The message God is trying to get me to fully understand and integrate into my life right now is that I was created for a unique purpose and should focus solely on running my race in the lane I have been assigned.
I, like many people, struggle with comparison and envy. I am a writer. Part of me wishes to be a well-known writer. There are two main reasons behind this desire.
The first reason is the belief that if I am well-known, then I am a legitimate writer. The lie in my head is that only famous authors are real writers. Saying it out loud helps me to see the ridiculousness of that thought. There are millions of books in the world written by many different people and a small percentage are world famous. Many of the books I love are not written by world-famous authors. I have loved some amazing books written by people unknown to my friends. I fangirled a decent amount when I was able to meet a favorite author in person, but she is just a regular person like me. If we were playing “Famous People I’ve Met”, name-dropping the author’s name would probably be low on the recognizable factor to others. All this to say, even if I were a well-known writer, I still wouldn’t really be famous.
There is a second part of the lie: Only traditionally published writers are real authors. I don’t know why I believe this as well. I guess I equate someone else publishing my book as making me legitimate. That’s also not true. The point of publishing is to send your words out into the world with the hope that they help or encourage another person. It doesn’t matter how the message gets to the person, it can be just as impactful in a self-published book. The point is to GET IT OUT THERE.
I self-published a book a few years ago and still have not felt comfortable calling myself an author. I guess because it’s not a full-time job. But many authors do not make a living on writing. They have to supplement income with other things like freelancing, speaking events, coaching, and conferences. Did I write a book? Yes. Can other people purchase it and read it? Yes. Would I label someone else who has done these things an author? Yes. Does it matter that I have only published one book thus far? No. Margaret Mitchell wrote only Gone With the Wind and she’s an author. So are Oscar Wilde and Emily Bronte.
The other reason behind my desire to be famous is the belief that having a larger platform would mean that I have a greater impact of good on the world. That is also not true. The publishing industry pushes having a large platform so that they have a better chance of selling more of your books. They want a sure thing and are reluctant to take a chance on a writer with minimal apparent influence. I get that. They are trying to be business savvy. They have to make money consistently so that they can continue to publish great books.
This message makes me feel like the lack of a large audience of readers means my work is not important. I know it’s a lie but it’s one that’s hard to refute. I do feel like a tiny dot in a universe of amazing and talented writers. I could fall into the trap of comparing myself to those who have made it, and sometimes I do. But I don’t know how long and hard the “famous” ones have worked to obtain their current level of influence. Nor was I created to be the next (insert famous writer here). It also does not mean that my level of influence won’t increase as I become more dedicated and consistent in the craft.
I was created by God to love and serve the people here where I have been placed, in my family, on my street, as a SAHM. I don’t know what God wants to do with my life but I am ineffective and limit God’s ability to work in and through me when I compare myself to others or envy what they have, especially to the point where I neglect what I’m supposed to do because I don’t deem it important enough.
Maybe I will never have a recognizable name. And, if I’m honest, that’s not really what I want at all. I’m an introvert – I hate being the center of attention. My least favorite part of getting married was walking up the aisle and standing in front of a bunch of people, knowing they were looking at me – and those were all people who like me! Being known in the world opens you up to criticism and insult by people who know little or nothing about you.
Jesus wasn’t about building a platform. He invested deeply in a few people and loved well wherever he went. His aim was the Father’s will. Even with his limited travel and speaking engagements, he received a lot of criticism, insults, and hatred. He didn’t seek notoriety, just to be obedient. These are the things I need to be focusing on in all areas of my life including writing – seeking God’s will and being obedient. The results are up to God.
Let’s all concentrate on running our race!