Do Your Gospel Thing

About a year ago I started processing where I have been, what my passions are, and what I dream for the future. I landed on writing. The best platform for a writer to practice and receive feedback is blogging.

Here’s the thing about writing, blogging specifically: it is scary and hard. You write your best piece and expect it to possibly, maybe, pick up some steam or catch fire. What you get instead is crickets. Silence. Nothing. Your heart is sitting on a dot com and no one clicks on it.

We all have our Gospel thing–that thing that burns in our belly. That thing that gets us out of bed in the morning. Or keeps us up late. That thing that makes us sell our possessions and move to places that require a passport. We have that thing that, as Olympic runner Eric Liddell says, makes us feel God’s pleasure.

If we are honest, most days that Gospel thing is scary and hard.

It is scary because we don’t feel good enough to do it. Scary because it doesn’t produce the income we need or it sucks the life out of every bit of income we do have. Scary because people we love don’t understand it or don’t support it. Scary because the passion is too much to quiet, but almost not enough to keep us going when it’s hard.

It is hard because it goes against the grain. It is hard because we have done it so long or not long enough. Hard because there is opposition within and without. It is hard because we know it is the right thing. Then we ask ourselves: if it is so right then why is it so hard?

Paul gave Timothy a pep talk in his first letter to his young protegee.

Do not neglect the gift you have. . . Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. 1 Timothy 4:14-16

He doesn’t advise Timothy to give a half-hearted effort. He tells him to practice it, to immerse in it. The King James version reads, “give thyself wholly.” It is a call to go all-in.

Daniel Coyle proposes it takes 10,000 hours of intense practice to master a skill. Let’s throw the towel in right there. Who has 10,000 hours to practice anything? In a recent podcast with Jeff Goins, Tim Ferris debunks the 10,000-hour rule. He said anyone can become world class “in a given skill in 6 months or less with concentrated, intelligent practice of a high-density nature.”

Let’s take an example from pop-culture. Dancing With the Stars pairs professional dancers with non-dancing stars. They work hard over the course of a week to learn a new dance and then present it for the world to enjoy and the judges to score. They don’t spend 10,000 hours working to master this new skill; they simply (or not so simply) practice, immerse themselves, and persist through hardships. 

Practice your thing.

Whatever it is. Get out there and practice it. Write. Take photographs. Sing into your hairbrush. Try that new grain-free ultra-healthy cupcake recipe. Invite a few friends over to talk over scripture. Get out there and do your Gospel thing.

Immerse yourself.

Surround yourself with people who do this thing. You grow best in community. Read books that feed your gift. Go to a playdate and mother with others. Attend a conference. Find examples of people living out your gift in scripture and study them.

Persist through hardships.

If you are doing the right thing, you will face hardships (John 16:33). Push through the injuries, the heartache, the loneliness. When the analytics tell you no one reads, write anyway. When your first or twelfth application is rejected, resubmit. When that precious, almond-eyed boy won’t hug you, love him anyway. Know that the end of persistence is completion (James 1:2-4).

We are anointed with a gift–each of us. There is that thing you do well that advances the kingdom. We meet resistance and want to put it away. But it is so important to push through the resistance. Hearts depend on it.

Are you giving your gift the focus it needs in order to “save both yourself and your hearers?”

Recommended Resources

“When imagination is sacrificed on the altar of logic, God is robbed of the glory that rightfully belongs to Him. In fact, the death of a dream is often a subtle form of idolatry. We lose faith in the God who gave us the big dream and settle for a small dream that we can accomplish without His help.” (Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker)

I highly recommend Platform by Michael Hyatt to anyone looking to learn the ropes of blogging, writing, publishing, or social media. It is a blogging textbook.

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  1. Terri Lynn Beasley May 6, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    I love this so much, and it’s amazing how timely it is. Just this week I was asked to begin the process to play keys with my church’s worship team. This is a Big Deal – the musicians that play at my church are Legit, and I’m just ok. Barely ok… it’s been years since I’ve really practiced. I have a terrible memory, and these guys play Everything with no music. This is Very scary and will be Really hard. But I feel called to do it, it’s been on my mind for a while and finally God had the worship leader come out and Ask me since I’ve been too coward to do it on my own. Also – the opposition. My husband perceives time spent at church as wasted, and while he supports me, he certainly isn’t excited about me being at church every Thursday night for 3 hours for the foreseeable future (probably a long one too.. that’s when I’ll be learning!) Anyway – I’m gonna do it, and I am going to come back to this blog post when I need to focus on what it’s really all about. Kelly – I can’t thank you enough for the time and attention you’re spending on this. You minister to me every time I see that email pop up… Love you and thank you!!!

    • I am so excited for you and this opportunity! We can be confident that God has a plan all figured out before we say yes. There will be a lot of hustle involved, but you will learn more about the faithfulness of God on this adventure! I am praying for you! And thank you for coming back to comment!

  2. I love how you called it our “gospel thing” instead of just our “thing”. Sometimes our definition of the Gospel is too narrow. Even though the Gospel isn’t about self actualiztion for the sake of self, living fully alive and fully whole is good news for you and for everyone else. Thanks for the reminder that we can be good news, displaying God’s image in a whole hearted life.

  3. “Your heart is sitting on a dot com and no one clicks on it.” I tell my husband this all the time about blogging! He doesn’t get it. 😉 I appreciate your openness and vulnerability in sharing. Thank you so much for the encouragement!

  4. I’m so glad you linked this on #LiveFreeThursday today! I love everything about this. One of the things I heard last week that stuck with me the most is this “Your sweet spot is not the entirety of your calling. Just because some of your calling is hard, it doesn’t mean you aren’t’ called.” This post is so encouraging and reminds me there are no shortcuts. Hard work and persistence is part of chasing what Jesus has asked us to do. Love you, sister!

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