The Conlectio Newsletter
Do You Care What People Think?
Image item
Undaunted we remain where suffering is certain
and unwanted gospel by heartless world is left;
even as we brave it, fierce in our conviction,
we find a love much stronger with the grieving and bereft.
The story of our saving, in the going and the telling,
will disciple every nation to the kindness of our King,
and we will keep on speaking – keep on teaching, keep on walking – 
until all people know Him and lift one voice to sing:
Holy, holy, holy,
Glory, glory, glory, 
You are the One who is to come
and evermore shall be.
The Commission, PDM.
 “Do you care a lot about what people think on here?”
This was a question in today's Ask Anything on Instagram.
It was a puzzling question. I answered it as best I could. And I thought I'd answer more thoroughly here because I think some of you might relate to my sentiments.
When asked, “do you care what people think?" I would have to say no - and yes. No, I don't care if people approve of my decisions. I have come to them with a lot of research, time, thought, prayer, and counsel from people in my real life. There is an adage, “Don't take criticism from someone you wouldn't take advice from" and when it comes to the online world, I think this is true. The criticism of someone who doesn't know you, and maybe doesn't like you, bears a lot less weight than the loving critique of someone who knows you well. For instance: Years ago one of my “frentors” (friend-mentors) corrected me for how I talked about myself and my difficult-at-the-time marriage. It wasn't until she was gone I realized she had actually rebuked me – it was that loving, but also that true.
But online, it's different. People think they know us but don't. People become commodities; we are no longer human - we are products to review:
“I saw she followed this person so I unfollowed her.”
“I didn't like what she said in her stories so I was just done.”
“She makes me feel inadequate. Unfollow. Dislike."
If those of us who minister online allow this behavior - “what people think” - to dictate our value, we lose our minds. I can testify to this because I've tried it. Every time I have allowed popular opinion to lead me rather than the Spirit, I have experienced an overwhelming anxiety that destroys joy, peace, and fruitfulness. I have struggled to discern the line between humility, or teachability, and the absorption of unrequested opinions from tens of thousands of people. I have concluded that I cannot care what people think because I cannot care what they think and also care what God thinks.  A multiplicity of human opinions always fogs up the glass of God's will.
This influx of opinions poses another problem, one that applies to all of us. The more opinions we give weight to – the more we operate in people-worship – the more we devolve into a paranoia I call “hater-consciousness”. If someone disagrees with us, they're a hater. If someone has valid questions about our choices, they're a hater. A hater-conscious person is a martyr of her own making. She speaks loudly of haters because she cares so very much about people's opinions, she will obsesses over the good ones or trumpet the bad ones. This is exactly what happened to King Saul in his spiral with David (1 Sam. 10-31). Saul could not rejoice with David's successes because they weren't his own (1 Sam. 18), tries to kill those he sees as a threat (1 Sam. 19) and even vents his anger on those close to him in his paranoia (1 Sam. 20). At the root of Saul's unstable leadership was not fear of the Lord, which leads to wisdom, but a deep and abiding fear of man and man's opinions.
Image item
I also answered “yes” to caring about what people think, so let's get to that part. It has to do with hater-consciousness.
I have seen that caring too much what people think will lead to this kind of paranoid, unstable leadership. I don't want that for myself, my team, or my family. I pray daily that God will grow me in maturity and security so this is not the legacy I leave.
I do not want to live in a state of whiplash over opinions, but I do want to be a good steward of the influence I have. And for that reason, I care - not about what people think of me, but about what they think in general.  I care about the struggles, burdens, and questions of the people I have somehow been blessed to lead. (And I do lead - I used to question that. But I know that now. And accepting it has given me a sober view of my responsibility.) I have to care about the burdens of the “little ones” God has asked me to steward along His way. I am just one tiny piece of your journey with God. I am no guru, not your pastor, not some spiritual giant. But if you're reading this, I have influenced you in some way to be in this space and I am responsible for what I did with that.
When I, or anyone, live in a state of hater-consciousness to protect my own vulnerable heart, I have to be extremely dismissive to the burdens of those I serve. I have to build a shell in order to protect myself. I have to gather the ones who agree and push away the ones that don't. But what if the ones that don't… are the very ones I need to reach? Hater-consciousness destroys good ministry. Or more simply put: self-focus does not disciples make.
So I do care. I care because knowing the burdens and struggles of those who I seek to comfort and disciple with my words is, perhaps, the kind of care Jesus felt when He looked at the crowds and saw sheep without shepherd. Most of you are not in that place; you have good shepherds and good churches. But some don't. And some of you are serving those who don't. 
The vision I have for this community is one of deep knowledge and even deeper intimacy with God. I believe there will be no reformation of the church - no reshaping, rebuilding, bettering of it - if a revival does not come first. There must be an awakening of hearts and minds for there to be an awakening to action. Revolutions without revival inevitably end in spiritual guillotining; that's where we are now. People-pleasers trying to end people-pleasing by killing people with words.
There really is a better way. A way of freedom; not freedom to scorn people's opinions but to live for His, and by doing so to care for the burdens of the people He loves.
To that end, I don't have much to offer beyond a bunch of books and an unrelenting belief that God is kind, real, and good, but I'll hand that to you if I can.
What I'm Reading 
  • Christianity and Liberalism by Machen: Excited to start this classic from the early 20th century.
  • John Wesley's Sermons: This anthology was a Thriftbooks find.
  • The 12 Week Year: I am not big on self help books, but this has been helpful for us in structuring our company goals and plans.
  • Speed Reading by Kam Knight: Super practical and helpful for any reader! I included some of his tips in the Bible in a Year Club.
  • Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt: This is a classic for homeschoolers and I am enjoying it!
And still reading:
  • Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend 
  • The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
  • The Care of Souls
  • On Christian Liberty by Martin Luther
  • In His Steps
What I'm Loving
  • Monk Manual: I can't believe I am saying this… but I decided to pause on using my beloved Full Focus Planner for the first quarter of this year. This is not a permanent break up; just a pause! I am going to see if I like the more slow-paced, introspective nature of Monk Manual and then decide if FF is the way I want to go. I still used my Powersheets to plan my goals for the year and while Powersheets don't jive as nicely with MM as they did with FF, they do still work. 
  • Our new family rhythms: On our annual planning getaway Josh and I decided to make some big cuts to our family schedule and routines. We knew we wanted to cut back screen time for everyone; we wanted more space to just “be home”; we were stretched thin by the amount of people we interact with in a given week (multiple morning meetings, employees coming and going, communication for work all day, plus parenting and homeschooling). ALL are amazing things but we needed to make some changes. A few things we are doing:
    • Theme nights: Basically just deciding ahead of time what our week nights are for. When something else comes up, our “decline” will be to protect that night - even if we are just at home. Mondays are a free night - we can do whatever we like. Tuesdays are small group, Wednesdays are hobby night (pursue whatever hobby you're working on) Thursdays are game night, and Friday is hosting night. Saturdays are our family movie night and Sunday is when we meet to plan the week.
    • Phone dock: We have a charging station but somehow our phones grow legs and find us! We have committed to putting our phones away from 5-8 PM each evening on the dock.
    • Firm bedtime: Due to a lot of different, undesirable circumstances in 2022 we got out of our early morning habits. We really need mornings to get up before the kids and prioritize workouts and the Word, so Josh and I have a firm bedtime of 10 PM. We are helping each other stick to it!
Image item
On the Farm
  • Winter Storm Elliott smashed us with 60 mph winds and a lot of snow. Here's a little glimpse of just one drift near the barns! (above)
  • New favorite cookbook for whole food eating: Earlier in 2022 I tried Country Life Foods and bought a bunch of wheat and spelt berries to grind at home. I've been doing this since then and while I liked it, a lot of recipes seemed designed for white flour (which I haven't used in years). My go-to on this topic is my friend Jami Balmet of Finding Joy in Your Home. She just released a new cookbook for grinding grains at home and cooking/baking from scratch - and you bet I bought it right away! She bakes with spelt like I do, so all her recipes are the perfect proportions. *This is for the person who wants to have more control over the ingredients in her food and is willing to do more work to make that happen. Grab it here. 
Image item
In Our Homeschool
  • Easing Into School: I read everything Jamie Erickson puts out - books, blog posts, emails - and I read several posts she had on her blog about easing into the school year. While we didn't take a long break (about 2 weeks) Christmas just messed everyone up, probably because of the four days we were locked inside during winter storm Elliott! We are doing simple morning basket routines this week plus our outside time; lots of read alouds too: Little House in the Big Woods, Beatrix Potter, and The Complete Railway Collection (original Thomas the Tank Engine).
  • 1000 Hours Outside: Ginny Yurich is the blogger and podcaster who made this idea famous! I downloaded one of her free outside-time trackers and the app as well. Adeline is very motivated by check lists, so the tracker is a great visual for her. I know that my own attitude and health is so much better when I go outside for 20-30 minutes each day, so I'm making an effort to do this with the kids. January 1st saw us all going for a walk and having an impromptu snowball fight in what's left of our 5 foot drifts (not much… it's been 50 degrees!) Today we went for a walk and got to see where a beaver took down several trees - Addie brought her journal to draw pictures of what we found (above).
for the awakening, 

More from Instagram