Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Dipping the Quill Deeper—“You Will Achieve Nothing”

by Eva Marie Everson @EversonAuthor

A dear friend and I recently had an interesting conversation, discussing the things that “make it big” on social media versus those that don’t. Things such as videos of lip sync challenges, dance challenges, flash mobs, pouring buckets of ice on unsuspecting peoples’ heads . . . You know. Those things. 

“Isn’t it funny what works and what doesn’t?” I asked. “I mean, I bet I could put the very same dance or song or whatever out there and no one would notice.”

Then I told her all about one of my favorite “follows,” which is a skinny guy named Jimmy (JimmytheGreek7) who dances with his two teenaged kids in their kitchen (sometimes Mom gets involved). These 15-second jig videos get tons of likes and thumbs ups and whatever. If I were to grab a couple of my kids and do the same, I’d be lucky to have five “likes.” I may even be thrown off of social media.

Another friend, someone who knows a lot about marketing, remarked recently that Colleen Hoover’s extremely successful career was “built” on TikTok. I’m not sure what that means, but I know TikTok didn’t really work for me.

A Memory

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” my 7th grade science teacher asked the class. 

Secretary . . . farmer . . . doctor . . . nurse . . . lawyer . . . The responses were typical for that era. Then, my turn. “I want to be a novelist,” I said.

The teacher bristled. “Well, you can’t do that,” she said. 

And so, I didn’t do that. After high school, I studied nursing. Graduated. Passed the state boards. Went to work. Day in. Day out. Month in. Month out. Year in. Year out. Until . . . 

I am forty and I’m taking a walk in my neighborhood. A four-mile walk. And, as always, a story forms in my mind. A story that, as soon as I return home, I begin to pound out the concept and the outline of on my computer. Then I write the first chapter. Over the past year, I’d been writing sketches for a children’s ministry and had gone to the first meeting of a writing critique group* the month before, so I took that chapter to the next get-together. My new writerly friends gave me their best thumbs up. 

Soon after, I stood on the front porch of our Central Florida home, looked up, and said to the Lord, “I really want this. I really, really want this. But I cannot do it without you. I won’t do it without you. So, if you want this for me, I’m ready.”

And the doors opened. Floodgates really. Hang on, girlfriend . . . you’re about to become a novelist. (And, from that day in 7th grade, it only took about 30 years.)

Whatever You Do

Too often, we scroll through social media posts and see all the “likes” and the “thumbs up” and the “follows” and we wonder, “What do I need to do to do that?” We see success in others and wonder, “Why not me?” or “How’d they do that? More importantly, how can I do that, too?”

That focus is all wrong, my friend. 

Look at this: 

May the Lord give you the blessing of a strong desire to stand inwardly before God. Seek and you will find. Seek God . . . The help of God is always ready and always near, but is only given to those who seek and work, and only to those seekers who, after putting all their own powers to the test, then cry out with all their heart: Lord, help us. So long as you hold on to even a little hope of achieving something by your own powers, the Lord does not interfere. It is as though he says: ‘You hope to succeed by yourself—Very well, go on trying! But however long you try you will achieve nothing.’ May the Lord give you a contrite spirit, a humble and a contrite heart. (From The Art of Prayer, emphasis mine.)

And so, for those who struggle with social media, spending hours a day pounding little keyboards and hitting the “like” and “thumbs up” buttons, allow me to say that I hope that by your own power you achieve nothing. But I also pray you will stand before Him with an open heart, a contrite heart (and spirit), ready to go where He has you go. That your energy will instead be spent seeking and finding Him.

Do we have to—must we—market our own work these days? Yes. We do. 

We. Do. 

Prayerfully, however, make this your second way of succeeding. Seeking God, finding God, allowing Him to be your primary PR man . . . make this your first

Otherwise, may you achieve nothing . . . because nothing is more important, more exciting, more rewarding than success with God. 



Eva Marie Everson is the CEO of Word Weavers International, the director of Florida Christian Writers Conference, and the contest director for Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. She is the multiple award-winning author of more than 40 books and countless articles and blogposts. She is also an award-winning speaker and a Bible teacher and the most recent recipient of the AWSA Lifetime Achievement Award (2022). 

Eva Marie is often seen at writers conferences across the States. She served as a mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild and taught as a guest professor at Taylor University in 2011. She and her husband make their home in Central Florida where they enjoy their grandchildren. They are owned by one persnickety cat named Vanessa.

Eva Marie's latest book, THE THIRD PATH, takes a look at 26 of the questions God asked in the Bible, then makes them personal to the reader. The premise of the book is currently her most asked for continuing workshop at writers conferences.

Featured Image: Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash


  1. WOW, Eva, this absolutely beautiful and so very dead-on!! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you Julie! I've tried to answer this more than once . . . maybe this one will go through! Sometimes I don't get along real well with technology. LOL How have you been! Whatcha been up to? :)

  2. Your memory reminds us of the impact our words have to encourage or discourage. Thank you, Eva.

    1. Indeed. Especially teachers or those who have been called to instruct in any form.

  3. Yes. Over and over yes. any good we accomplish must come through Him. He is faithful to provide. We just need to ask!

  4. Yes! His will, His purpose, His timing will bring about the reward we truly seek.

    1. I like that, Lisa! HIS will, HIS purpose, HIS timing . . . and we get the rewards!

  5. Thank you Eva, such great thoughts for us! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Eva, thank you so much. You have not only the gift of writing but also of encouragement. All I want now is Him, His will, His purpose, and His timing.