In response to my recent BodyLife article about “How Do I…” I got this amazing note this morning. This is from a young brother I’ve been in touch with for a few years. I love what he is discovering, and think few realize the critical lessons God is teaching him when they are busy trying to build an audience for “their ministry.” It can be a huge trap of darkness:
Wayne, I just read “How Do I?” for about the fifth time, and it still keeps kicking me in the heart. You know, I started a blog in January and recently, the audience began to expand. The feelings that came with that expansion left me feeling sort of yucky. I’m sure you know the feeling.
You can’t get to sleep because of that one, negative comment about your last article. Every time you read a scripture or have a meaningful experience, you wonder if that would make a good article. All the while, the Spirit is saying, “This is not My plan; this is not My purpose. Don’t follow your desire for recognition and influence. It is poisoning your ability to freely live life.”
Finally, while sort of aimlessly praying about this in the shower this morning, I told the Lord (and later, my wife) that I’m going to take a break from even looking at (my) blog for the week. I need a normal life again. I don’t want to be a quasi-celebrity in my own little, creative fiefdom that’s built around my insatiable desire for affirmation.
Thank you so much for writing that article. It has been like oxygen to me so many times. Seriously man, it’s been a big help. This experience has helped me realize that your life might not be so enviable after all – and I don’t mean that as a dig. Dealing with perpetual affirmation and lofty expectations from others can be an enormous distraction for the writer and his audience. God help us all.
Fortunately, I haven’t dealt with the need for affirmation for some time. But I know its power and how it can distort even the gifts God has put inside of us. Following him has to remain at the core of our choices each day and any other substitute to guide our actions is a trap. That doesn’t mean writing a blog or publishing a book is inherently wrong. It simply means that we have eyes open enough to recognize when we’re giving up our freedom in him for any other agenda.