GET FREE SHIPPING IN THE U.S. ON ALL ORDERS OVER $75

RECENT BLOG POSTS

The Process is The Point

 

It is always a little rough coming back down to reality after such a fun & motivating getaway.  It’s not that I don’t love my family or my life in general, but getting to connect with amazing women and be completely inspired while other people fed me delicious food, made my bed, and took care of my kids was pretty nice.

DIG DEEPER


Good or bad, habits require repetition. Once they become habitual, they become automatic: they no longer require extra thought—we simply do them. Embrace these 10 habits to really change your life!

GET MY 10 HABITS TIP SHEET NOW!

Of course the whole point of being inspired is to go and do something with that inspiration, so while it is all fresh in my mind, there are a few key nuggets I gleaned from She Speaks that I hope to apply, not just to my writing, but to my everyday life:

Be a blessing to others before seeking to be blessed

This point, given by Lysa TerKeurst on the last morning of our conference was in reference to marketing, but the wisdom of this statement can be applied to pretty much everything in life.  It hit me hard as I began asking myself some very tough questions:

Am I truly a blessing to those around me?  Am I spending the majority of my time seeking to help and nurture and assist those around me, giving of myself and my resources, without expecting something in return?  Am I selfless or selfish?  Graceful or impatient?  Self-focused or others-focused.

It makes a difference.

Life is full of opportunities to put ourselves first, to get a leg up and a head start.  We call it the American Way, that pull-ourselves-up-by-our-bootstraps mentality that pushes us to win at all costs.  Our society rewards those who are industrious and shrewd and self-congratulatory.  We call it determination and business-savvy.  We call it success.

If I’m being honest, I know it very often that mentality that drives me. What can I do to lift myself up, to promote myself or to further my cause, to gain another opportunity and to put another notch in my belt?  How do I get more people to like me, to follow me, to praise ME?

But when it all comes down to it, this life journey I’m on is not really about me.  It is about serving Christ and following HIS plan, doing HIS will, and showing HIS love.  And that means spending my time seeking to be a blessing rather than seeking to be blessed.

Turn comparisons into celebrations

This was another point that hit me hard, as I struggle daily with feelings of insecurity and self-doubt and jealousy.  I see others around me doing the most amazing things and I wish that I could be amazing too.  Sometimes I feel like I am completely surrounded by more talented writers, more successful bloggers, more attentive mothers, better cooks, savvier coupon users, more creative DiYers, more organized home managers, more faithful Christians, and I feel so inadequate.  Mediocre.  I could be so much more.

After an incredible heart-to-heart with a few absolutely amazing women, I finally understood–perhaps for the first time–that it’s not my job to compare.  My job is to discover not just who I am, but where God is leading me to go.  My path is not someone else’s, which means I can celebrate their triumph without feeling like I’ve somehow failed.

The truth is that everyone has their own doubts, their own struggles, their own pain, and just on the outside it appears someone has it all together and everything going for them, doesn’t mean that is necessarily the case.  We all in need of grace, compassion, and encouragement, and, as my husband so profoundly pointed out over coffee this morning, our focus shouldn’t be on those we want to emulate, but on those who we can help.

The process is the point

Patience has never been my strong suit.  When I want something I want it yesterday, and when I set goals for myself, I have a hard time seeing the value of the getting there.  I just want to check it off my list, stick my feather in my cap, and move on.

But life doesn’t always work out that way.  And in fact, sometimes through the process we find out we were striving for the wrong goals.

Very soon after I started writing this blog 3 years ago I set the goal of becoming a “Professional Blogger.”  I read the ProBlogger book 400 times, along with Professional Blogging for Dummies and 31 Days to Build a Better Blog and about a gazillion books on Search Engine Optimization.  I learned a lot.  I quickly realized that multiple blogs would help me reach my goals faster so I launched two more websites.  Soon I had an S-corp and multiple employees and a full-time job.  It seemed I was well on my way to reaching my goal.

If you were one of the 14 or so people who read this blog way back then, you probably noticed that I mostly only wrote about coupons and saving money, with the occasional DiY project, household tip, or party idea thrown in for good measure.  I rarely got too personal, and I certainly didn’t write about matters of faith.  God wasn’t really even on my radar screen at that point.

But God had a different plan for me.

While I was busy promoting myself and building my business, God was chipping away at my heart.  In fact, after this post–the first time I ever wrote anything super personal on this blog–my shocked husband said something to the effect of, “um, were you planning to let me know you had found God?”  I laughed it off, not knowing if I really had found God at that point.  It didn’t matter, though, because He had found me and wasn’t letting go.

The changes started slowly, with a few more personal posts popping up here and there.  I resisted taking it too far.  I didn’t want to alienate anyone or come across as a Bible thumper or religious whacko when I was still coming to terms with my own faith.

Then one day, I felt God very clearly tell me that I needed to tell my story.   I said no way.  In fact, I think hell no might have been more accurate.  I argued.  I pleaded.  I bargained.  I ignored. I didn’t want to go there, didn’t want to open myself up in that way.  My past was no one’s business.  No one wants to read about that stuff God, I said.  My readers just want savings tips and yummy stockpile recipes and cute craft projects.

But God was adamant, insistent, relentless.  This is why you’re here, He said, this is why I saved you all these years ago.  And so, with much foot-dragging, I wrote it all down, and with a horribly sick feeling in my stomach, I hit the “publish” button.  I thought that would be it.

But God wasn’t done yet.  He began changing my heart and slowly, without fully realizing it was even happening, my goals began to shift.  Becoming a successful professional blogger was no longer my main concern.  In fact, I started to see that in my eagerness to reach that goal, I had been neglecting the most important people in my life, and ultimately realized that I needed to make some drastic changes.  We started homeschooling and I sold my two most time-consuming websites, and began to seek financial peace instead of success.

The process was the point.

And as I move forward, the process is still the point.  In fact, it was the theme for the whole conference.  As Lysa pointed out, “God must develop our character to match our calling.”  He has to be able to trust is with the little things before he can trust us with the big things.

This year I truly feel God calling me to write.  Just write, He says, and I will give you the words to say.   It terrifies me, frankly, because putting it all out there makes me so vulnerable.  Every single time I publish a new blog post, all my insecurities come rushing back and I question why I even do this at all.  I am terrified that no one will read it, that no one will like it, that this shift in paradigm will simply be too dramatic, that you’ll all think I’m a talentless, self-righteous hack.  But it all comes back to this:  it’s not about me.

It has always been a dream of mine to write a book, but I honestly don’t know whether that is where God will lead me this year.  I have to be patient, and that is so hard.  I have to accept that all things happen in His time and not mine.  I have to understand that this is not about me.  I have to be a blessing before seeking to be blessed.  I have to turn comparisons into celebrations.  And I must have faith that the process–and not the end game–is the point.

 *   *   *

I’m curious where y’all stand on this subject.  Do you ever struggle with comparisons or feelings of inadequacy? Am I the only one who has a hard time embracing the process?

27 Comments

  1. Susan
    January 25 at 09:48AM

    As a long time reader I have definitely watched your transformation, and honestly it makes me want to keep reading now more than ever. I like the savings tips and craft stuff too, but these are my favorite posts, the ones where you let us see what’s in your heart. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there, and I just wanted you to know that I really appreciate what you do and how far you’ve come.

    • Ruth
      January 26 at 08:51AM

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment Susan, and thank you for sticking with me through the journey! 🙂

  2. Tara
    January 25 at 10:09AM

    I have never commented before but this post really spoke to me. I struggle so much with feelings of inadequacy, and also with not wanting to be patient and wait for God. This was just exactly what I needed to hear this morning! Thank you Ruth.

    • Ruth
      January 26 at 08:52AM

      Oh Tara, thank you so much for taking the time to comment and let me know. I’m so glad my words–really His words–could be a blessing to you!

  3. Barbara
    January 25 at 10:17AM

    Bravo – May God continue to speak through you!

    • Ruth
      January 26 at 08:52AM

      Thank you Barbara!

  4. Jess
    January 25 at 03:08PM

    Hi Ruth,

    While researching online on how to start seriously couponing I came upon this website and, reading your very useful guide, I learned how to do it step by step…in that matter, you were a huge blessing to me and my family because we really needed to save a lot!

    After I learned and practiced, I can honestly say that I have accomplished my goal and I wanted to thank you for the help.

    Now, I still read your blog, even though you don’t post about couponing anymore and I gotta tell you, so many of your posts have touched my heart in so many ways…I can honestly say that I struggle with everything you struggle (and maybe more) and I’m glad that you put it all out there because it IS a blessing to know that you are not alone in your everyday struggles, at least, it is for me.

    God bless you and your family always!

    • Ruth
      January 26 at 08:55AM

      Jess, thank you so much for your comment and for sharing your journey with me. It is so amazing to me to see how God has used such a simple and practical thing like coupons to truly touch lives. Congratulations on reaching your goals, and thank you for reading!

      • Jess
        January 27 at 01:37AM

        As I always heard my Mom and Grandma say, God works in mysterious ways!!! Thanks again!

        • Ruth
          January 28 at 07:28AM

          🙂

  5. January 25 at 03:40PM

    We are definitely our own worst enemies. I’ve been working on my photography business for a few years part-time, but now am feeling drawn to write. I plan on blogging more and am thinking of starting a new blog. But I hold myself back. I would also love to write a book someday, which is funny since I hated writing in school! 🙂

    As we grow and change we don’t have to hit the “do over” button necessarily. We just make a slight turn to the right (or left!) and head on a slightly different path. Change is necessary to grow. But it is scary too!

    Thank you for your posts and for opening up your life to us.
    Karen

    • Ruth
      January 26 at 08:58AM

      So true Karen! So often I think I’ve got it all figured out only to find out later I couldn’t have been more wrong. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I wish you the best in whatever direction you feel God pulling you to go! 🙂

  6. January 25 at 06:15PM

    Oh Ruth – almost been following you for two years now (wow!!) and I too have seen the transformation. You know we found you through couponing (thanks Hubs!!) but the “value” and “saving” I really have found has been through all of your beautiful posts and writing.
    I feel inadequate every day. This morning I almost deleted my post that went up after midnight. I’m still tempted to do that.
    End of day, write what is on your heart. And you do. Thanks (for like the 1000th time!) for always inspiring me.
    xoxo,
    Claire

    • Ruth
      January 26 at 09:09AM

      Oh Claire, you’re so welcome. And thank you for always being such an encouragement to me. Your comments really mean so much. Looking forward to finally meeting IRL at BEECH next week! 🙂 xoxo

  7. Angie Matthiessen
    January 25 at 06:51PM

    Not done yet, that is for certain….. He has many words for you to speak and write!! What a blessing!!

    • Ruth
      January 26 at 09:10AM

      Thank you Angie. 🙂

  8. Kristine
    January 26 at 12:45AM

    Ah, comparisons and feelings of inadequacy. Check and check. In fact, if I start to compare myself to you, I will definitely feel inadequate (lol).
    And ditto regarding the struggle with embracing “the process”. I’m like you and am ready for the end point, the success, the glory. But usually somewhere along the way to my “tower of victory” I get rammed off course and am forced to start over. “Hmm, fine – Plan B…or C…okay D….alright, maybe I’m doing something wrong”. Well by this point I’m ready to give up, until I read excellent stories (like yours) and learn mind-expanding things from the world that smack me in the face with the truth. My perspective shifts and my life evolves a bit.
    All this rambling to say that from the outside looking in, I think you’re making a difference. Keep up the great work!
    (another awesome blog you may like is http://www.momastery.com, if you haven’t stumbled across it yet – love it too).

    • Ruth
      January 28 at 07:34AM

      Kristine, thank you so much for your kind words. I totally feel you every step of the way! And yes, I have been on momastery.com–it’s great!

  9. Melissa
    January 26 at 09:30AM

    Oh Ruth, I just love ya! I found your site about 2 years ago for couponing and keep coming back because of what you share. I love how I can log off my computer and feel refreshed, inspired, closer to my Lord, and ready to share and be a blessing to others. Thank you for following His lead and for being a blessing to so many of us!

    • Ruth
      January 28 at 07:29AM

      Melissa, thank you so much for your sweet comment, and thank you for continuing to read!

  10. January 28 at 04:29AM

    Ruth, I came very close to unsubscribing to your blog a while back. I don’t remember exactly how I found it except that I had been looking at blogs and websites about ways to save money, particularly when it came to grocery shopping. I realized that I had subscribed to way too many newsletters and RSS feeds. Then I received the blog post about your story. I was riveted and couldn’t wait until your next entry. From that point on, I felt like and still feel like I am getting email from a friend.
    Yes, I love your recipes, your money-saving tips and your crafty ideas. I pass them along to my daughter. I am a grandma, just turned 68 so have no real need to homeschool or think of ideas to keep my grandchildren busy any more. The youngest is now 10 and the only one who still spends any time with me. I understand; I miss the other 3 and do my best to connect with them when they are available. The time I spend with my 10-year-old is precious to me because I know that in the not too distant future, he will be too busy to spend an afternoon with grandma too.
    So the point of all that is to say your personal comments, your spiritual walk, your honesty in your blog keeps me here. I love getting updates and seeing all the fun stuff you and your family do. I commend you for taking the challenge of homeschooling your girls. I think that as a Christian mother you are definitely doing the right thing for them. I so wish my grandchildren were homeschooled or at least in private Christian school, but they aren’t. I can see what public school is doing to their values and I hope that my input when I get to give it, makes a difference. Know that you are giving your girls a gift in homeschooling them; a gift that will only help them grow into strong, moral Christian women.
    So, yes, please continue being open with your readers. Continue sharing your shopping ideas, saving money tips, and crafts with us. 🙂

    • Ruth
      January 28 at 07:28AM

      Steph, I am SO glad you decided to stick with me! 🙂 Thank you too for sharing…it means so much!

  11. Lacey
    February 4 at 12:48PM

    Hi Ruth, I have to admit I love your blog for your DIY. I love all the crafts that you post that inspire me to be a crafty auntie when it comes time to babysit my nieces. Your post really do make me the “fun” Auntie. I dont really read what you write becuase I look for the craft pictures. Im not sure why I saved your blog post from 1/25/13 since it didn’t really have any DIY pictures of kid approved crafts. Although the Cinnamon Roll Waffles sure look good. It may have been your carfully chosen words of, “Blessing, Blessed, Process, and Point”. Right now I am struggling with life. I am facing a traumatic divorce from the man of my dreams and watching him ruin a life he has worked so so hard to build. And I feel he is the man who will forever hold my heart. And I ask God daily, “Are you going to tell me what your plan is? Are you going to show me a sign? Is what I am thinking what you are really trying to tell me?” I KNOW he is there, I KNOW I am on his time but I am sooooo impatient and confused. But while I continue to wait I do get his signs and I think I hear him. I believe your 1/25/13 email was a sign. I am going through this process for a reason. But I just would love an insight to his reasoning. Wouldnt we all?
    I have printed this post so that when I am comparing or feeling down I will reread this post and find strength to stop focusing on myself and look for Him and seek to be a blessing.
    I guess what I am trying to say is, THANK YOU for your blog. THANK YOU for your personal truth and courage to share. I find strength in your story and blog. Instead of looking at your pictures, I am now a reader and cannot wait for your next post. You have truly touched my heart.

  12. Erika
    March 5 at 12:11PM

    Thank you for this wonderful page. I have felt quite inadequate in sorting out my home coping with work and everything else. I have found this inspiring and are definitely going to start in my son’s room.

  13. March 12 at 11:15AM

    Thank you for sharing your heart. Found your blog on pintrest and read one article after another ask clicked through your site. This post in particular really resonated with me as I fight the process all the way to the end goal and yet still feel defeated and dissatisfied. Getting a reminder that the process is the purpose, that embracing the process is important, and I can breath while I walk versus race to the end of the path, helps me to embrace the freedom Christ paid for! Thank you! Keep being vulnerable and following His lead, pushing past the fears for COURAGEOUS women keep walking despite the fear 😉 you are COURAGEOUS!

  14. Vino
    June 15 at 10:53PM

    i’m blessed by this.. thank you so much,and may God bless you,You have been a blessing today.

Leave a Comment

COMMENT