Time to get still and take a break from ministry

A few weeks ago, I was talking to my friend Aaron and shared something I’d been considering but hadn’t even mentioned to my wife: “I think I want to stop writing, at least publicly.”

Aaron, a fellow author, was floored — and with good reason.

For almost 12 years, I’ve spent thousands of hours writing a book, over 600 blog posts, hundreds of guest pieces for online outlets, and thousands of status updates.

The pros will tell you that sustaining an audience requires maintenance. You’ve got to stay visible and keep putting out new content: another book, another blog post, another podcast appearance, another tweet. And there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that — as long as you’ve got something to say and God wants you to share it.

I started to run out of steam last year in the midst of some painful and private battles (I’m happily married, just for the record!). I’m normally one to vulnerably share how I’m finding God in the ordinary and invite readers to join me. But I couldn’t do it anymore. Those stories belonged in spaces of quiet reflection — not blog posts.

Since then, the tension has been slowly building as I’ve felt increasingly convinced that it was time to take a break from publicly sharing testimonies from my life. I’ve prayed about it, run it past close friends, and listened to that sigh of relief as I imagined stepping back. And I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it really is time for me to take a step away from writing.

This little announcement isn’t a big deal to most people in the world; but there are some readers out there who will care about it (especially you, Mom!) and I want you to know how much I appreciate that. I’m particularly grateful for the times you’ve made a point to send along a note of encouragement. Those messages had a way of showing up just when I was (prematurely) thinking of shutting things down.

I’m looking forward to having a little more free time without worrying about my self-imposed deadlines. It’ll be nice to stay up late reading some fiction (instead of writing blog posts), perusing my wife’s seminary textbooks, or just writing in my journal. In the meantime, I’ll stick around on social media and post something on the blog if I’m strongly convinced God wants me to (subscribe to my spam-free email updates and you’ll get a heads up).

I’m walking hand-in-hand with the Lord, moving forward into uncharted territory as a writer. Maybe you can consider this to be an invitation to ask the Holy Spirit what He wants you to start doing, keep doing, or quit doing. Our most important callings are found as we seek Him through the Scriptures, walk through life in a community of believers, and get still enough to recognize His presence.

“Seek the LORD while He may be found; call on Him while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6). He’s right there in the ordinary, waiting to be discovered.

By the way, if you’re disappointed that I’m going to stop writing, there’s plenty of content in my book, which you can get at a discount here. And Focus on the Family will actually give you the book for a $1.00 donation!