Am I now trying to win the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of God. Galatians 1:10
I haven’t been writing the past few months, apart from my part-time job for a local magazine and the semi-daily accounts I enter in my journal. After publishing my devotional at Christmas, I felt exhilarated, followed by disillusioned. For so long, I had believed that I could only call myself a writer if I was published with some measure of acclaim. I had spent countless hours over the past few years studying how to become a successful blogger and start my own writing business, but I never fully implemented any of the strategies. Somewhere, there was a disconnect for me.
Through an online writers group I belonged to, I began to observe other writers who were working so HARD to achieve that same measure of success, and I realized it wasn’t what I really wanted after all. I didn’t want all my efforts to revolve around self-promotion in order to validate the words I was sharing. I didn’t want to write more words than were necessary in order to meet an industry word count standard. So, I shut it all down and wondered if perhaps writing had just been a long, self-indulgent phase, and now it was over.
Of course, I know better than that, and I am just starting to slowly, quietly consider how to begin writing again without letting it become essentially an idol—how to write for the joy and ministry of writing without thinking it has to be my career or, worse yet, a measure of my self-worth.
A friend of mine recently spoke to this point when she said that she had been concerned for so long with going out and changing the world, only to find the satisfaction of tending to the small part of the world right around her. “I am a carpenter in my own home,” she said with pride, and showed us pictures of the incredible loft bed/dresser combination she had built for her young son.
I don’t have any answers yet, and I’m reticent to even write these words, but they are actually in response to something I encountered this evening. As I read this post, I realized I have felt and experienced so much of what she was writing about. It was a relief to see it put into words; it clarified my current struggle and uncertainty about writing and gave me hope that I could write again, without needing it to translate into dollars and cents.
Is there something you enjoy or are good at that you have felt pressured, either externally or internally, to monetize, rather than simply doing it for the fun of it or to bless others? I encourage you to read Molly’s post and allow yourself to delight in the gifts God has given you without feeling they have to translate into dollars and cents or receive critical acclaim.