I used to think that being an author was a golden trophy, coveted by many, achieved by few. It marked one out as being special, worthy of attention. I viewed authors much the same way I viewed well-known musicians or actors. Then I became one. Suddenly the golden trophy mutated into a wooden idol.
Being an author has confronted me with more temptations, traps, disappointments, and confusions than I could have ever imagined. With the release of the second book Divided now comes the work of promotion. But is this about book promotion or self-promotion? Am I more passionate about the message of the Kingdom or the fame of the author? Sadly, the latter voice has felt so much more powerful.
But this issue is much larger than my experience. Anyone following Jesus will be confronted with this: ministers as they pastor their churches, executives as they lead their businesses, coaches as they coach their teams, even fathers and mothers as they parent their children. What are we after in all of this? Which has the stronger voice, our need to feel successful and affirmed? Or the need to submit, die, and obey Jesus, planting the seed of the Kingdom, watering it with our prayers and tears, and trusting Him for the harvest? To state it this way is already incriminating.
Two things have really helped me. First the conceptual. The need to feel successful and worthwhile is completely legitimate, but totally insatiable. To follow our hearts blindly here is to be led into a life of manipulation and misery. The only thing that is ultimately successful and worthwhile is the Kingdom of God. Everything else will fail and pass away, including my new book. To stake the value of our souls on anything but the Kingdom is to lean on a wall that will totter, collapse, and bury us.
The second is experiential. The release from my insatiable demand for approval and fame is not to bury the longing, but to take it to the One who alone can meet it. Once we feel the affirmation of Jesus, once we feel that He knows us, we can be unshackled from the terrible burden of demanding that from others. We already have the attention of the One whose voice alone matters.
So whatever our gifts or circumstances, Jesus calls us to get to work and expand His Kingdom until He comes. Then comes the real promotion: “You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness” (Matt. 25:21).
It’s the only promotion that matters.
Prayer: Jesus, the swirl of my fallen heart entraps me in so many places. I need to see You seeing me and know that You know me. Release me by the power of Your love to live for Your Kingdom, to the very end, whatever it costs.
Jesus: I understand your struggle. My truth will set you free. Keep looking up and in My eyes. There you will find all you need and more.