I discovered something along the journey years ago. It’s that when I wonder what this or that person thinks of something to ask them. And also to not expect them to care or not care what I may think about it.
I don’t mean we shouldn’t care what other’s think, far from it! I’m saying getting other’s attention isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Being approved of by people is often quite different than be approved of by God.
People value you, value your opinion or may think “This’ll be a great argument, sparring match, I can rock this person and/or subject and come out on top. Maybe even gain allies… and a constituency for my writing, music, shows, film, photos, social media, blog sites or business.” This, dear reader, also applies to you and me!!
I also am not saying to never communicate what you think or what you’re doing or believe, rather that sometimes our motives are… shall I say, less than honest about sharing what, when, how and where we share.
I may be the odd person out but after years of recording, interviews, concerts and doing my best to fulfill requests of all sorts from a rather massive range and number of people (it comes with the territory and in my case, years and calling) I laugh (often out loud) at spam-emails and social media sites hyping me “Want to get more gigs? Want to sell more?! Want to expand your audience/clientele/reach? Link with us!”
How much is enough? Just how much is plenty enough and maybe to the extent of overwhelming ourselves?
Here’s a personal example-
I know more about a particular skill than I myself apply in the practical: For a number of reasons I rarely kick a ball these days but could have easily coached soccer (the real football) due to my love of the sport, studies, field experience and game attendance but was always limited in my technical/physical abilities. There were and are other priorities in my life much as I love the game.
More to the point I was never and do not now consider myself a great writer. Sometimes I read earlier and even current stuff I’ve published and cringe as I’m certain a load of truly excellent writers would also cringe having tried to engage with my work. BUT, when years of the same questions came from ever-growing numbers of people about music and music ministry I wrote “The Responsibility of The Christian Musician” which you can find at: https://theresponsibilityofthechristianmusician.wordpress.com/2020/08/04/example-post-3/ Meeting their needs when I was able to (can’t always do this for everyone at all times!!) was the priority.
Someone may have just thought “Hey, he’s doing what he just said he’s not interested in doing!” re. promotion. Not at all. It’s simply the best analogy at hand to express what I’m trying to say… not a genius piece of writing but an attempt to answer a LOT of folk’s questions about my understanding of what’s most important for a follower of Jesus in any sort of music ministry in terms of the core relationships with others, period.
So I didn’t thread that little book with a load of stories which of course I had years of by the time of writing. Everyone knows Jesus used stories and that narratives are the most effective go-to for communicating. I’ve now used a couple in this very post… so of course I get it!!
Note the importance of self-awareness including limited abilities and indeed flaws?
And yet… and still… the “add greater numbers” and “get ever-more attention” and “expand and climb ‘success mountain'” often puts one at odds with God and what I believe to be Bible (His Word, His will) values.
I understand the use of advertisement and online algorithms and do not think them each and all nothing but evil but there is the temptation to do things not because the Lord calls or the Spirit moves us to SERVE others via His fruit and gifts but rather more base and a rather Western capitalistic sense of values begin to churn in our decisions, stewardship of our time and efforts. It is THIS that I often think about when being hounded by adverts and business interests and even those in Christian ministry as per knocking on doors thinking we must do pretty much EVERYTHING we’re being asked to do when nobody but God Himself can, could or should! For that matter, He sometimes says “Wait, not yet” and in other times in effect tells us “No”!
Sometimes I think, even say out loud when I’m alone: “I don’t NEED more gigs, a larger crowd nor bigger barns to store the increase in.” I honestly don’t care and pretty well never have. I would be lying to say I never check online stats and unit sales – mind you, for me that’s about getting a sense of what people seem open to hearing in terms of the CONTENT OF WHAT I AM SAYING not with a view to increasing my “fan base”, numbers of sales or mere ego strokes. I often read through comments to get a sense of who people are, what they think, how they interact with issues to better help me consider what and how to bring content to the table -for their sake-.
God’s incredible grace and calling has provided that my wife and I are comfortable living a simple life with others who share general vision to the extent we don’t require what perhaps the average person in the Western world does in terms of status quo housing, finance and lifestyle props. Regardless, I’m convinced if your focus is Jesus and others (relationship – mission and relationship – mission) numbers can be less the focus.
So there you go, a bit of my internal philosophy -which may sound crazy and is rather alternative, counter-culture to the American Dream.
If people dig my chili, great. If not, also great. I bring to the table what I believe feeds those sheep the Shepherd sends me to. Ok, ok I know sheep don’t feast on chili… but hey… work with me here, ha!
As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn