Community. Conversation. Connection.

I’m Not Popular

I never have been actually. It’s not that I don’t have friends, but it’s always been a smaller group of close friends instead of 100 people.

I don’t have the charisma that makes everyone fall silent or gravitate toward me when I enter a room (virtual or “real”). I don’t command attention with my physical presence.

This blog is no exception. There have been times where I had more visitors and more subscribers and times I’ve had fewer, but I’ve never inspired a rabid “fan base” that would follow me anywhere. People come and people go for the most part.

Not that I haven’t tried to build something. I’ve read posts from other bloggers–“popular bloggers, of course– who shared with me the secrets of crafting your posts and presenting your blog so that everyone comments, subscribes, buys your e-book, and washes your car (maybe not the last one).

There’s nothing wrong with that–reaching more people and expanding your influence. I didn’t take all their advice, but I took what I could. In the end though, I felt kind of ragged and rundown.

As long as I would keep it all up and going a mile a minute, I would see some slight results (nothing drastic), but once or if I stopped, I would see an immediate decline.

I’ve come to the conclusion that besides not acting popular, I don’t think like a popular person.

I know you’re supposed to be topical–like weigh in on the royal wedding or the death of Osama Bin Laden, but I rarely even consider writing about such events (and I’m not saying that those who do are only trying to be popular). The problem is I’ve too many times equated popularity with perfection or as my goal. That’s in life, in blogging, or anything else. But I’ve worked like a maniac before and still not become popular. That perfectionist streak can throw me off quickly. It’s not realistic.

What happens is that my sense of worth inevitably gets tied up in how ‘successful’ this project or that project is. For biblical self-worth, we need to see ourselves, others, and God correctly.

4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. –Romans 12:4-5 (Emphasis Mine)

If you’re the kind of person who attracts people in life or to your blog without even trying then God bless you. There have been times in my life (and probably again later) where I’ve been jealous of you for this, but it doesn’t change what God has called me to do or be (or you).

We do all belong to each other.  Nowhere in scripture does it indicate that the pastor with the biggest church wins, the bloggers with the most subscribers overcomes, the person with the most influence in business receives God’s best.

I already won, overcame, and received God’s best. Nothing can change that. I may never be popular by anyone’s standards, but I know God has touched people’s lives as I share mine and that’s all I can hope for.

I want excellence in all these things, but I can’t achieve something I’m not made to be. I’m not popular, and maybe for the first time, I’m really fine with it.

How about you? Are you the popular person or have you tried to be? What’s the result? Do you think everyone can be popular with hard work or do some just have a different calling/mindset?


Over at Faith Barista, Bonnie Gray is hosting a blog-and-comment discussion of “keeping faith fresh.” This week’s discussion is on dealing with perfectionism.

50 Comments

  1. Two part comment:

    1) You are popular with me. If it weren’t so expensive to get up in your neck of the woods, I would drop in and buy you your drink of choice (chocolate milk, coke, or that nectar of heaven: coffee). Stay true to who you are in Christ Jesus and His calling. It is all that matters.

    2) I always described myself as the reject. The nerds would not even allow me to sit with them in high school. I compromised who I was to become who I thought people would like me to be… and it worked, for a very short time… and then it didn’t anymore. Now I am just me.
    Dusty Rayburn recently posted..Blind Guides Lead to Dangerous MistakesMy Profile

    • I appreciate that Dusty. I almost put in the post that I’m not writing this trying to elicit a pep talk, but I am being honest. :)

      For me, I went to a small Christian high school and I had popular friends and though I was liked I had no real identity beyond them and it messed with me. I know what you’re talking about. “Just me” is a beautiful thing to be. :) Thank you again!

  2. Not real sure if I am popular or not…my blog surely isn’t. I don’t really try to be though…the expanse of my reach breathes in and out. This rhythm I believe is God’s way of working through my life.

    BTW, you’re a blessing in my life…

    • Yeah, I can definitely see God working in me through it all just like you said. And you are a blessing right back, Jay. Thanks so much.

  3. I love you man. And no I’m not popular in the blogging or life. I used to be as a kid, but not so much any more. And I’m cool with it.
    Michael recently posted..Shut Up For A MinuteMy Profile

    • I love you too, Michael! I believe there really has to be a grace so we can be ourselves--who God intended and created us to be. Thanks for championing that cause.

  4. I am not a perfectionist by any stretch. I do try to have things fairly “clean” when they represent me or the church, however, I am not one who strives to be popular. Not any more. i ran that rat race for far too long. Read all the blogs that tell you how to have a popular blog. got my head spinning. I am happy in my world…and glad you are a part of it. Hope it will be for a long time. Thanks jason for your thoughtfulness.
    bill (cycleguy) recently posted..DeerMy Profile

    • There are those that I’m definitely closer to and you are one of them, Bill. You bless and encourage me in such amazing ways so I don’t see me going anywhere (not on purpose anyway).

  5. Sorry to break the bromance goin’ on here, guys. ;) LOL. Popularity is so very unreliable -- and I’m always amazed by how Jesus could work so hard to share His love and touch people, yet know that our love wanes. He is my ultimate Hero. I love how your posts are considerate of others, yet encouraging with the truth, Jason. You’re so right. You already overcame. God loves us. There is no bigger victory than this!
    Bonnie Gray | FaithBarista recently posted..The Top 5 Lies of Perfectionism Starting New Principle 3My Profile

    • I thought about Jesus as I wrote this (that’s a good thing to do I know!). He was both popular in his life and decidedly unpopular but it never changed who He was or what He was meant to express in the earth. That’s the bottom line. We can’t chase after popularity and Jesus. They may diverge for a little while, but they aren’t best friends. Thanks for the encouragement, Bonnie. :)

  6. Jason.

    Something that has been on my spirit, as well. I am digging that you are writing about it here.

    Here’s the Scripture I have had come to me time and again in regards to being popular or well-received:

    “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.” Proverbs 27:6

    I hope this ministers to you, or speaks to you, as it did to me. There is so much unspoken wisdom in this particular Scripture.
    Donald Borsch Jr recently posted..Church this side of Heaven- The Foundation Part 2 House ChurchMy Profile

    • Donald, that’s a good word and yes, I receive the encouragement of it. I really appreciate your sharing here. That alone blesses me tremendously. Thank you.

  7. I was NEVER popular in school -- the only reason I was accepted with the group sometimes was because I could sing -- and was in the top groups in my high school. I have always been an outsider. Still am. Can never seem to fit in with the popular group. And you’re right about blogging. It needs to be about why we’re doing it -- not fancy ways of attracting readers or comments -- they all end up failing in the end and it IS exhausting! I write because it’s for me and me alone -- doing what I feel God is speaking to me at the moment and I try to put blinders on for all of those all around me with thousands of comments and readers. Being authentic with what we are -- popular or not -- that is the only thing that matters. And you can be in my group if you like :)

    • I would be honored to be in your group! Thank you Cindy. It’s all about trusting and obeying Him, isn’t it? Can’t escape it.

  8. Here’s something weird. When I was a kid growing up I was always such a freak. Mixed race kids are common these days, but not when I was growing up in rural Virginia then later Texas. All I ever wanted was to fit in. To be like everyone else. It wasn’t until I decided I was supposed to be exactly what God made me to be and stop caring so much about what other people thought of me that this strange thing happened. I had the attention I always wanted, but I find myself not really caring about it one way or another. Does that make sense at all?
    katdish recently posted..Conflicted RepostMy Profile

    • Yeah, it does. And you’re right, the things I’m most comfortable in are the places I could be perceived as “popular” but that’s because of God’s gifting and that He walked me through a big, long process to get me there. I definitely can’t say I’m comfortable being myself 100% everywhere I go and everything I do, but that’s what people always respond to. You make a great point, Kat. Thanks.

  9. In my little area of the world , I am known by a decent amount of people. Mostly because I live in the same area where I, my parents, my grandparents, my great-grandparents and so on all lived. But I am not popular, really. Being known does not equal being popular. I think it is the reason that you gave--I don’t think like a popular person. What I do want to do is use what I have to point people to Jesus.
    seekingpastor recently posted..Prophetic Thursday- Thirty-One CopycatsMy Profile

    • Yeah, amen on that, Matt. Whatever influence we hold, may we turn it over to Jesus and allow Him to shine through. Thanks man.

  10. I know that as a blogger, there are moments where I find myself not so much wanting to be popular but getting my blog out there so that others could read why I am so passionate about God and to inspire them.
    In those moments I have to check myself and ask, “am I doing this for me or God?”
    The answers comes back God and then the need to be popular is out the window because I realized that if I build it, God will find a way to bring them.
    It’s for Him, His glory that I write not for myself.
    What would He want me to say to others to help them understand my passion for Him? what would He want me to share so that they could see how He has touched my life and what He is teaching me in my walk with Him?

    I have read a lot of blogs and there are those that write for God and those that write for themselves.
    As bloggers, Christian bloggers, we have a responsibility to those that follow us. The responsibility is that we are walking with the Lord. I know its not going to be perfect but we have a responsibility to make sure that what we are putting out there is of God and not of the worldly.
    As bloggers does our blog reflect God and His word? Our walk with Him?
    What I write, is it a reflection of God and His Word? Does it reflect scripture?
    It’s important because people are listening to what we are saying, some will care others not but for those that do, we will leave an impression, even if it’s one person, what kind of an impression do we want to leave? What will God say if He were standing beside you reading your entry before you hit “post”, does it reflect My Word, Me?

    Jesus was popular for all the wrong reason ( people wanted to see miracles but did not believe he was the Messiah) but he never tried to be popular nor did he care if he was, he was there to do God’s work and to him that’s all that mattered.

    • That’s really the essence of it--what is the motivation because it does matter. It can shift so easily and subtly if we don’t pay attention. I do want to reach more people because I feel like God is doing something in my life worth sharing, but like you said, my responsibility is to share and obey Him not try to make it all happen. I’m terrible at thinking God is too slow! That’s me being honest. :) Thanks so much Ingrid--wonderful perspective.

      • Do (add 21 ‘o’s’ to that) (: I hear you about the slow part…He certainly does take His time when we want things to run along … You are doing great….

        • :)

  11. and PS….I really like your blog and what you have to say about your walk with God…. it’s thought provoking and inspiring….

    • You didn’t have to say that, but I appreciate that you shared it. :) Thanks again Ingrid.

  12. This is exactly why I like your blog. You speak the truth, because it’s the truth--not because it is going to tickle ears. Popularity is over-rated. Hmm…”A man of many friends comes quickly to ruin.” Please keep writing…for all the right reasons!

    • Brenda, I really appreciate that. I do my best to speak the truth in love, and it’s always related to what God is speaking or doing in me at this moment. I really want Jesus displayed and glorified! Thank you so much.

  13. God uses us where we are, and he uses us for a very precise purpose and in a precise way. He knows what he’s doing, even if we have to wonder and worry about it. You’ve been more a servant and an encourager than you realize through your blog here. And I know that -- because it’s helped and encouraged me.
    Glynn recently posted..The Worst Century EverMy Profile

    • That’s awesome, Glynn. I know it’s true, I just need reality checks every once in a while. :) Thank you so much.

  14. A lot of my struggle with “popularity” has to do with trying to find my self-worth through the approval of others. As I continue to learn to live for an audience of One and learn what He thinks of me it is freeing.
    Kevin Martineau recently posted..7 benefits of confrontationMy Profile

    • I hear you, Kevin. I just started re-reading The Search for Significance (which I’m pretty sure you’ve read too) and it amazes me how much I still struggle with this. It may be a book I need to read regularly! That’s okay though. It’s really that important.

  15. Jason: Judging by all these great comments, sounds like you are pretty popular to me. I could really relate to this post. I was always in awe of the popular people, still am a bit. It amazes me how some people can just walk into a room and almost instantly draw people’s attention.

    But then, we all have a bit of our own brand of magic, and with God we are all equally “popular.” We already have God’s stamp of approval! Lori
    Lori recently posted..Set your mindMy Profile

    • I thought of that as I wrote this. I may not get the most comments or as many as I have in times past, but the majority of ones I get are very thoughtful and inspire great conversation. I can’t take that lightly!

      And I may not have a natural charisma, but I do have His anointing that draws people to me and at the end of the day, I won’t complain about that at all. Thanks so much, Lori.

  16. Ahhhhh… a real conversation. What a privilege to read. This is a little scary, but I’m going to say it anyway… growing up, I needed to be popular so that I could feel loved. I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but girls like a lot of attention. (ha) Being 9th out of 9 girls and one boy, it was survival of the fittest at our house. If you wanted to be noticed, you had to earn it… and in my family it was entertainment or comedy that got you attention. Those skills worked well in high school. But, just as some use shyness, rebellion or denial as a self-defense or survival mechanism, popularity can be used for the exact same reasons. It’s nothing but a facade, and very mind-bending. I spent my first 17 years working very hard to save myself and deem myself worthy of love, by trying to be ‘better’ than others. I absolutely cringe with sadness when I think of the people in high school I ignored or climbed over and hurt in my quest for ‘significance’. I was blind but now I see. I bet you can imagine my relief when I found forgiveness and true love in Christ. I thank God He saw my hurting heart, when my contemporaries only saw the funny girl.
    Now, fast forward 33 years and here I am blogging semi-anonymously after finding this world only a few months ago. I’m thankful for this place to express the gifts He has given me, to collect my writings for my kids, and possibly bring encouragement to others. I don’t want popularity… way over rated and way too much pressure from the wrong sources to perform for the wrong reasons. I don’t even like the “follow me” button words. Geesh! don’t ‘follow’ me! I would change the words, if I could figure out how. Wish it would just say friend me. I think the blog comments are God’s blessings that come from being faithful to use and share your gifts… not a sign of popularity. No one writes notes or cards in the mail much anymore…. this is like opening a mailbox with kind words of affirmation from God through his children. Keep up the good work… press in to what He has called you to. I’m just getting familiar with your site and I like the authenticity, it’s refreshing. (and, yes, I know I’ve babbled way too long… the gift of gab… I’m still recovering.)

    • Don’t apologize at all! I love your perspective here. Thanks for being so open and honest. It’s just always so funny because whichever side your on you convince yourself (or the enemy convinces you) that the other side is happy and you’re not. If you were just like that one… What a mess without the love and forgiveness of Jesus, like you said. Thank you so much, Patricia. I appreciate this immensely.

      • Bah! posted this last night and today I find all the photo icons of my “followers” are gone and there is no “follow” button! Now what was I saying about being followed? Divine intervention? What a sense of humor… Ha! wait… I mean hmmmmmm. (I have no idea how to fix this… oh brother!)

        • I see the follow button when I click over. Maybe it’s back now? :) Funny how these little things can cause us to panic right? Ha! Thanks Patricia.

          • Phew! … crisis averted.

  17. I don’t think like a popular person, either. My non-popularity has served me well. I don’t chase after approval because I know that no matter what I do to attract people, it won’t last because--fundamentally--I’m not popular. But I am happy.

    • That’s such a huge thing. It’s such a gift to be ourselves--who God made us to be! Thanks Megan.

  18. I think you hit a nerve here, Jason.

    When I was a cop, I understood I couldn’t change or fix even my corner of the world. I told myself I would be content to believe that what I did made a positive difference in the life of one person per year.

    The scant blog following I have makes me question nearly every time I sit down to do a post if the investment I make to online ministry is worth it. And I remind myself, over and over, it’s not about numbers, not even one person a year. It’s about going back to God as often as necessary and asking Him if I’m a faithful steward of what He’s entrusted to me. I want to take a break. But in the end, I know I’ll keep doing whatever He says and trust Him for the outcome and the rest.

    • Amen…

    • Well, I know you bless me much more than I get time to tell you and participate over at your place. Your passion for the Word and for Jesus is inspiring to me. So thank you for that, Anne!

  19. There are times that I have so wanted for everyone to like me to be the popular guy, but I found it to be too much work. I know it’s cheesy and unoriginal, but I find it far less exhausting just being me, and the people I need tend to hang around that. If I write something and no one ever reads it, I am still satisfied with what God allowed to be poured out of me. I’m glad to be a part of your life and you in mine even if neither of us becomes very popular.

    • And that’s a very good thing. Thanks Philip. :)

  20. I had dreams of a popular blog at one time…and it’s always good to get feedback, to be encouraged, to be appreciated…But now: well, my blog is far from perfect, it hasn’t made me ‘popular’ (which is a good thing -- I’d never have time to keep it up!) -- so I just write for me. The things God gives me. And, sometimes, I just like to write little comments on other people’s wonderful thoughts. That’s good enough for me.

    • Well, I appreciate that, Angie! God bless. :)

  21. I’m a fan of yours anyways. I like the way that you think. I think popularity doesn’t really belong to the Christian, since we’ve all supposed to be low-keyed and not act like a clown…but then again, the rules have been broken once or twice. I’ve tried to be popular, but somehow it just never worked out, so I’ve stopped trying. Instead I’m secretly outgoing :)

    • Ed, you’re awesome! I’ve definitely decided that if a few people gather around for a great, meaningful conversation I’m much happier and better off anyway. And I’m not even secretly outgoing so you’re way ahead of me! :)

  22. Thanks for this post, Jason. I stopped caring about being popular awhile age because trying too hard becomes exhausting. :) It seems that when I just focused on building real relationships rather than building fake, forced ones things became a lot more fluid. Sad to think that I used to try and impress people who didn’t care about me, didn’t want to know me more and we really didn’t even like each other. Those that are really close to me could care less about all the “stuff” that I’d put in the way… they just wanted to know ME more. And that’s the best feeling in the world-having people who genuinely want to know the real me.
    jackalopekid recently posted..I Want to Know YouMy Profile

    • Man, you are so right! We can spend so much time trying to impress people who don’t care anything about us, but there’s a joy in being who God created us to be and with those God puts as part of your life. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!