Last Sunday I bumped into the wife of one of our pastors in the restroom at church. Even though we are in different stages of life, we had become close a couple of years ago while attending a small group for those interested in writing. We are definitely what Anne of Green Gables would call "kindred spirits."
She began sharing her current writing pursuits with me and asked about my writing - not surprising since she has been one of my most vocal encouragers in my attempt to use words to point those in the World Wide Web to Christ.
"You always have one friend who believes you are more than you are. Be listening for those people who resonate with the voice of the Spirit of God inside your soul."
I told her that I had stopped writing. "After 2 years, I only have 38 followers," I said. "I feel like no one is listening. I spend a great deal of time on each post and since my time is so limited anyway, I just stopped."
I tend to be that way. If I am telling my husband or my kids something and they are looking at something else, or just seem to be oblivious to the fact that I am speaking to them, I just stop talking. My husband usually has to give me a prompt to let me know that he was listening and wants me to finish the thought.
I have been feeling convicted lately that I should still be writing. The fact of the matter is, the only reason I started in the first place was that I felt God was calling me to it.
Not feeling heard is not a good enough reason to disobey.
I was feeling tired and lazy today so I just wanted to pick up a book and sit on the couch as soon as I put the kids down for their nap, but there were lunch dishes to be cleared. Midday Connection was on the Christian radio station, and though I usually make a point of listening, I did not think that the topic of reclaiming our creative essence was going to be particularly relevant to me.
I was wrong.
After finishing the dishes, I found some laundry to fold as I continued listening, and allowed my relaxing to wait a little longer. As the host interviewed the guest - a man who is both a fashion designer and a pastor - I found his words piercing my heart. He explained that sometimes we think that if God calls us to something, it should come easily. Even if we have a talent and a calling, we give up on things because they are hard. I believe that I audibly gasped when he said:
"We are actually pursuing fame, not greatness...
We want to be known rather than to be worth knowing."
I had not thought of myself as pursuing fame, but I focused on the fact that I am known by so few and stopped writing, rather than simply being content to stay focused on excellence in my research and writing and be worth knowing.
"If you do anything well, eventually God will use it as a way to expand your influence so that you can begin to tell the story of Jesus."
I had my priorities all wrong and started listening to contrary "voices" - voices of discouragement, voices that say I am not up to the call of God, voices that say I have nothing to contribute...Voices that my Aunt says even published writers hear.
I have decided to get back to obedience - even though it is hard to stay focused with life whirling around me, even though I often question whether I have anything worth saying, even when it feels so unnerving on occasion to bare my soul and let the readers see a glimpse of the wickedness still lurking there as God continues to work on me...
It is not my job to count readers. It is MY job to obey. And that means continuing to carefully research and write about whatever God places on my heart.
And leave the counting to Him.
Midday Connection March 11 Erwin McManus