I’ve been writing since I was a child, and first realized I might actually have some skill with it when I wrote political columns for my local newspaper in high school. When I went to college, I continued to receive affirmation for my work with words, which culminated in publishing Unfriend Yourself: Three Days to Detox, Discern, and Decide about Social Media with Moody Publishers.
Since then, I haven’t written much on this blog or anywhere else, save a few articles for my local paper. After publishing my book, which wasn’t exactly a stunning success, and watching many of the people I graduated with start their own blogs, I experienced a sense of conflict that I couldn’t shake.
It seems like everyone under 30 believes themselves to be a writer worth publishing, or at least possessing opinions and stories that deserve to be read by…everyone. When literally anyone can become a writer in just a few clicks, the Millennial drive to be listened to is given a significant platform. When it comes to writing, I’m not always sure that I want to add to the cacophony of Millennial neediness and self-importance.
This quandary was on exacerbated when I reflected on the sheer volume of Christian literature—books, articles, magazines, and blogs—available to us today. Christians, especially those in the West, have more resources available to them now than at any other time in history. Oddly, though, while we live in a literary time of plenty, fewer and fewer people are actually reading what’s available to them. Why write if we don’t even have the desire, time, or attention span to read a blog or a book?
This leaves me, a Christian 20-something who really likes writing, and has even had a smidge of success with it, in an awkward place.
Seeking the wisdom of my forbears on this issue, I’ve always been drawn to the words of Frederick Buechner, who wrote, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Then again, it’s not clear that the world has a deep hunger for another blog, much less a Christian blog written by another 20-something. And while the place of my deep gladness is doing things with words, this still doesn’t get me far. Because at the end of the day, I’m still a Christian 20-something who thinks he should be a writer; and there are a lot of us.
But let’s look at those first words of Buechner’s, “the place God calls you.” What if the deep gladness I feel at writing has to do with God’s call on my life—my vocation? What if writing, for me, is an undeniable part of my vocation? And what if exercising this part of my vocation has nothing to do with recognition, but the simple act itself?
In other words, if a writer writes an essay, and no one takes the time or cares enough to read it, and it doesn’t make the author the next coolest Christian thing, is it still a worthwhile endeavor?
The answer, my friends, must be yes.
Because if writing is part of my vocation, which is to be a minister, a servant, then my writing must shape itself around an important axiom: Ministry is about being a servant, not about being recognized.
In short, I write not to become recognized, but to be a servant. A servant to others, sure. But more importantly a servant to God, who has given writing to me as my assignment in the world (1 Cor 7:17). A friend recently told me, “Don’t stop doing things with words.” This little statement helped me understand that to stop doing things with words would be a denial of my assignment in the world. It would be an insult to the Assigner.
So what you’ll find on Caring for the Soul is not the result of endless research on how to get your blog recognized. You won’t find me pandering for your approval or readership. You’ll find me, and I’m not all that important; what is important is the work I do here, even if it’s unrecognized. And that’s OK with me.