I still remember about 2 years ago when my husband and I stepped down from a great ministry at church. It was hard because we so enjoyed the people we were serving with, but it was time.
I had also just finished my first book and was trying to figure out what to do with it now that I had it in my hands. Plus getting my website up! I was stressed because I had no idea what I was doing.
The pastors we had been serving under were totally supportive of our decision. And, they both stated how important it was to start marketing my book.
But I was struggling because my fuzzy brain kept telling me that I was actually marketing myself, and not God.
The pastors disagreed when I told them of my struggles. If God had impressed upon me to write the book, then I was being disobedient if I didn’t do my best to showcase it to others – it was His work, and His calling.
But the verses I came across in the Bible were telling me something different.
“Boast no more so very proudly, don’t let arrogance come out of your mouth; for the Lord’s a God of knowledge and with Him actions are weighed” (1 Samuel 2:3).
“Let another praise you and not your own mouth” (Proverbs 27:2).
A few years back I was struggling at my job. The leadership didn’t realize the different jobs I was involved in – they thought I was just doing data entry. And at times I was tempted to boast. But I knew God didn’t want me to do that. It was being prideful. I was reminded back then that the Lord knew the hours I was putting in and the work I was doing. I was to work for Him – my audience of One.
So how was marketing my book any different? Where was the line through all the fuzziness? Some days I was in total agreement about what the pastors told me; and other days I felt the opposite. The teeter-totter effect was driving me crazy.
Also during that time, I felt the Lord impressing upon me to write a Bible study. I obeyed, and then used it in a small group. The ladies really enjoyed it and encouraged me to publish it – which put into my mind a second book, which I’m currently writing.
I worked hard to complete the first draft of the book. But then? It sat on my desk for a couple months with me barely touching it.
Why? Because I started getting fuzzy-brain again. What did I think I was doing? Who do I think I am anyway?
But thankfully our God is a God of grace, and He keeps putting people in my life to get me back on track.
A couple weeks ago my accountability partner got a little stern with me (lovingly) as we were having lunch about how I was letting Satan get a foothold. Yes, I figured that – still it kind of slapped me back into an upright position.
Then this past week at my women’s Bible study, I got nailed once again when the teaching leader talked about how we need to stand upright with our shields out in front of us (Ephesians 6:16) to catch those arrows of doubt when they come soaring through the air. If God’s asking you to do something – YOU NEED TO DO IT!
And, as I was leaving the study that day, one gal in the group told me to not let the enemy steal away what God wanted me to share with others through my book.
It brought to mind Peter saying how he’d never turn away from Jesus no matter what; and then Jesus told him Satan was determined to “sift [him] like wheat” (Luke 22:31).
That’s a great analogy, isn’t it? The way farmers used to sift wheat was to first beat it hard to remove the chaff (husks); and then toss it in the air which allowed the remaining chaff to blow away. The good grain ended up falling to the ground where it just laid there until someone picked it up.
That’s what the enemy likes to do to us – beat us up and throw us to the ground! And then he leaves us there until the Lord picks us up and places us back to where we need to be.
It’s tough sometimes to see the clear straight line, isn’t it? That’s why we need to keep leaning on our Savior, and surrounding ourselves with praying friends to keep us focused on the clear picture.