As I have been pursuing writing more fervently the last several months, one concern has danced in the background of my thoughts. I’ve wrestled with it, I’ve sought counsel about it, I’ve tried to make sense of it, and I’ve tried to rationalize it away. Still, it hasn’t unclenched itself from my heart.
The writing world, I’ve learned, bears striking resemblance to the marketing world that I was a part of my entire career. It’s not just about what you write, I’ve discovered. It’s who you know and how you use the best techniques to get your “product” out, not only to the most people, but more importantly, to the right people.
I know my calling. God has unequivocally placed a mandate on my life to write about Him and His word and to inspire others to study God’s word at a deeper, personal level. But with that calling, am I supposed to do whatever it takes to get the word out? Am I supposed to research ways to get more shares, retweets, or clicks on my blog posts so the message entrusted to me could get to more people? Am I supposed to learn how to effectively build an “audience” and establish my “platform?” Am I supposed to find my “tribe?”
As I began to do all these things, assuming I was being faithful to what was entrusted to me, I couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling in the back of my mind. I didn’t want to promote myself. Something within that just didn’t seem to line up with Scripture to me. But if I didn’t, how would the message get out?
Don’t worry about the numbers. Just be faithful. Though these words kept whispering to my soul, it was hard! For example, I knew God placed Summer in the Vine in my heart. As I nervously spent hours in preparation, waiting for subscribers, I told myself that if those devotionals help one person it would be worth it. Although I did believe that, I still wanted more than anything for dozens of subscribers! It wasn’t even a vain thing. When God gives me a message, how can I not help but be passionate about getting it out?
The internal struggle didn’t seem to let up.
Then this morning I stumbled upon a podcast from the IF:Gathering. The one that happened to come up was an interview with Christine Caine on women in ministry and platforms. Her perspective opened my eyes and confirmed my reservations. “We live in a generation that doesn’t want to die [to self] but wants to have a bigger voice,” she said. I knew what she was saying about dying to self. One of my devotions in Glory in the Garden speaks to this subject. Just like rich compost made of dead things makes for a more healthy and productive garden, when we are continually dying to ourselves, we’re going to see a greater harvest of righteousness.
I understood that while it’s okay for me to do what I can to offer my message, it’s not God’s will for me to be focused on building my audience. It’s His will for me to write what He places on my heart.
He’s more concerned about
my dying to self
my living a life of repentance
my being conformed to Jesus
than he is about my personal reach.
It’s His platform, after all, not mine. It’s His people, not my audience. It’s His message, not my art.
And if only one person reads this blog post, if only one person reads my Summer in the Vine devotionals, if only one person reads my Glory in the Garden book, it’s okay. My job is to be obedient.
Another lesson I learned today was not to dismiss uneasy feelings. Sometimes, that’s the wisdom of the Holy Spirit speaking discernment into our lives. You may not be able to relate to my struggle in particular, but I would encourage you to take the lesson to heart to heed that still, small voice inside. Keep praying about it and seeking counsel. At the right time, you may just stumble on a podcast straight from God.