My friend, Melissa Tagg, graciously agreed to guest post this week, and you need to buckle in because it's a great post! It nailed me between the eyes, and though she used the example of writing, we all can relate to what she has to say. That's because we've all got a purpose, one that takes work to achieve and at times we can't see the results. Sometimes it even looks like we're failing. So the question becomes, is it worth it?
Here's Melissa to answer:)
Telling the story is worth it
I am not often overly melodramatic. But there’s one huge exception…
…when I’m working out.
Just ask my sister, Amy, who every once in awhile plays personal trainer to me when I’m down in Wichita visiting her. I turn into a complete drama queen. I’ve mastered the exaggerated sighs when it’s time to do lunges. I get all whimper-y and “woe is me” during sit-ups.
And I just plain cry when we get to the push-ups.
But the thing I tell myself over and over when I’m resolutely powering barely making it through a workout is that it’s worth it.
It’s worth it to feel healthy. To know I’m taking care of myself. Well, and to prove to my sister than I’m at least forty percent as in shape as she is. :)
But seriously, it’s worth it.
There was a time when I started to wonder if writing was worth it. Serious writers who are out to make a career of this thing know there’s so much more than a little hob-nobbing around with a laptop that goes into writing. There are mega investments of time, energy and even money.
A couple years ago, I’d been writing seriously for about a year and a half, maybe two years. I’d had some great moments—winning a contest, finaling in another, getting some agent/editor requests for my first story. But I hadn’t seen a lot of traction beyond that.
And I started thinking…is all this time and money and mental craziness worth it? What if no one ever reads my writing? What if this story languishes away on my laptop for years to come? Is it worth it?
Obviously I eventually decided yes. I’d love to say I had some mega epiphany of epic spiritual proportions. And while I did have some truly cool moments with God as I moved forward on my writing journey, I’m not sure I ever actually answered that “is it worth it?” question until just recently when a friend expressed the same thoughts about her own writing…
As I pondered my friend’s questions, I started thinking about Jesus…about the stories he told to thousands of people. And how in some cases, thousands responded, yes. But in others…they didn’t. Sometimes He was disdained. Sometimes He was outright betrayed.
Eventually He died for the eternal story His very presence on earth represented. (And rose again, of course. That’s the happy part!)
But I started asking myself, I wonder if there were times when it might not have felt worth it to Jesus. Did He ever think, “God, what am I doing here? People aren’t listening. They aren’t getting it. My closest friends don’t even comprehend this story I’m living. Is it even worth it?”
But the more I thought about it, the more something told me Jesus would’ve told those same stories for one person. He would’ve lived that same story for one heart.
Because it’s who He is. He was and is the Christ. The salvation story He lived—the one we get to live today—is part of who He is as God’s anointed.
Thus, we were and are worth it to Him—even despite the pain it caused Him.
Which brings me back to that question about writing. Is it worth it when we’re not seeing immediate results? When we’re wondering if anyone’s life is really changing? When we get bad reviews or negative reader reactions. Or especially if we’re the only ones who will ever even read our stories?
I think the answer is yes.
I think the answer is yes because it’s who we are.
We have this amazing example in Christ of someone who knew the task set before him, who followed after it despite the pain, and who believed—I think—that even just one heart was worth it.
And you know, maybe the heart that changes most when we’re following this writing journey is our own. I’ve heard Susan May Warren, one of my favorite authors, say many times: “If God doesn’t change you on the writing journey, you’ve missed the point.”
So I can’t help thinking, maybe I’m the one heart God means to most change as He fuels my own writing dream. Maybe you’re the heart your story is meant to most impact.
And it’s worth it.
Melissa Tagg is a former newspaper reporter and total Iowa girl. Her first novel, Made to Last, released from Bethany House in September 2013. In addition to her homeless ministry day job, Melissa is also the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy, a craft and coaching community for writers. When she’s not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever, watching old movies and daydreaming about her next book. Melissa blogs regularly and loves connecting with readers at www.melissatagg.com.
And for anyone who missed my Friday book review, you have until tomorrow night midnight to leave a comment here and your email address to be entered to win a copy of Melissa's debut novel, Made to Last.
Happy Monday everyone! And a HUGE thanks, Melissa, for guesting today and bringing the Truth!:)
Wow, oh wow. What's funny is that I was just thinking this morning, "What if none of the requests I got pan out? Where would I go from here? Would I give up?" I know I'd be tempted to put it all down for awhile, because of the discouragement. But there is something to be said for persevering...and you're right. God changes my heart much more when I'm following his plan for me and I'm willing to hear exactly what he has to say. And right now, that's happening on my writing journey. I WANT him to change me through this. I need him to. You're right...it's worth it!ReplyDelete
I feel you, Lindsay! This post really resonated with me too. Perfect timing:)Delete
You're so right, Linz...there's DEFINITELY something to be said for persevering. I think we honor God when we keep working hard despite setbacks, especially when we're certain we're on the path he wants us on. And he'll change us along the way...which makes all of it worth it. :)Delete
What a wonderful post. I have to agree--even if I'm the only one who reads it, I see myself change as I write. And that does makes it worth it. God changes something deep inside me as I write. That is a gift--the changing in me. If I touch one more heart beyond mine, then just...wow.ReplyDelete
:) Yep. It has been a journey, God molding me as I write. And who knows where He's placed my stories and who they've touched. What I do know is how He's changed me:)Delete
I love what you said about the change in you being the gift. It IS a huge gift, isn't it?Delete
Ever feel like you're the slowest learner ever?? Even when I know God is using this journey to refine my character, man, is it challenging not to lose heart at times. I've been wrestling with this very tension since I first started blogging. With all the pressure of building a platform, we tend to measure our impact based upon the number of followers we have. But I'm continually learning to write for the Lord rather than for a result. I write because He's called me to write, no matter the size of the audience. Thanks for the encouragement. :)ReplyDelete
"I write because He's called me to write, no matter the size of the audience." Love that, Crystal.Delete
I hear you on the task of building a platform. That can be hard and daunting and all sorts of frustrating. And yeah, it can start to feel like this ridiculous numbers game. When it gets that way, though, that's when I like to go back and re-read some favorite scenes...especially the ones where I felt like God just wrote the scene through me. That's my reminder that it's not about the numbers, but about God writing a story in and through me...
This was so...just...awesome. Thank you, Melissa, for the incredible encouragement and truth! Celebrating with you during this exciting season in writing for you! :)ReplyDelete
Thanks, Amanda...and I'm so glad you found the post encouraging. I told Susan that when I wrote this one, I meant to take it a different direction but the post started writing itself. I think I needed to hear it, too!Delete
“If God doesn’t change you on the writing journey, you’ve missed the point.”ReplyDelete
I feel like I change with every story or I discover an answer to a question. Loved this! Love you! Love you both actually!
Love you back! And yeah, I love that line from Susie...I repeat it to myself a LOT, especially when I find myself getting wrapped up in deadlines or numbers or platform stuff.Delete