Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Are You a Humble Writer?

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

The voice at the other end of the phone was ecstatic, “I love your book—it’s so deep, so insightful! I don’t understand why you aren’t more famous as an author. In fact, you should have been the keynote speaker, not just a seminar leader at that conference. You are an amazing writer! Why haven’t I ever heard of your books before?”

I meet so many people when I speak at conferences, and it’s always gratifying to hear that my words have been received. Obviously, this unex­pected phone call tickled my ears—tempting me to see this young author as my new BFF.

I lapped up the praise, answered her questions, and after hanging up sat very still.

Ashamed that her words echoed my own unspoken thoughts. Why haven’t more people heard of my books? Why am I not the keynote speaker at more events? What real impact has my ministry made throughout the years?

Writing and speaking encouraging words based on God’s Word has been my passion for a lifetime. An obedient response to a definite calling, I walk through the open doors and offer my best, empowered by the Spirit. Always leaving the fruit up to God. And I truly do believe I have been used for kingdom work in people’s lives.

Is it so wrong for my heart to wish it were more?

While you may not be a writer and speaker, chances are you too occasion­ally struggle with seeing the fruit of your own labor. We envision our legacy as one thing, only to discover God has a totally different plan. We can still prac­tice humility, not by wanting less but by wanting more for God’s glory.

King David thought his life’s crowning glory would be to build the Tem­ple. He cast the vision, created the blueprint, gathered equipment, assem­bled a skilled team, and laid the foundation. How he must have reeled from the news that God had instead chosen his son, Solomon, to complete it. All that work—all that wisdom and knowledge of a lifetime—and someone else would be the one to yield the glory!

Solomon quickly affirmed his father’s role by reminding the people the Lord had said to David, “You wanted to build the Temple to honor my name. Your intention is good” (2 Chronicles 6:8).

David’s dream was a good thing. Releasing it to another (as God instructed) was even better.

I was reminded of the words my friend Christin Ditchfield shared—words that penetrated my heart deeply, causing me to weep silently: “Some of us are called to prepare the way, to blaze the trail for those who come after us and whose progress will far exceed our own. They will stand on our shoul­ders, just as we have stood on the shoulders of those who came before us.”

Is it enough to be the trailblazer? To be the one who invests in those who will far surpass my own work? To relinquish the accolades to another?

Absolutely. Of course. In fact, this is my passion—equipping and empowering others to go forth. Beyond me.

Will you also choose the path of humility, whatever that means in your life?

Pray with me the closing words of a favorite hundred-year-old prayer, “Litany of Humility”:
That others may be loved more than I, 
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, 
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, 
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. . . .
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, 
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. 
—Cardinal Raphael Merry del Val 
So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, 
and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.
—1 Peter 5:6

©2019 Lucinda Secrest McDowell, adapted from “Life-Giving Choices”


Lucinda Secrest McDowell, M.T.S., is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping you Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, McDowell is the author of 15 books and contributing author to 30+ books. Her award-winning books include LIFE-GIVING CHOICESSOUL STRONG (2020), DWELLING PLACES (2017 Christian Retailing BEST Award for Devotional)ORDINARY GRACES  (2018 Selah Finalist), LIVE THESE WORDS, and Refresh! Lucinda, a member of the REDBUD WRITERS GUILD, received Mt. Hermon “Writer of the Year” award and guest blogs for The Write Conversation, Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Blog and (in)courage. Whether co-directing  “RENEW ~ RETREAT FOR NEW ENGLAND WRITING,”  pouring into young mamas, or leading a restorative day of prayer, she is energized by investing in people of all ages. Lucinda’s favorites include tea parties, good books, laughing friends, ancient prayers, country music, cozy quilts, musical theatre, and especially her family scattered around the world doing amazing things.  Known for her ability to convey deep truth in practical and winsome ways, she writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and blogs weekly at https://lucindasecrestmcdowell.com/ Follow Lucinda on Twitter: @LUCINDASMCDOWEL


  1. Yes, you are all those wonderful things ma'am. Mentor, teacher, encourager, "shoulders", and many more. Yet you are also a beautiful and talented writer and person. None of us know God's full plan for us. Many of us know we are called to serve Him as writers and speakers. Yet, how, when, where, and far-reaching will out impact for His kingdom be is beyond our comprehension. The key I take from your message was "Always leaving the fruit up to God." Thank you for being such an encouraging voice in the wilderness of this writing journey we are on. God's blessings Ms. LSM.

  2. It was a pleasure to meet you at the Blue Ridge Conference. You sweet spirit shone through during our conversation and your words of wisdom encouraged me to keep going. I sense that humility in you, Lucinda!

  3. I really needed to hear this today.

  4. Thank you for this wonderful message. I pray I will always show humility and grace in all my words and actions.