Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sabbath Reflections: Living for Applause

I really want you to like me.

In fact, I care way too much about what you think about me (and my writing).

As a writer, I’m often forced to give others something I’ve written to get their feedback, on a criticism scale ranging from my mom to an editor.

Then I sit around and wonder what their reactions will be. I worry a little bit, but, because I’m a die-hard optimist, I mostly just hope.

In my starry-eyed daydreams, the reception to my writing goes something like, “Wow, this is a really deep thought. I admire Amy’s clear intelligence and spiritual maturity.”

Or, “Wow, what a great story. Clearly, Amy is a talented writer with a gift for clarity of expression and insight into the human condition.”

Or even, “Wow, this is a hilarious article. Amy must be a genuinely funny person. I want to hang out with her all the time because she probably makes witty comments every few seconds.”

I want people to like my writing so much that they like me too.

There is something very obviously wrong with this concept, besides the fact that it’s utterly ridiculous. And the fact that if that’s the only feedback I got, my writing would never improve. And the fact that no one actually talks like that anyway.

No, what’s really wrong with this mindset is something even more basic, something I struggle with almost every day, a truth that is easy to agree with in theory, but hard to accept in practice.

I am not what I do.

I am not my grades or my looks or my athletic ability (thank goodness). I am not even my spiritual gifts or résumé of community service or daily devotions track record.

And I am not my writing.

My failures and successes do not define me. My identity can’t be found in a list of accomplishments. My goals shouldn’t be task-oriented, a checklist of all that I want to do for God, as if He needed my help.

I am a child of God, a co-heir with Christ, and a partner in the gospel. I have victory over sin and death, freedom from the law, and hope for the future. I am justified, renewed, and loved. And this is all because of Jesus, not because of anything I did or anything I do.

That can make me feel very small. But it also makes me feel free.

Have I reached the place where I care only about what God thinks of me, without needing anyone else’s approval? No. Apparently you didn’t read the first line of this entry.

But am I getting there? Yes. Slowly, but at least I’ve recognized the problem.

So, if you think anything about me after reading this, I hope it’s this: “Wow, this is a really honest blog entry. Amy is a weak, vulnerable, self-absorbed mess…who has been redeemed by God.”

And maybe you’ll see a little bit of yourself in me.


  1. Thank you for writing this, i saw a link to in on a friend's page on facebook and was curious, and I am really glad that I checked it out. We all need to be reminded pretty often that although what we do is a part of us and our experiences, that stuff isn't what defines us, God defines us. Sometimes that is really hard for me to remember. Thanks for the encouragment

  2. I like this.
    And I like you - not because of your writing.
    But this blog entry . . I like it.

  3. Amy, I am glad you wrote on this subject. Keep up your blogging! I actually enjoy these more than Cec Murphey's blog. Don't ask me why, I just do.

  4. Thanks, guys. I know this is something we all deal with...which is great because it means we can encourage each other.