I haven’t written a blog post in what feels like a very long time. I’ve thought about it and have even saved some drafts, but something has stopped me from hitting the “publish” button. And I know that’s because I’ve changed as a person in many ways, all of which I am thankful for.
I used to dream of making a difference in this world. And I thought that writing was a calling given to me by God, that this was the platform through which I’d reach others and change lives. All around me, I saw women struggling with the same things I struggled with, and I thought it was my job to bring those things to light. I strived to use my voice to make things better. And if I’m being truly honest, I also used my voice to make myself feel better. Because along with my dream of making a difference in this world, I also dreamt of being recognized and gaining the admiration of others.
I still do sometimes dream of making a difference in this world through writing or some other form of expression. But I’ve stopped claiming this dream to be God’s dream. I’ve stopped assuming that my gift of writing is a sign of his divine calling; I’ve stopped assuming that what I have to say is automatically blessed by him and always worth saying. And I’ve acquired a new dream as I’ve learned to humbly surrender this one — simply to be obedient to God.
And here’s what I’ve learned about being obedient to God. It’s often quiet. It doesn’t require applause. It isn’t broadcasted to the world or even to all of your friends. It’s a collection of small decisions and some big ones, all of which bring you closer to doing the two things that Jesus said matter most: love God with everything you’ve got, and then love the people around you as you love yourself.
I can sit at this keyboard and type eloquent messages for others to be inspired by, but if I’m not loving God with all I’ve got outside of this domain, what’s the point? How can I justify my ambition to gain followers when he’s the only one worth following? Why would I want women to model themselves after me when I’m not even doing all I can to model myself after Christ?
And how can I say that I am loving my neighbor when I spend more time thinking about how to maintain the approval of others than actually serving the people around me? What’s the point of trying to change the world when I can’t even put effort into changing the lives of those I see on a daily basis? Writing about God is easy; being the hands and feet of God around your immediate family, your skeptical friends, that co-worker who gets on your nerves, or even your spouse is what’s hard.
Many months ago, I began to ask myself these questions. Where was my obedience? Where was my faithfulness? Or even simpler, where was my faith? Because if I truly believed in the Word and in God’s worthiness above all else, then I would be living his commands out. And nowhere in Scripture does it say that I am commanded to draw attention to my writing or gain a following on social media or expand my brand. Rather, I am commanded to do the opposite.
… make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-4).
My life looks so different now than it did last year and it’s because I’ve learned how to stop chasing after my dreams for my life and start chasing after God’s dreams for my life. In doing so, I’ve actually discovered that many of my dreams are in fact his dreams and also rightfully align with his Word, and thankfully he’s been able to weed out the dreams and ambitions that never really should have been mine to begin with.
And even though I don’t know where I’ll be in a year from now or how my heart may change, I feel confident when I say that writing is not a dream that I want to chase after anymore. I have learned how to put down my microphone and the selfish ambitions I once clung to. And I prefer my life this way because I find that the life I now live requires more faith than anything else I have ever done. And it’s faith that really matters, more so than your gifts or your position or what you think might be your calling.
And without faith it is impossible to please God… (Hebrews 11:6).
For so long, I had been trying to please God in all the wrong ways, trying to use my gifts for his glory with a hidden motive of vain conceit. And I couldn’t quite understand why nothing ever felt good enough — for me, for him, for anybody.
It was only when I started to do things with faith — I mean, the kind of faith that Abraham had when he blindly trekked to an unrevealed place and the soldiers had when they faithfully marched around Jericho — that I began to see and truly believe that God is who he says he is and that I am who he says I am.
It’s because of this faith that I have this beautiful baby girl inside of me. It’s because of this faith that my husband and I have taken so many fruitful risks this past year in our finances, careers, and relationships. And it’s because of this faith that I am finally free — free from my need to gain the approval of others… and free to see that I really do have the approval of my Heavenly Father.
I wrote this post because by declaring these things, I feel like I am rightfully closing a chapter that, though great in some ways, just couldn’t measure up to the story that God has been writing since.
I also wrote this post to answer some questions, such as, “hey, weren’t you working on a book?” and “will you be blogging again soon?” I wrote this post so that the people around me can understand why I am no longer writing and why I no longer have a desire to. It took some time — months, actually — for this decision to make sense to even my own husband, so I don’t expect it to make sense to everybody. It’s alright if it doesn’t make sense to anybody.
I may write again in the future if I feel led to. I’m not shutting down my blog or swearing off all means of verbal expression. I still believe that God uses writers to reach others and that it is a divine calling that many people have. I’m just not one of those people, at least not right now. And to those who believe that I ought to not give up on my writing and I’m being too quick to abandon my gift, my only response is this: I feel led by the Spirit to not write right now, and if you feel led otherwise on my behalf, then I suppose you should take that up with the King.
The last thing I want to say is that I am really, really happy right now, and I’m also excited to meet my daughter. Our little family is the most beautiful thing I could have ever asked for. And one day I’ll be proud to show my children this blog and to tell them how much writing has meant to me. I’ll encourage them to discover their own passions and gifts, to find their voice and to use it for God. If I’m being honest, I would love to see them become writers, but I can only imagine what God has in store for them. So I suppose the best thing I could tell them would be this:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as your reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving (Colossians 3:23-24).
This is my hope for them — and for everyone, really. This life we’ve been given is so beautiful and precious because each day is filled with opportunities to serve and worship our God. No matter the gifts you’ve been given or the position you are in, I encourage you to do two things: love the Lord your God with all you’ve got and love your neighbor as yourself. Doing so is more fulfilling than any amount of approval or applause that this world has to offer. And living by faith rather than by fear is the grandest adventure you could ever embark on.
I’m still only at the beginning of this journey and I can’t wait to see where God takes me next.