Friday, July 1, 2011

Glory to God Alone by Ann Tatlock

How many of us have longed for the day when we’d walk into a Barnes and Noble and see our novel on a shelf? We’d feel like we’d made it. Right? (Dawn here.) I’m so pleased to have Ann Tatlock as our guest author this Fortifying Friday. I love her honesty and willingness to share her struggles before and after her own journey to publication. I found her words so helpful, and I think you will too!

Glory to God Alone
by Ann Tatlock

Thirteen years. That’s how long it took me to get published. And now I’ve been a published author for 13 years. In the 26 years of Before and After, my greatest struggle has remained the same: avoiding the temptation to define my worth by my writing.

That’s the spiritual danger inherent in any career we might have in this world, even if the work is devoted to furthering the Gospel of Christ. It’s a trap that spills over from our culture and I find myself wrapped up in it: even my “heavenly work” must succeed by worldly standards or else my life is meaningless.

As though by my accomplishments, I can become Someone of Value.

But there’s a problem with this sort of logic. Once you’re published, the temptation simply takes on new dimensions. It moves from If only I can get my novel published to a host of other targets: If only I can write a best-seller….If only I can win an award….If only my novel is made into a movie….

The if onlys are endless and the bar continues to rise and it’s only too easy never to reach a place of satisfaction. Oh, sometimes I feel like I’ve accomplished something. But the vast majority of the time I feel as though I’ve barely scratched the surface of success.

Before I was published, I remember standing at a bookstore window, staring at the books on display inside. When it came to authors, I was literally and figuratively on the outside looking in. I thought I would never join their ranks; it seemed little more than a pipe dream. Lord, I thought, why did you give me the desire to write? Isn’t this a good thing that I want to do?

Yes, it’s a good thing. But it can be undertaken for bad reasons. It can even become an idol, if one isn’t careful.

I have to be constantly careful and remind myself of this: My talents is from God and for God. Period. To believe that the talent is there to feed my own sense of self-worth is to believe a lie.

God didn’t put the dream of writing in my heart so He could crush it. Neither did He put it in my heart so it would become an idol. He gave me both the dream and the talent so that, through my small stories, I can reflect the Grand Story of His love.

I will never find my worth in my work because it isn’t there. My worth as a person is found only in Christ. Now that I’m published, I’m the same person I was before I first picked up my pen to write. It’s both humbling and liberating to realize that I will never be either more than or less than this: a sinner saved by grace.

Soli Deo Gloria. Glory to God alone.

Ann Tatlock is the author of eight novels. Her newest book, Promises to Keep, was recently named among the Top Ten Historical Novels of the year by Booklist magazine. Ann lives with her husband, daughter, three Chihuahuas and a guinea pig on the side of a mountain in beautiful Western North Carolina. 
You can read more about Ann and her work at