Last week, one of my articles got published over at Boundless. It felt like it was my birthday.
For a year-and-a-half, I’ve been consistently cranking out articles that have been mostly read by my mom and her quilting guild. The next thing you know, the traffic meter on my blog zooms upward, new people start subscribing, and I’m on the phone with an agent who’s offering me a chance to co-write a book with Beth Moore (okay, that last part didn’t actually happen).
Quite frankly, it felt good – and I mean really good. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Life is full of hard knocks, so you have to celebrate your victories when they come.
But then I began to think about what I would write this week, and something weird happened: rather than pray about it or just write from my heart, I thought, “With a potentially bigger audience this week, I need to write something that will keep my numbers up.”
So I went to work, typing an article that would make these new readers love Spiritual Klutz forever.
I started by cranking out an article that shrugged off the critics of my Boundless article. But it was toxic, so I stopped in the middle and deleted the whole thing. Then I started a sugary sweet article, the title of which began with the words, “25 Ways to . . . ” – and then I stopped that one too.
It hit me: I was trying to do a lame spiritual headstand to get strangers to keep reading my stuff.
Jesus talks a lot about rewards in scripture – the rewards that come from men, and the rewards that come from God. And the biggest payoff we can get from men isn’t money; it’s applause, approval, and admiration – especially when it comes to our spirituality. For those who pray, fast, or do charitable deeds in order to receive the reward of men, Jesus says, “Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward” (Matt. 6:2).
And for bloggers like me who write quasi-spiritual posts just to build a bigger audience – well, a bigger audience is the only reward they get. I’ll pass.
I love these paragraphs regarding needing approval from God alone, and not fearing man. I need this reminder daily! Thomas a Kempis (c. 1380) On the Uses of Adversity, The Inner Life "It is good for us to encounter troubles and adversity from time to time, for trouble often compels a man to search his own heart. It reminds him that he is an exile here, and that he can put his trust in nothing in this world. It is good, too, that we sometimes suffer opposition, and that men think ill of us and misjudge us, even when we do and mean well. Such things are an aid to humility, and preserve us from pride and vainglory. For we more readily turn to God as our inward witness, when men despise us and think no good of us. A man should therefore place such complete trust in God, that he has no need of comfort from men. When a good man is troubled, tempted, or vexed by evil thoughts, he comes more clearly than ever to realize his need of God, without whom he can do nothing good. Then, as he grieves and laments his lot, he turns to prayer amid his misfortunes. He is weary of life and longs for death to release him, that he may be dissolved, and be with Christ. It is then that he knows with certainty that there can be no complete security nor perfect peace in his life."
Juliet, that is an amazing quote that you shared. Thank you.As I read Spiritual Klutz, I was reminded of a song that I started singing as a little girl. "I'd rather have Jesus than men's applause; I'd rather be faithful to his dear cause; I'd rather have Jesus than world wide fame; I'd rather be true to His holy name. Than to be the king of a vast domain and be held in sin's dread sway. I'd rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today."
Juliet, that quote is exactly what I needed to hear.
I'm not a fan of Boundless, but I really enjoyed your article. I've spent years in the same shoes as your friend, recommending nice, smart, pretty Christian girls to guys who just seem bored with the whole process of finding a wife in a less-than-perfect world. I hope that your matured tastes lead you to a woman who's human yet still exceeds your expectations.
Jenny, thanks for the comment. I've been very, very blessed with a beautiful, mature woman who has far exceeded my expectations. She's living proof that God does not love me based on my performance.
Josh you have a way of gracefully "cutting to the chase". You have such a gift from God. Please be aware that Beth Moore may be contacting you to she is SHE can co-publish with YOU! Your fan and friend, Ann Roberts
Can I just say, I'm not in your mothers quilting guild. 🙂
You know where I stand on this…-Groff
Ms. Ann and Lynanne, you two are pretty funny. And Groff, thanks for helping me keep my head on straight.
So glad I found out about your blog through that posting on T May's Facebook page!In all seriousness, keep up the good work my young brother!
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