Personal Reflections on 2012

Derek Ouellette —  December 30, 2012 — 4 Comments

A new year presents an opportunity to reflect and examine the old year. Below I’m going to highlight where I’ve been this year in three categories: my personal life, my professional life and my blogging career. I’ll be ending this post with some prayer requests.

IN MY PERSONAL LIFE

2012 was a very exciting time for me personally. January we discussed the possibility of saying farewell to the life of renting to buy our first home. At the time it seemed more of a pipe dream than anything. But on my birthday, February 27th, we signed the papers to our own home. Surreal.

So the first half of the year was filled with preparation and anticipation of the day we’d finally make the acquisition and move in, which came at the end of June. A month later my wife and I celebrated our fifth anniversary and a month after that we discovered that we were expecting our first born.

Indeed it has been an exciting year in my personal life.

IN MY PROFESSIONAL LIFE

I wish that I could say that things at work have been going great, but retail in general has had a particularly difficult time this year, especially for retail bookstores, especially for Christian ones.

I work at a great place, have great co-workers, a great boss and many wonderful regular customers that keep me smiling. But as the marketing guy for a single standalone Christian bookstore, I have this dark, thick cloud looming over my head. It seems that no matter what I do I just can’t turn things around. The numbers are slumping bad and it makes me wonder – especially with a little one on the way – what the future has in store.

But I have a difficult time picturing myself anywhere else. In this I need prayer.

IN MY BLOGGING CAREER

I consider 2012 to be the Dark Ages of my blogging career, and I hope that 2013 will be a turnaround.

I peaked in 2011 with my number of readers and people engaging reaching an all time high. Some well known bloggers and authors were linking to my blog, Mike Bird commented once and Scot McKnight sent me a personal note.

But then I rather cavalierly entered an area of debate, the gender debate, wholly ill-equipped and came out scathed and humiliated.

I felt somewhat as C.S. Lewis perhaps did after his rather public and humiliating debate with Elizabeth Anscombe in which he felt “obliterated… as an Apologist,” an event that some say ended his career in apologetic work. At the very least it caused Lewis to doubt his role as an apologist.

Likewise I began to doubt my role as a blogger. Tired and worn out and feeling like the return on investment was not worth it, I began to question everything. I took a hard look at the state of the Christian blogosphere and judged it – perhaps a little too harshly.

Related to all of this is the fact that I did not write a single book review all year. A sour fact considering book reviews have been such a keynote part of what I do here. In the drop down menu “Reviews” tab above you’ll see “2009,” “2010,” “2011,” and hopefully “2013,” reflecting on 2012 as my Dark Ages in blogging.

PRAYER REQUESTS

I have a small list of prayer requests and would appreciate it if you would take a moment to lift one up to heaven for me.

  • I’m overjoyed and more than a little bit terrified to be having a child. Please pray for wisdom.
  • Please pray that we’d have a turnaround on my job. I’m not clear about what will need to happen, but I’m pretty sure we need to continue to reinvent ourselves in the fast turning world. For a standalone bookstore, there’s only so much we can do. Please pray as you feel led.
  • Blogging is a wonderful outlet for me and a powerful tool. I need wisdom here too so that I can wield it properly. I need more than wisdom, I require strength, humility, endurance, and perhaps most of all, creativity. All qualities I find myself somewhat lacking.

Thanks for your dedication and readership. To borrow my friends phrase, Press On! 

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Derek Ouellette

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a husband, new dad, speaker, writer, christian. see my profile here.
  • http://www.theruthlessmonk.com/ Leslie Keeney

    I don’t know why, but I was quite touched by this post. I don’ recall what happened regarding the gender debate that left you “scathed and humiliated,” but I have always found your writing to be insightful, winsome, and helpful. (How many of us are there that can discuss Open Theism intelligently ? :)

    I’ll pray for you in the new year.

    • http://covenantoflove.net/ Derek Ouellette

      Thank’s Leslie for the encouragement!

  • http://www.craigladams.com/ Craig L. Adams

    Keep on keeping on, Derek. Internet debates can be painful. Don’t back off from debate, back off from feeling you have to “win” it. Persuasion ruins Internet debate. Take it as an axiom: you are not going to persuade anybody of anything in this medium. But, you can clarify your position to another person or you can point out weaknesses in the other person’s position. But, Internet conversations cannot bear the weight of persuasion — it produces frustration, which, in turn, produces flame wars, hurt, etc. And, if other people are invested in persuasion that’s their problem. If they need the last word — fine, whatever. (I always figure: ‘Fine, you can have the last word, but you’re still wrong. And, anyone who reads this thread can figure it out.”)

    • http://covenantoflove.net/ Derek Ouellette

      I appreciate the advice.