I am doing new and different things through prayer, meditation, visualization – to slow down and spend more tangible time with Jesus LISTENING to what he has to say to me…..for every topic in my life including career stuff and facebook even.

    #2 – This is one of the topics I am bringing to him….What should be the “public me”? Jesus what do you want me to blog, tweet, pin, FB post, linkedin represent?

    So far this year one of the first clear statements Jesus made to me is this “Lori, because you follow me, your ways are not their ways and your goals are not their goals.” *tears, many, many tears* Thank you sweet Jesus!

    My first gut reaction to your post was “Dear God do not make her stop this blog. sometimes I don’t like what she says and does but I need to hear her to know you better. In some incomprehensible virtual way she makes me accountable to you God.”

    We may not like what we hear, but we know we must ask and then obey to find the Lord’s true joy for us.

    Hugs to you dear virtual sister in Christ πŸ™‚

    1. Marla Taviano

      I won’t stop blogging. No worries. And I see what you’re saying about the prayer thing, but I’m pretty sure it’s not avoidance. It opens my eyes and heart to other peoples’ lives and hurts and put my own into perspective. I’ve had a refreshing day talking to Jesus, and I even bought a $3.55 cinnamon dolce latte and shopped ALONE at the grocery store and Target. πŸ™‚

  15. Elizabeth

    Marla, you’re precious. You are without a doubt THE most honest, authentic, refreshing friend I have, and most of my friends are because it’s what I value most. You’re open to seeing the truth, and obeying what God wants you to do with it. I learn a lot from you. All that to say, your faults are part of you that are also refreshing because I resonate so much with them. Pride and self-centeredness, yeah I get those.

    Prayers for me? To do a better job supporting and lifting up my husband. It’d be so much easier if he’d just do things my way, but obviously that’s not the way things should always go. I just need prayer that I will let him lead and guide our family and trust him and the Lord to take us in the right direction.

    1. Marla Taviano

      I love you, E. Praying right now that God will help you support and encourage that sweet hubby of yours. I know he loves you like crazy, and I know God will bless your obedience.

  16. Teresa Henry

    I know that you have to do what God directs you to do. And I love that you can see the things that need to be removed or changed so that you can do the things that God is calling you to do. I love that you aren’t afraid to say what’s on your mind because many of us don’t out of fear. What ever you decided to do with your blog I will be forever grateful that I was introduced to the passion God placed in you! Many of the ideas, concerns, and biblical viewpoints that you have blogged about touched my life and helped me see things with new eyes. I am learning how to get rid of unneccessary things. I have read books I would never have known about. I wear my She has a name sweatshirt all the time but would not have know about it if it were not for your blog. I have laughed when I was on the verge of an emotional breakdown.

    God through you has brought joy to many! So be encouraged that if you keep blogging you have touched many. It is very exciting to see the move of God happening all over the world. I have often sat in my house not knowing what to do with what He is calling me to do. I don’t take action on His directions because I am afraid. I am inspired to stop sitting and start doing. Thanks!

    Thanks for blessing my socks off though your honest, raw, funny, and serious manner!!

  17. Cheryl Armstrong

    Thank you for being you! Thank you for stepping out of your “cold” comfort zone in Columbus to go to Cambodia and be the hands and feet of Jesus.
    I enjoy your blog so much and I am sure I will enjoy it in the future if that is what God lays on your heart to continue. Please pray for my son & I as he navigates growing up without an active earthly father and hopefully I can direct him to rely on his heavenly father for all things.

  18. Risha

    Thank you for your desire to go to the throne on our behalf. My husband has been looking for a new job for a year. While we are thankful that he currently does have a job, it is not one he enjoys and it leaves us a bit short financially. He recently completed his degree and is looking for something in the IT field.

    Thanks again for all your words of encouragement and your honest heart-sharing!

  19. beth lehman

    It is so hard to figure this out, isn’t it? Prayer. I do not do it enough. Your husband?! His comment? Precious. (not in a cute way.)

  20. holly smith

    First off, I am thankful for your soft heart towards God, my friend. I love it. Then I think, me, too! But where and how? So I’m asking God. Third, I have a God-sized request…. A few months ago, my Chris heard God speak to his heart, that he will help the company through this tight place and then he will leave for something ministry/ kingdom-building related. The time frame is probably six more months. Then? We don’t really know…we just know what God has revealed so far. Pray for us to be full of faith, discerning and following hard after God. Thank you, friend. We should talk on the phone sometime again πŸ™‚ love you!

  21. Anna

    Thank you so much your writing this, sweet Marla! I love your heart and your obedience. I spent the month of December unplugging from my Internet connections, too. Pinterest and Facebook were the first to go. Twitter may go next. My blog has been a source of frustration, too, bc it feels so me (& family)…and that feels gross. I’m praying for wisdom in that area. Please call or text so we can meet up soon. I feel I’m over that immediate postpartum mess and can make the drive!!! I love you and your family.

  22. Gaylene

    Thank you for your honesty, your openness and for the willingness to follow our Father. You are truly an amazing young woman. Prayers continue as your journey changes, as you grow in Him.

    For me, God has been taking me on a journey to obtain my doctorate. I am in the last part (writing my dissertation) and have lost my drive, even my desire to finish. Pray that I “get it” again, that I follow as the Father leads.

    1. Deborah

      I’m praying for you with that, too, Gaylene. I haven’t headed that direction, but I’ve met Overwhelmed And Don’t Care in other places. Our God is able. <3

  23. Gabe Taviano

    Your heart is an exciting thing. We all screw up with living life out how God intends, but I most enjoy being married to you because I know your heart much better than most people. Looking forward to living life with you through these next few months.

    You want to become who God wants you to be, not who others want you to be or how God might be shaping others. His hands are on your life, and you are fine with not shaping yourself! There are better days ahead for you – and for our family.

  24. Lisa Basner

    Your post really hit home with me. My goal for this year is to simplify. Simplify my home, my finances, my obligations, my life, my focus….everything. And to focus on what really matters – my Savior, my kids, home schooling, my family, my church home. While it’s easy to simplify the things you can see, it’s not as easy to simplify the things that don’t get seen. It takes discipline, both spiritual and physical, and I am praying for the grace and strength for both. Thank you for your humility and honesty.

  25. Deborah

    Definitely continuing to pray for you along the way. You know how to pray for me…I don’t know that much on any of that has changed. Please don’t fall over, but I will actually be Updating my Xanga πŸ˜€ (I still can’t call it ‘blogging’) on some things that will be more root/heart issues. I’m updating it today with some practical things, but I need to get to some root/heart issues, and I’ve been working it out in my head/on there, so you’ll see it one way or another.

    Praying for you. If you want a quiet house/different place to sort out your thoughts/feelings, I have hot tea, fresh coffee, a comfortable library and a Christmas tree that’s still up for ambiance if you want to stop by on a way to or from your sister’s house. And as of tomorrow, I’m out of it all day, so you’d have it to yourself (well, as well as the cats, but you can lock them in a room).


  26. Catherine

    Praying for you, Marla.
    Thanks for your honesty … and the encouragement to look at my own ‘online life’ and see what the LORD would have me change.

  27. ali

    If I had a nickel for every time God used you to inspire me, we’d both be mega rich. Wouldn’t that be awful? πŸ˜‰

    I love you, Marla Taviano. I love that God put you in my life (through my sister who assumed we’d like each other because we both have blogs).

    I love that you will be my friend forever. And ever and ever and ever. And I am beyond excited to see what God has in store for you and your family. He is so awesome.

    1. Marla Taviano

      I love YOU, Ali Hooper. And I WILL be your friend forever and ever and ever. Super sad that I’m not sitting in your kitchen chowing down guac right now. How is everybody feeling??

      1. Ali

        Everyone is healthy as of now. Praying it stays this way. Praying that awful bug does not attack Matt & Henry.

        Can’t wait to see you next week. Finally!

  28. Claudia Porpiglia

    You have to be obedient to God’s leading but from this side, I haven’t seen a ton of pride or self-seeking. Yes, once in a while but that is all of us. Your blog has challenged an encouraged me. You have helped me to rethink some really stinkin’ thinkin’. I will be praying that God shows you exactly what your next step is.

    You can continue to pray for the change that is coming in my life. This is my last week caring for children and that is a very bittersweet thing. Next week my family’s world is going to be turned upside down as I start the new adventure God has lead me to. On top of that, my son really wants to get into the Air Force as an officer an with the proposed cuts it isn’t looking good.

    Thank you for being you! Love you!

  29. Sharon

    Praying for you Marla! I have been thinking this past week how blessed I am to have found your blog through Joanne. I cannot tell you how many different areas of my life you have impacted. I say that to let you know that even if your motives are less than perfect 100% of the time, God is still using you. Hmm…to be very vague, we need some discernment and clarity on a medical situation.

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