Whose Applause Do You Need?
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.