I realized today that this past month marked two years of Popular being released. It wasn’t a momentous occasion or anything (I mean I ate 12 cookies but that was pure coincidence) but I realized I’ve learned more over the past two years about myself than I really care to admit. Part of that stems from the fact that I’ve had two babies since Popular was released (geez) but a lot of it had to do with expectations and real life colliding and since I get a number of emails about writing and girls dreams for helping others I wanted to share some of the things I wish I had known.
- You define your success. Before Popular ever hit the shelves my dad asked me what would make me happy in terms of book sales. I didn’t have a number I had an idea, I wanted to hear that my story was making a positive impact. I genuinely prayed for that God would turn lives towards him with my story. It only took a few months before emails/messages/even a few baptism videos that left me in tears came through saying God had done just what I had prayed he would do (imagine that) and I was floored.
- Success is alluring. See here’s the thing about predetermining what success looks like its great until you start looking around, at other author’s sales, their speaking platforms, or their latest endorsement. Just like anything in life when we look around we can always find someone better, more talented, and more business savvy (or at least someone without so many tiny people calling them mom). Suddenly I felt fifteen again and begging to be in some allusive cool Christian crowd. When I looked to others to tell me I was successful instead of what God called me to be faithful in then I always came up short.
- If God has called you he will be faithful but faithful doesn’t mean easy. I have always believed this to be true except for the easy part. Easy, my friends is rarely the case. I generally know I am aligned with Gods plan when I am the most uncomfortable and begging for his guidance. I worry when life gets easy not because I think God wants me to be in pain but because being faithful to the call of Christ should hurt a little. If we are truly supposed to be “hated” by the world then we should ache (john 15:19). We should ache from the weight of the gospel and the weight we hold to spread it.
- Say the hard stuff. The world doesn’t need more politically correct Christians, the world needs more Christians who know what they believe and can live it out in love. Preaching the gospel should not be popular. If Jesus wasn’t widely accepted why in the world would we expect to be?? Now, when I say the “hard stuff” I do not mean your opinions because heaven knowns we don’t need more opinions streaming through social media. Truth is hard, it is messy, but (not be too predictable) it will set you and so many others free. Truth lies in the words breathed onto the pages of the bible you might have laid down long ago. If you truly want to have a message then pick up your bible. Our words are meaningless and can only lead others astray without the backing of truth.
- Get some Godly confidence. A dear friend of mine who I met while she was helping me launch Popular told me right before we were about to get on a conference call that I needed some Godly confidence. I knew what she meant. I had the odds stacked against me and many times in the publishing world wanted to hang my head and slide through the shadows hoping no one would notice I had slipped in by mistake and throw me out. I was one of the youngest authors on both my agents and publishers roster and really did feel this voice in my head saying on repeat, “You don’t belong.” It wasn’t Gods and my friend was right, I needed to be confident because at the end of the day I knew who had called me to this crazy journey and could be confident in HIM not in myself.
So there is my soap box. Thanks for letting me share.