Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Longing to Be Published--God's Passion or Idolatry?

I sometimes wonder. Has my desire to nab a contract or become a “successful author” (whatever that means!) pushed me into dangerous territory? Territory that leads me away from the God-honoring land where I desire to dwell into the land where I seek to honor myself? To be honest, I’m sure I’ve dwelled there at times. How about you?

As I was thinking about this, I came up with some questions to help scrutinize my heart.

v     Am I gathering writing friends for what they can give me (connections, endorsements, edits, etc.) rather than how I can serve them?

v     Do I consistently neglect my family in order to write?

v     Am I critical of other writers, thinking things like, “I’m a better writer than she is. Why is she published and not me?”

v     Is my passion to share God’s message eclipsed by a desperate desire to see my name in print
v     Do I consistently feel jealous of other writers’ success?

v     Do I think more about my name being lifted up than Christ’s?

Even though we’re Christian writers, we struggle with these issues. I’ve fallen into every one on the list.

I’ve learned I must battle against this sin. I must not let my fleshly desire overtake the God-given gift of writing. I love to write. I cherish it as a gift from my loving Father, but we humans have been known to worship the gift instead of the creator. (Ro. 1:25)

I don’t want to be that kind of writer. I know you don’t either. I’ve met so many wonderful authors who seem so in love with Christ, the writing thing naturally flows out of their relationship with him. That’s how I want to be. Here’s some help.

  1. Examine. “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Ps. 139:23-24 ESV) What a joyful verse. He shows us our “grievous ways” but doesn’t leave us there. He leads us in His way.
  2. Repent. “If we confess our sins…” We know this verse by heart, don’t we? (1 John 9) Going to the Lord and admitting we’ve fallen—not beating ourselves up, but simply stating the truth about our sins—never brings shame. Because remember the second part of the verse. “He is faithful and just to forgive us…”
  3. Go. “First, be reconciled to your brother…” (Matt. 5:34 ESV). Have you hurt someone by your jealousy or neglect? Go heal that relationship.
  4. Rejoice. “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” (Ps. 32:1 ESV) Once we receive forgives, it’s time to step out in joy and confidence of His love for us.
  5. Repeat.
Do you ever struggle with making being published an idol? I’d love to hear your story.

God bless and happy writing,



  1. Well that hits me right between the eyes! Thanks for the straight talk!

  2. Thanks for sharing this post. Any time we take our eyes off God and what it is He wants and what we are to do for Him, we revert right back to the big "me" problem. Love Joyce Meyer's little robotic thing "whattaboutme? whattaboutme?" A daily issue for all of us to keep our focus on Him!

  3. Thanks, Carrie. So true that it's a daily issue! It's so easy to shift focus back on ourselves.

  4. Great post!

    I have been reading the Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis lately. Lewis writes at length on his subject to his friend Arthur Greeves. This is from early in his days of trying to be published as a poet. There is not only a question of whether some feelings and behaviors are sin, but also what SHOULD motivate a writer. One thing Lewis says is that the writing should be the type of writing the person would be driven to do even if he knew he would never have a reader. (Parallel to what you say about your love of writing being a good gift from your Heavenly Father. A gift like that is treasured and enjoyed no matter what else comes of it.) But I think later in life he recognized that being an element in someone else's pleasure is a good thing. (I think this is one of those subjects where many answers may be true, but not quite address the feeling in question. Later you say, "Oh, that's why I didn't think that was the answer. It was true, but I was dealing with something else.") Lots to ponder. But funny how you were writing on this now.

    1. Hey Rick! Very interesting stuff from Lewis. He always has such practical wisdom. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Oooh, some of those comments hit me! I'm always happy to promote other writers and to celebrate their successes (I'm a book review blogger), but sometimes I do spend too much time on the computer and not enough with my girls. Thanks for sharing!


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