I’ve been watching The Great British Bake Off recently, have you?
I’m sure anyone who has watched it in the last few weeks would know what the title of this post refers to! For those who haven’t, there is a contestant, Frances, who has been producing some truly beautiful bakes, but who is more often than not met with criticism from the judges, who claim she focuses too much on style over substance.
This has been resonating with me for a while now.
This blog has been a long time in the making. For over two years now, I have been reading other Christian women’s blogs, and felt that familiar pull on my heart that tells me God is calling me there.
But the more God wants something for you, the more the Enemy creeps in.
For as long as I can remember, I have loved to write. I guess I’ve always known that I was gifted in that area, and that I was called to use that gift. But over the last few years, I have encountered criticism and a deep sense of fear associated with writing. Whispers that tell me I am not as good as I think, that perhaps I am not a writer after all, that I have nothing new to say, nothing good to offer.
So as I contemplated starting a blog, and as I felt more and more it was the right thing to do, I started stalling.
Step 1 was research. I read as many blogs that contained what I wanted to write about as possible, in the hope that I may soak in some of the wisdom and talent, and that I may learn how to set up a blog and to keep it going. It got to the point where I felt I could run anybody’s blog…except my own!
So in came Step 2: buy a domain name. This required coming up with a title, so I stalled a while longer as I determined what would be the perfect name for my blog. Honestly, I never found it. I don’t think I ever would have. I was looking for something I would never find – a non-existant name that would allow me to stall indefinitely. Finally I got my husband to narrow the ever-growing list of names down for me. And so Life With Open Arms was born.
You would think that would be it. But no, I managed once more to stall. Step 3 was design. I spent ages researching and teaching myself how to design a blog from scratch, painstaking hours spent photographing, photoshopping, learning from YouTube and other blogs about PicMonkey, plugins and widgets.
But as I prayed through this ‘set-up time’, God spoke to me through an unlikely phrase: “Style Over Substance”.
So here it is: I am not quite finished, as I suppose I never really will be, putting together this blog. But I am going to take the risk anyway, I am going to choose substance over style, and let God do the rest.
He’s pretty good at that!