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Live Beautiful | Courtney Kirkland: Branding myself…

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Branding myself…

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Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
Live Beautiful | Courtney Kirkland: Branding myself…

Live Beautiful | Courtney Kirkland

March 9, 2010

Branding myself…

A lot of my favorite bloggy friends went to “Bloggy Boot Camp” this past weekend in Baltimore. I’m so excited because I’m planning to go to the one being hosted in San Francisco. It’s fallen in the same week that hubby graduates from A-School [just outside of San Francisco!} so I was planning on being there anyway! One of the things I read from some of the recaps, is about how important it is to brand yourself in the blogging community.

That got me to thinking. {And no, I didn’t hurt myself, in case you were wondering. :)  }

I was successful in switching over my domain and changing my name. I didn’t lose any followers or anything like that. I’ve found a blog design that I absolutely love, and have received fantastic feed back from. I’ve successfully started up a photography blog and I’m s l o w l y gathering followers there as well.

But I had someone tell me this weekend and had people tell me in the past that some of the things that I write are too negative and not appropriate for someone who is portraying themselves as a Christian. Not to start an argument or anything, but this kind of startled me.

For starters, I’m a very real person. I can’t stress that enough. And to be quite honest with you, I think one of the major problems people on the “outside'” of Christianity are turned off by the seemingly perfect, happy-go-lucky lifestyle some Christians portray. In fact, I know they are. I’ve actually read quite a few blogs here in the past, oh 2 or 3 months, that have addressed just that. That they feel unworthy and not good enough to be a Christian because of the way other true Christians present themselves.

If my negativity on certain offends you, then I deeply apologize. It is not my intention to ever offend anyone, especially not by blogging. However. I do feel that you are able to connect more and reach people on a deeper and more personal level if you are honest and open about the things that you struggle with. Life. is. not. perfect. And the sooner people STOP trying to pretend that it is, the better off everyone will be.

This post caused a lot of controversy over the past couple of weeks. {Sorry that you can’t see the comments. Disqus is working on bringing them all back where they got lost in the midst of me changing my domain name.} I have been told that I am cynical, depressed, too negative, and that these kind of posts portray Christianity in the wrong light. To be completely honest, I think all of that is a load of poo.

I grew up in a family where problems were thrown out on the table. There was no pretending. There was no hiding or shying away from things when they went wrong. If you had an issue, then you confronted it. Head on. Dead in the face. And you worked through things until you got them fixed. That’s the way my parents dealt with their problems, though they did leave the more serious stuff behind closed doors-as they should have-for the sake of my sister and me. That’s the way that Hubby and I deal with our problems. We confront it. We don’t hide things, we don’t cover things up, we don’t act like we are happy.

When people see us and we seem like we are happy and in love and totally content with life, it’s because we are. Because we deal with whatever issue is bothering us right then and there and don’t throw problems on the back burner. And that’s the way that we are raising Little Man. That’s the way I have been blogging, and the way that I will continue to blog.

People have bad days. Contrary to popular belief [on some peoples behalf] Christians have bad days. Christians struggle. Christians fail…sometimes miserably. Christians sin. There are Christian men and women who struggle with alcoholism, drug addiction, sexual sin, ‘potty mouth’, gambling addictions, depression, anger management issues, and the list goes on. Just because you are a Christian does not mean that you aren’t going to sin. For the sake of those who have created AA:

My name is Courtney Kirkland. I am a sinner.

It depresses me and frustrates me when someone who is a devout Christian has a bad day, slips and says things or does things that maybe aren’t ‘Christ-like’ in behavior, and their Christian brothers and sisters want to persecute them. {Note: this is a generalized post, not directed at anyone in particular, just for the record.}

I’m digressing a little bit, but I do have a point. And that point is in regards to my blog.

I know there is a lot of speculation and run of the mill rumors about MckMama. I’ve talked about her blog here before, and did a post several months ago where I invited others to pray for her son Stellen. While I know there is gossip all over the internet about their family, I have to say I admire her writing, as well as her husbands. She is a devout Christian and is very open and honest with herself and her readers about the things that she [and her husband] struggle with. Do some of their problems ever make me question her Faith or her relationship with Christ? No. In fact, quite the opposite. I am more reassured by it, encouraged by it and admirable of it because of her honesty.

It has never been my intention to sugar coat my life here. This blog was started with the intention of using it as a public journal. I have found it to be much easier to open my heart up to all of you and admit my mistakes and short comings. Because you are always there to offer support. I’ve made it through more of the struggles in my life because I was open about them, than I ever would have if I would have kept it to myself.

My faith in God is what it is.

I believe. I pray. I study my Bible. I feel God’s spirit convicting me when I sin. I feel led to write and do work in photography. And in each and every aspect of my life-be in my family or our finances or whatever-I am always quick to recognize that what I have has been given to me by God and God alone, and that he can take it away in a moments notice.

Now with that being said, I also say this:

I’m a sinner. I have days where I struggle significantly with a low self esteem and self doubt. I worry sometimes about stupid things, like the fact that I may ‘run my husband off'.’ {Not that he has ever given me a reason to think that. Just my own selfish sin and worry.} I can be greedy and materialistic. I can be selfish. I have been known, in the past, to have a terrible temper that at times can not be controlled. I have a wild streak that was excessively prevalent during my college days. I battle depression off and on [though haven’t dealt with it in months because of my growing faith.] I have been told that I can come across as arrogant, when in reality, I am just shy. There is a whole entire list of things that I struggle with every single solitary day.

Some of my posts may read as ‘negative’ or ‘un-Christ like.’ And if they come across that way to you then I am sorry. But I won’t change my style of writing. I won’t change the fact that I believe I am doing more people a favor by being myself and being open and honest about things that hurt me, bother me, frustrate me, make me mad and cause me to stumble. As someone said to me earlier, I have a lot of followers. And I care about each and every single one of you. And I feel like God has put me in the position to impact, influence and encourage you. And frankly, I would be lying if I made out like my life was perfect. Like I didn’t struggle. Like I was the epitome of Christ. Because I’m not. I strive to be. But I’m human. And I fail. Sometimes miserably.

This is my blog branding. While you are here if you feel that you aren’t alone in a situation, or that maybe you aren’t the only one who has ever questioned yourself or your marriage or your whatever, then I have done my job. I have created the sense of unity that I intended to create. Life is too short to pretend every single day. I won’t do it. I won’t sit here and blog about my perfect life or my perfect marriage or my perfect child or my perfect whatever. Because they makes you resent me for being so obnoxious, and it’s a lie.

It’s my hope that people who aren’t Christians read my blog and realize that they can have what I have. The certainty and the promise that no matter what they do, no matter what they’ve been through, no matter how lonely or scared or depressed or miserable they are: there is HOPE for a better tomorrow. Because I’ve been there. And to be honest with you, the people that I looked to the most during those rough patches and during the darkest moments of my life, were people who were real. People who admitted their mistakes and their short comings; who openly talked about the things they struggled with and the sins they battled. By doing that, by putting it out there, we are opening ourselves up for encouragement and support from our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

You’ll always get the ‘real’ of me. I can promise you that. We’re all sinners. And I have no intention of ever hiding that.

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