Saturday, September 19, 2020

Are We Striving for the Inner Ring as Writers?

by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

C.S. Lewis gave a talk to university students called, “The Inner Ring.” He said, “I believe that in all man’s lives at all periods between infancy and extreme old age, one the most dominant elements is the desire to be inside the local Ring and the terror of being left outside.”


We’ve all felt it—the longing to be accepted within the inner circle of whatever group matters to us. As writers, we all desire to be able to put award winning before our name. We dream of not only having our work published but held at high esteem. Even perhaps seeing our name on the New York Times Best Seller List. These are all worthy aspirations and not what C.S. Lewis is referring to by his talk. Excelling because of hard work is a virtue and does not cause us to compromise our calling.


However, when desire instead of excellence becomes our chief motive, the aspiration to be “in” can cause us to say and do and think that which is apart from who we are and what we believe. This desire, when acted upon, controls relationships and goals in all phases of our lives, including that most intimate of relationships, our oneness with the Lord.

Which Ring? 

We need to ask ourselves what “ring” we are attempting to be a part of, knowing that when we, as a child of the living God, yield to God’s calling we are already in the inner ring of God’s family. These benefits may not bring earthly accolades. In fact, persecution may follow us as it did the disciples in the early church and often does today. Our call by God is not adapted to society’s decrees of right and wrong. That call was given before we were born when God said in Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. And before you were born I consecrated you.” That is an awesome truth and one that, in our own understanding is hard to comprehend. But, God’s truth exists whether we believe it or not.


There are reasons why some of us stray from our calling and slide over into the desire to be a part of the inner ring. Chief among the reasons for betraying ourselves is fear. We may feel strength in the company of those who hold power. By turning away from who God called us to be and observing the presumed security of being a part of an accepted group, we soon begin to compromise. We loose our individuality to that of the group. Instead of being governed by God’s dream for us, we become driven by the desires and dictums of the society to which we have aligned ourselves. Soon our individual gifts are crushed and the dream God put in our hearts is counterfeited by the mission of others.


Pressure to Conform

We are all susceptible to the pressure to conform. As writers, our world is often shattered by rejection. It is here we stand at a crossroad. It is here that we often drift toward the inner ring. We believe we will achieve success by association. We move from our calling to, instead, write what others have deemed as worthy. We pour our energy into becoming what we are not and we set aside what we are.


It is at the crossroads that we meet our greatest challenge. By daring to be bold and brave and turning from compromise to believing in an outcome only known by God but believed by faith, we follow the Lord on His road of success for us. Our spirits are transformed from fear to courage. We know we are not alone, that He is with us. Our success is in His hands, whether it be great or small, it is mighty in the eternal. 


We are told to have faith in ourselves. I contend that we can only have faith in ourselves when we surrender first to faith in Jesus and His power to prove Himself in the face of all odds. 


Bottom Line

In our uncertain world, our very foundation is shaking. Truth is called a lie and lies are called truth. God’s authority over mankind is usurped to read man’s authority over God. The vehicle and means to live out our calling often shrivels under the burden of shutdowns. It is here we need to turn from the obstacles we can’t control and cling to the One who is in control. The Lord promises throughout scripture that He will never leave or forsake us. He who calls equips. Often in strange new ways. Be brave. This may be our finest hour.


Are We Striving for the Inner Ring as Writers? @GannonEmme on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Emme Gannon is a wife, mother, and grandmother who loves to write stories that stir the heart. Her award-winning writing has appeared in Focus on the Family magazine, several anthologies, and numerous newsletters. She just completed her first novel.


  1. Wonderful post Ms. Emme. I couldn't help but think of the words of Luke 2:49 as I read your post. "I must be about my Father's business." (paraphrased). I love your note that as Christians, we are already a part of the most important inner circle there is. God's blessings ma'am. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and grace.

    1. Thank you for always encouraging, J.D. Yes, we are a part of God's inner circle, a fact I often have to remind myself of. Blessings to you.

  2. Such wise words, Emme. Our most important goal should be to press toward the calling of Christ Jesus for our lives. Thank you, sweet lady, for this inspiration.

  3. Thank you for your kind words, Barbara. Yes, especially in these troubled times, pressing toward Jesus' individual calling to each of us is so important. Blessings to you.

  4. Thank you for your reminder that we can always depend on the Lord. I liked your encouragement to be brave!