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.
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?”
“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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