Monthly Archives: November 2010

Show off

No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.

Matthew 5:15

I hear a lot of talk, especially in Christian writer circles, about how a person is supposed to remain humble yet still market our work. Aren’t they mutually exclusive?

In many of the message boards and writers groups I belong to, I see a lot of writers showing off their works, whether it be adding links to a glowing review, a sales page, or contest for a newly released novel.

Honestly I find it a little tiresome. Many of the authors write it in such a way as to make it all about their accomplishments. Could my reaction be based on envy? Perhaps maybe a little, but not much. Mostly it’s because I’m also a writer who is more eager to sell than to buy.

But that’s getting a bit off-topic.

Many are truly interested in sharing God’s love, and the only way to do that is to tell people about it. To not say anything is like telling the dancer to dance only in the basement, the singer to sing only in the shower and the actor to only act out scenes in front of a mirror.

It’s a fine line when promoting the Message becomes promoting the Self. How are we to tell the difference? And equally important, how are others to tell the difference, myself included?

As a reader I count how many times the writer says “me”, “myself” and “I”. It’s not the only test, to be sure, because it simply can’t be helped. It is, after all, their story, regardless of the One who inspired it.

There’s one person who posts a lot (and I mean a lot) on a message board I frequent. This person is always informing us of recent sales — both novels and short stories. She constantly adds links to her blog and website, and informing us of her current novel’s progress.

I can’t help but wonder if she’s crossed the line from shining God’s light to shining her own. Granted it’s not for me to judge, but I can’t help but fear I will cross that line myself — by the mere act of telling people my novel won a contest or is in the hands of a publisher.

That’s not bragging, but mere stating of fact — facts I know people want to know about my writing journey.

As Rush Limbaugh often says, “It ain’t bragging if it’s true.”

I think we as Christians have taken humility to such an extreme we hide our light — our God-given talents — under a bush. In many ways we even take pride in our humility. How’s that for a contradiction? Or we’re so afraid of becoming too prideful, it’s safer to say nothing.

That being the case, then God wasted his time on giving us the drive and talent to write. Yes, we should write as if God was our only audience, but God has greater intentions than his — and our — personal satisfaction.

God loves to show off, and if anyone should, it’s him. All he’s asking in return is for us to help him do that with our talents, as in my case, through words.

But that’s enough about me 😉