Writers: The Ladder of Success or Downwardly Mobile?

Jun 1, 2012Work Uncaged, Write!

I recently had an experience where I’d been considered for a high profile speaking opportunity. The process was stressful, and the outcome didn’t count in my favor. But as I walked through it, I realized something very important, something that is keeping me sane and joyful.

This writing life is often upwardly mobile. We’re constantly trying for the next big thing, the next big book, the next lucky break. I’ve been on that treadmill, and it’s exhausting. As I was overlooked for the big opportunity, the possibility of a very small opportunity presented itself.

And you know what? I’d rather do the smaller venue.

As God and I chatted about everything, I realized that the big opportunity was truly for people with big names, to draw crowds, to fuel the machine. I also knew my name wasn’t big. It wouldn’t draw crowds. Therefore, it made sense that I wouldn’t be selected. No need to be sad about it. It’s just plain reality.

But the small opportunity could mean lives deeply impacted for the kingdom. And I have a true excitement for it.

I’m not saying God can’t move in big events. He certainly can. But what I am saying is that for me, right now, God seems to be calling me to become downwardly mobile.

Jesus says the first will be last, the last first. So much of promotion is trying to find the first place in line. I remember what Randy Alcorn said at a writers conference I attended when I was unpublished. He said, “Any fame that comes my way only gives more opportunities to serve.” The more fame, the more we serve.

I’ve tucked that away in my mind all these years. No matter whether fame comes or flies away, my job as a Christ follower is still to take the last seat, to become downwardly mobile, to entrust my career to His capable hands and take my controlling hands away.

How about you? When have you ascended the ladder of success? And when has God called you to smaller things?