Welcome to Part 5 of the Writing by Faith series for Christian authors! If you’re new to Authoring Arrowheads, be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss future series posts!
If you haven’t yet read previous installments of the Writing by Faith series, you can do so here.
“(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)”-2 Corinthians 5:7, KJV
As we’ve established in previous sections, being a Christian author is not without its difficulties. It takes time, effort, and lots of prayer to avoid making idols out of writing and publishing, and enduring any opposition you may face throughout your journey; however, we have not yet discussed the lingering monster in the closet whose name is Stats.
Stats wears a lot of scary masks. His many faces include social media, blogging or website, Goodreads, and my personal worst enemy, sales. Stats can be very much of a downer, if we allow him to be. But, with God on our side, we can overcome Stats’ negative hold on us.
Numbers Do Not Define Us
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”-Titus 3:5, KJV
First and foremost, as Christians, our worth is in Christ’s sacrifice for us on the Cross. Nowhere in the 66 books of The Bible does it state that we are more valuable if we have 10,000 Instagram followers or sell in excess of 500 books a month. Nowhere. And yet, so many of us (I’m raising my own hand HIGH here), beat ourselves up mentally and have bi-weekly pity parties because we feel as if all our hard work on writing, publishing, and marketing books has been for naught. Because a certain number of people don’t care yet. Because we’ve invested hundreds of dollars in publishing these books only to sell one a month at $2.75 a pop, and that is nowhere near enough to cover the current income from the 9-to-5 job we want to quit eventually. Or maybe, we’re starting a new project that is taking forever to take off. But, hear me out. Check out how all those last three sentences ended: Yet. Eventually. Take off.
Going back to our main verse for this section (2 Corinthians 5:7), we are to walk by faith into the unseen, yet divinely-handwritten-by-God future, and not linger on the pitfalls of doubt Stats–otherwise known as Satan, if we allow him to get to us–sprinkles on the path. Our worth comes from God alone, so in order to overcome Stats’ negative influence, we need to continually have faith that, since God called us to serve Him through the written word, that He will shed light on the path before us, shunning Stats back to his dark closet.
How can we practice a faith mindset rather than one bent on failure? Every time we think about a setback we’re having, we need to end the thought on a cliffhanger (Yet. Eventually. Take off.), rather than a negative final declaration (It’ll never happen.). By rephrasing our thoughts to dwell on what God can do instead of what we, pessimistically, consider possible, we’re actively walking down the path He set before us by faith, not by sight.
Patience is a Virtue
“…Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;…”-Romans 12:11-12, KJV
Instead of allowing Stats to control our mindset and blur the path before us, let’s do as the Bible tells us: work diligently for the Lord and have patience.
The key to writing by faith is to keep using our gifts for God’s glory consistently, despite the little, or seemingly no progress we physically see. That can be easy to say, but difficult to implement. This is why we must pray for, and exercise, patience.
As someone who struggles with being patient, I’ll admit learning to not rush God’s timing can be extremely difficult, and you may feel you’re having to start back at level one every few days. You’ll be dead-set on trusting God when things are looking up, but just as soon as you get a bad review, or someone else brags they’ve made $1,000 this month while you’ve made $0.35, patience becomes harder and harder to maintain. You’ll start wondering why you should even bother continuing on this author journey if it isn’t progressing.
That’s what many blogs and books on publishing will tell you: if it ain’t working, stop doing it. But that’s from the world’s perspective, not God’s. They don’t have the final say.
Going back to Romans 12:11, the verse states: “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” The Bible tells us to keep moving forward in our endeavors with passion if we’re serving the Lord, not to just throw in the towel. Need more evidence? Remember the parable Jesus tells about the men who are given talents (money)?
The man who was given five talents used that money to make five more. The man who was given two talents used his to make two more. But what did the man who was only given one talent do? He buried it, thinking it was insignificant, that since it couldn’t multiply, he should just save that meager bit for himself. When their master returned and asked what became of the money, he calls those who invested “good and faithful” and promoted them, while he deemed the man who hid his talent “wicked and slothful” (notice that repeated use of “slothful”) and then makes him give his one talent to the man who had ten.
God doesn’t give us talents (aka, our writing ability) for the purpose of us thinking what we’re doing is insignificant and burying any possibility of the talent ever flourishing by stopping. This parable, along with Romans 12:11, both prove that God disapproves of “slothful” behavior (basically sitting around, wallowing, waiting for some miracle to change our circumstances), and rewards faith-based effort and can-do spirit.
This is why we must continually seek and ask God for patience and not to try to muster it on our own. If we depend solely on ourselves to make our author careers happen, we’ll be disappointed when we eventually fail and those quitting temptations stir. Surviving as a Christian author requires us to work as a team with God: We allow Him to lead us and provide the tools we need (including patience) and we do the work, putting our faith in not what we can accomplish on our own, but what God can use us to do.
Talk to Me, Arrowheads!
What are your thoughts on Part 5 of the Writing by Faith series? What are your methods for continually writing by faith and not letting the negative sights deter you from your God-given purpose?
Aim high, stay strong, and always hit your mark.