Follow Who?

I was going to write a snarky post about Thanksgiving being the most American of holidays, citing the rampant and encouraged violent materialism that happens over here the day after Thanksgiving, for which it seems Thanksgiving itself is simply a prologue–and a hypocritical one at that: I’m grateful for what I have, but I NEED MORE STUFF!!

Turns out, though, that that’s about as snarky as I want to get about it, in the end, which might mean there’s some character growth going on over here. I dunno. I don’t want to jump to any conclusions, but it would be nice.

That said, I’m facing something of a quandary over here about the whole “creating a platform” thing regarding my writing. As a younger person, I was so much more consciously intent on everything I did ultimately pointing positively to Christ. That’s not to say everything I did, did. Probably more often than not, it didn’t. It’s pretty hard to shed one’s birthright of selfishness, I’ve discovered.

So, I don’t know if I’ve gotten cynical enough to stop caring, or if I’m just cynical about my own capacity to bring glory to God so I’m not trying as hard anymore, or even if I’ve gotten to the point where I realise I can’t glorify God by my own efforts, so I might as well relax and just hope He’s going to work it out through me. I really don’t know. It’s probably different at any given time of day, really.

Anyway, my point (which it’s only taken me four paragraphs to get to) is that at some point in my life this whole idea of self-promotion which it seems is necessary in the arts world would have been anathema to me, if not right out of the question. I just can’t quite figure out how to get a story out there and keep the focus on Jesus. I don’t know what to do with my emotions when I look at my blog stats and see that for the last three days each, only three people have read anything I’ve written. I feel disappointed, and then I think it’s not supposed to be about me anyway, so the disappointment is just an expression of selfishness. I want God to get the glory for the things I do, but in reality, I want some, too. It seems a little messed up that I named this blog, and now my fanpage, after myself, when I believe the real Story of life is God’s story, and I’m not the main character. I think those times I get mad at God are because I’ve gotten mixed up about that and think that I’m the main character and God is my (more powerful but much more self-effacing) sidekick or something.

I find it hard to imagine that naming a blog after myself and trying to drum up visibility for myself, with an eye to sales sometime down the line, is really very beneficial in keeping my eyes clear and realistic about who’s Story this really is, here. When did I start wanting people to follow me more than I want them to follow Jesus? And what do I do with this?

I have a book–about Jesus, no less, though it’s a novel–more about his mother, actually–that I’m contemplating self-publishing in the new year. (It’s called Favored One.) According to Writer’s Digest, self-publishing has suddenly become industry-acceptable, and if I can scrape together the funds to do it, I want to try to get this book on some shelves. But such a venture doesn’t work unless I talk to you about it a lot, and try to get you to talk about it, too. And I wonder, is it, to me, really just about me in the end after all? It’s not what I wanted . . .

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8 thoughts on “Follow Who?

  1. I was thinking last night that you should self-publish. Which doesn’t really answer this blog, but at least you know I’m reading your blogs! 🙂

  2. I always enjoy reading your perspectives on things. 

    For what it is worth, I see your point, though I disagree with aspects of it. Idolatry and pride are truly dangerous. The worship of self over God is never good. That said, in giving ourselves to God, the point has never been to stop existing, to cease being YOU. Our relations with God are a path to becoming *more* you, as in the you God lovingly created. 

    I think that introspection is important, as well as sincere requests of God for insight and the patience to await his answer. It is hard though to know what that looks like in practice. Someone told me once that self-loathing (not that you’re self-loathing) is still narcissism as you’re focused on you, regardless of why. I think that too much introspection, even with the right intention, is spiritually poisonous when we walk away with an idea that somehow the inherent natures of all of us to desire to impact the Kingdom, love effectively, and be loved and recognised for our efforts are evil. These desires can be misdirected of course, but in and of themselves, they are not bad desires. It is a form of self-righteous legalism when we feel compelled to flagellate ourselves, hide or denigrate our work on his behalf. I believe that God would have us focus on him and have enough faith to know that if we are seeking his will in prayer that we can trust in the results, even if those results are not visible fruits of the spirit. I believe he would want us to feel proud at the end of the day when he says, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”. I also believe God would want us to be self-respecting and respected and loved by others whilst we are expecting and loving others. God is the creator of marriage, family and spiritual community, all of which are created for the support and love of one another–as we participate in these forms of community we express God’s love in a tangible way to others, and they express God’s love to us. God didn’t tell the workers in the vineyard to work for free, because the honour alone was enough–he paid them. He expressed pride in the man who used his talents given to him by God and chastised the one who buried the ones he was given. 

    As far as self-promotion, it is a part of this existence. Had CS Lewis, Philip Yancey and others not self-promoted, I wouldn’t be where I am today spiritually or otherwise. I’ve also been deeply impacted by you Jenn, and I know I would want to continue to share in the gifts you have been given to exercise–your perspective, your writing. You.

    • The parable of the talents reference particularly hits home, as I have also been feeling conflicted about my lack of writing discipline for most of my life. Thanks for your words, too, Marjonie. Wise ones indeed.

  3. Hi Jenn,
    The conundrum you present here is not unique. I think, for most of us who want God to be glorified anyway, we capitulate back and forth with the “me monster”. Sometimes it seems I finally come to a balanced and healthy viewpoint, when suddenly i find myself hurt because someone didn’t say thank you, when I went out of my way for them! Exasperated I give it up to God…and somehow I think that cycle will continue, and maybe that’s not a bad thing?

    In the bigger picture the gifts talents and abilities and even the desire to avail ourselves of said attributes whether in public or private, does honor God, I would even venture to say it would be a great disservice to God to not use what he has given us. The neat thing is we can receive joy while giving God the Glory!

  4. My blogreader (Bloglines) can’t figure out your blog so I end up reading when it shows up on facebook. I shall change my facebook settings in an attempt to get that to happen more.

    Sometimes I would like to write more, too… life gets in the way.

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