Thursday, August 6, 2020

When We Doubt Our Call to Write


by Lynn H. Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

I recently returned from a vacation where for three days I didn’t do much of anything but read. It was glorious. I loved the books I brought with me. I inhaled them. I fell in love with the characters and the places and the ideas.

And then I found myself with a bit of a problem. Because while the books I read were great, I was forced to contend with one very harsh reality:

There’s no way I could have written them. 

In true writer fashion, an impressive neurotic spiral began: 

“These books were amazing.”
“She’s so talented.”
“Where does she get these ideas?”
“Her characters are so unique.”
“How? How? HOW DID SHE DO THIS?”

and then it kept going ….

“I can’t ever compete with this.”
“I’ve never had an original idea in my life.”
“What do I have to offer?”
“Why do I bother when she does it SO MUCH BETTER?”
“What’s the point of me even trying?”

(Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this!)

But, God, (don’t you love that phrase?) had, I believe, ordained that the day after I finished a run of fabulous fiction, I would also be coming to the conclusion of some fabulous nonfiction, and I would read the following:

Who are we to judge whether it’s effective for the kingdom of God? We’re talking about supernatural, eternal life change. Who are we to judge whether our token contribution is meaningful? (Get Out of Your Head ~ Jennie Allen)

Can anyone else say ouch with me? 

We all have different temperaments and personalities. You may not struggle with this, but I happen to be the type of person that desperately wants to blend in, except for when I really want to be the.very.best.ever.  

The crazy thing is that neither of these extremes are what God has called me to. He hasn’t called me to remain in obscurity. He also hasn’t called me to be #1. 

What he has called me to do is faithfully write stories.

My words matter. Not because they are mine or because I’m special or gifted or unique. They matter because they are the words God has given me to help share the Gospel. And it’s not my job to determine their relative importance in the Kingdom. 

Will millions of people read them? Probably not. 

But what if what I’m writing today is the only thing a starving soul will be willing to read three years from now? How can I not obey the calling on my life and trust God with the results?

Does it matter, in the grand scheme of things, if I win awards or sign another contract or have a book turned into a movie? It only matters if that’s what He wants to spread His Glory and His Fame. 

I don’t need my glory and fame spread.

I need to do my best every time, but I don’t need to be the best ever.

If I can wrap my head around that, then I can enjoy and savor the beautiful offerings from my fellow authors without jealousy or envy or fear taking hold. 

So, I’m working on my next story and praying God will use it as He sees fit.

I’m thanking God for the gifts He has lavished on my friends and for the joy their stories bring to me and to others.

And I’m praying for grace and endurance to run my race, to tell my stories, to stay on the path God has set my feet on, and that I will mean every word when I pray, “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” ~ Psalm 115:1 (ESV)

Grace and peace,




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Lynn H. Blackburn loves writing suspense because her childhood fantasy was to become a spy, but her grown-up reality is that she's a huge chicken and would have been caught on her first mission. She prefers to live vicariously through her characters and loves putting them into all kinds of terrifying situations while she's sitting at home safe and sound in her pajamas! 

Her Dive Team Investigations series kicked off in 2018 with Beneath the Surface and In Too Deep (A SIBA Okra pick and Selah Award Finalist). The 3rd book in the series, One Final Breath, released September 2019 and is a 2020 Selah Award and a 2020 Faith Hope, and Love Reader’s Choice Award finalist. She is also the author of Hidden Legacy and Covert Justice, which won the 2016 Carol Award for Short Novel and the 2016 Selah Award for Mystery and Suspense. Lynn lives in South Carolina with her true love and their three children. You can follow her real life happily ever after at LynnHBlackburn.com and @LynnHBlackburn on BookbubFacebookTwitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

15 comments:

  1. Well, if no one else needed to hear that, I did:)))

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  2. Thank you for your words of encouragement Lynn!! I really needed to hear this today. And I have Jennie Allen’s book so I need to dig it out and start reading. Well said!

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  3. Thanks, Lynn. That took a lot of green out of me.
    Jay - Anderson, SC

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  4. When doubt tries to creep into my thoughts, I go to God and ask for His guidance. He brings peace and comfort.

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  5. And here's another one who goes through the same stuff, Lynn. My latest book release coincided with the release of another writer friend whose work I admire. She's #1, already has over 1500 reviews. But God ... :) Thanks, my friend.

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  6. Thanks for sharing your heart, Lynn. I feel like this a lot when I read other amazing books (like yours!)! Glad to know there are many of us who have doubts. God is good and will help remove them!

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  7. Thank you, Lynn. That is excellent advice whatever your calling. I admit I've been in that spiral many times. That's why encouragement such as you've given here is so important. Unfortunately, we can also fall into the trap of looking down on others' work and judging it unworthy of support. How many have given up on their God ordained work because no one bothered to see the value regardless of worldly marketability? God has certainly used what you've written today. Thanks again! Stay the course. KB

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  8. I needed to hear that today. Thank you!

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  9. I so appreciate you putting words to what many of us are feeling. I have to remind myself constantly of this. When I get to the place of doubt, God is good to whisper, "I see you. I am the Author of your work and have chosen the one(s) who need to read the truth tucked inside the story you've written. Now, eyes on ME and let's do this!"

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  10. This is so very encouraging. Great guidance about the sacred middle ground between obscurity and perfectionism.

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  11. Wow! This applies to everything, not just writing. And it opened my eyes and spoke to my heart. Thank you for sharing this with us.

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  12. Lynn, your words were the medicine I needed for all the self-inflicted wounds I've suffered. Thank you so much. Your words matter to me!

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  13. Thank y'all so much for encouraging me with your comments! It's so nice to know I'm not alone! :)
    Grace and peace to each of you!
    Lynn

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  14. I needed these words tonight. Thank you, Lynn.

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