Focus on the Raisin, Grasshopper [Guest Post from Jennifer Luitwieler]

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I’m so happy that Jennifer Luitwieler (a.k.a. JLu <JAY-loo>) is a part of this series. Enjoy her contribution, ’cause it has shiny, raisiny goodness!

Focus on the Raisin, Grasshopper

I can’t be the only blogger who busies her little, under-used brain with the large readership of other, far cooler, infinitely more talented blog-keepers out there. On any given day, I’m like a newborn baby, at the mercy of unsophisticated muscles, clicking link after distracting link. Every flash in my periphery forces a jerky turn of my head: Oooh! Shiny!

Just last week, I dragged another writer down my little rabbit hole, concerning myself with a third writer’s blog, a huge machine of success. I dashed off emails of indignation. I fretted about my voice and my readership. I was all in a huff about so-and-so; the volume of comments, the internet buzz about the writing, the name-dropping. My value, in my eyes, dropped lower and lower and lower.

Then, I remembered the raisin.

As young, dumb parents, we lived according the prophets as written in What To Expect Your Baby’s First Year. They promised that our delightful child prodigy would be able to focus on a raisin. Our child, genius that she was—and is— did not disappoint. She focused the heck out of that raisin. I mean that kid held the shriveled fruit in her bright, blue-eyed gaze with laser focus. She saw that raisin and she knew that raisin.

A newborn baby, sweet little mewling blob, cannot control her eyes or arms. She is at the mercy of her reflexes, guided by little more than hunger and comfort. But as she grows, she develops. Synapses fire, allowing her to do new things, like focus on a raisin. Make no mistake, it is hard to focus on a raisin, yo.

When I dragged my friend into my blogger drama, I lacked laser-raisin-ninja focus. Let’s face it: Raisins are kinda “meh” in the midst of so many LOLcats. Instead of concentrating on developing the readership we DO have, the voice we CAN use, we fiddle around with a sort of blogger’s performance continuum.

It starts with hits and includes such esoteric measurables as readership, click-throughs, and shares. We count subscribers with the fervor of a money lender. We click REFRESH like an addict until our fingers bleed, craving the warm buzz of recognition. The knowledge that we are being read (or not) can provide either an overblown sense of self importance or a slightly pleasurable self-loathing. We bow to the arbitrary curve of the almighty Googlestats bell.

Truth is, my faith life is not much different. I am easily distracted by things that don’t matter, drawn into endless (pointless) debates, fretting over my importance in the larger Kingdom. I begin my prayer time anticipating a relational communique; before too long, I’m thinking, “I forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer.” Instead of proudly using the gifts He’s given me, I worry about how others are using theirs.

Fortunately, my Master has a ton of patience and a generous sense of humor. Besides, he put a developing brain in my thick skull, and a softening heart in my core. Paying attention to the raisin, the seemingly boring things like discipline, grace, and faith pays dividends in my faith, in my writing, and in my relationships. It’s not sexy. It’s not always fun, but the raisin is power, baby. The raisin is power. •

Jennifer Luitwieler wrangles The Dog, a cat and 3 perfect angels who adore her and find her to be the best homeschool teacher ever in the universe. When she is not filling their spongelike brains with limitless knowledge, she wrangles ideas into sentences with an imaginary golden lasso. (Of course it’s imaginary. No one has a real golden lasso.) She writes on crafts and sports in monthly columns. Her first book, “Run With Me: An Accidental Runner and the Power of the Poo,” was released in 2011. You can find her at http://jenniferluitwieler.com, on twitter @jenluit and Facebook.com/jenluitwieler

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9 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Focusing on the raisin is HARD sometimes. Good thing He gave us a developing brain (I’m pretty sure He included a brain in my head), to learn and improve. The softening heart helps, especially when I need to be loving someone who is particularly unloveable. 

  2. Nita, it is HARD to focus on the raisin. Thank goodness for grace and do-overs! 
    Ed, thanks for reading. Sometimes I feel like that dog from the movie UP: “Squirrel!”

  3. Oh, I fall prey to the depression of the little audience all the time. Why does this person have more facebook fans or twitter followers. And every time it grows, I look at the NEXT person I’m not as big as. Cuh-ray-zee.

    And yeah, when it comes to faith, I’m kind of all over the place as well. Which isn’t helpful for anyone.

  4. I just focus on knowing what I have to say is my truth, and nurturing my passion for writing and knowing that the stats are not a validation of who I am. There is so much more I could do but I do other things and concentrate on the writing. If I fret about anything it’s the technology that baffles me.  

  5. I love this analogy! Especially because “I [lack] laser-raisin-ninja focus” too. Thanks for sharing this struggle so honestly. It inspires me to have the discipline and trust to break the unhealthy cycle.

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