A Danger for Christian Writers

danger for christian writers

I recently went down a YouTube rabbit hole. Often such behavior ends up being a big fat waste of time, but in this case, it turned out to be a good thing. I came across the video below by Tim Keller, in which he talks about our work. He specifically used the example of being a writer, so that’s why I wanted to share it since it’s an important message regarding a danger for Christian writers.

Note: The whole video is great, but the part that stood out to me starts here.

Here are the specific things that stood out to me.

Don’t Base Your Self-Worth On Your Identity as a Writer

If work is your identity, and you base your self-worth on your identity, it destroys you. It destroys you if you’re successful because it fills you with pride. And it destroys you if you’re unsuccessful because it wounds your heart.

He told the story of a writer whose whole sense of self-worth was bound up in being a good writer. And he began to realize that he had lost all perspective when it came to his writing. He couldn’t look at something he’d written honestly because he NEEDED it to be great.

It’s important to have a deep identity and a deep certainty of your worth apart from your writing. Don’t base your sense of worth on your performance as a writer (or anything else) – you must base it on Christ.

Why Your Book Sales Don’t (Necessarily) Matter

This was a great reminder for me since I write full time. I find myself looking at my Amazon sales stats. When sales are great, I feel validated and proud of my accomplishments as a writer. This gives me a sense of self worth.

I do the same thing with reviews. If I get positive reviews, I pat myself on the back and feel satisfied with myself as a writer.

The problem, of course, comes in when things aren’t going well. When I keep refreshing my sales reports in my Kindle dashboard and see that sales are low. I start to panic. Lose hope. Get depressed. I may even feel that pursuing writing full time was a big fat mistake.

When People Give You Bad Reviews

And don’t even get me started on reviews! For the most part, I’m proud of my reviews. My overall ratings are high. But when someone finds fault with my writing, I feel like someone punched me in the gut, and I once again doubt my worth.

The key thing to remember in all of this is that in Christ, we are enough. His death on the cross is all that we need to prove our worth. Yes, work hard on your writing. Do your best to improve your craft, and yes, to sell more books. And then trust in the giver of all things to bring about the harvest of all your labor. You are worthwhile, even if your book sales dashboard tells a different story.

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