Thursday, May 5, 2016

But What Susan Tuttle

Recently I was reading the last chapter of John where Jesus reinstates Peter. It’s such a beautiful moment of redemption for Peter, though in that moment Peter doesn’t catch what Jesus is doing (giving him a chance to redo the three times he’d denied Christ). All Peter knows is that Jesus is asking a simple question, “Do you love me?”

Without hesitation, Peter answers, “Yes.”

For many of us, that would be a simple question as well. We don’t hesitate to speak about our love for Jesus. Many of us are crazy-in-love with our Savior, and it flows through our writing. We cannot contain our witness or our desire to reach others for Christ. We write because it’s the talent God has given us and the passion he’s woven into our hearts. Peter shared a similar passion, only his would be for the spoken word. But Peter announcing his love for Christ and Jesus commissioning him weren’t what stopped me as I read…it was the moment that followed.

Peter turns and sees John, and these four words pop out, “Lord, what about him?”

Oh boy. Peter never questioned his love for Christ, but he did question Christ’s love for him. Not in the sense of whether Jesus felt the affection toward him, rather if Jesus’ affection was greater for another.

Peter compared.

Friends, so often we do the same thing! We balance a very thin line in our writing careers with our purpose on one side and worldly success on the other. And in that balancing act it is so easy to look at others as if God must love them more. They received the publishing contract. They sold more books. They won that contest. They have more reviews—and better reviews. They’re asked to speak at an event. (Go ahead, add yours here.)

Yet listen to Jesus’ response. “If I want ______what is that to you? You must follow me.”

I purposefully left that blank because we all have our own issues we can fill into it. (If I want to publish them. If I want their book to be a bestseller. Go on, add yours again.) The point is, God has a different plan for each person around you, but that plan doesn’t negate the one he has for you. All you’re called to do is follow him.

Please don’t misunderstand me. Cultivating our careers and growing our reach is not wrong, but we must maintain perspective in the process. As Christians, the words we write are not our own. We don’t know who they need to reach. A convention center filled to bursting, or the acquisition editor who hands out a rejection? We may never know. But if we follow Christ throughout this process—and keep our eyes on him—we take the weight off our own shoulders and let it rest on his. He’ll make sure our words reach their intended audience. We follow a God who is as concerned with the number “1” as he is in the multitudes. May we be the same.

Susan L. Tuttle lives in Michigan where she’s happily married to her best friend and is a homeschooling mom of three. She’s firmly convinced that letters were meant for words, not math, and loves stringing them together into stories that inspire, encourage, and grow women into who God created them to be. Romance, laughter, and cookies are three of her favorite things, though not always in that order. You can connect with Susan at her blog, Steps, Facebook, or Twitter.