The more success you have following your calling, the more people will begin to question your motives and the more you'll need to know your 'why'.
Very recently, someone I think very highly of asked me, "Marshall, why is it that you started doing what you're doing? I mean coming out with books and podcasts and stuff like that?"
With the intentional look on their face, this person seemed very interested, so naturally I started to respond with a smile. But before I could even open my mouth they continued on.
"Because it seems like you're trying to get famous." My smile started to fade. "I mean, you have a website named after yourself, you have a podcast with your name all over it, you're selling books and meanwhile you're a youth pastor. It just feels like you're trying to become the next celebrity pastor or something."
Dumbfounded, hurt and confused, I struggled to find words for a few seconds. And as if I didn't hear them the first time, this person said, "Is that true?"
I won't lie to you, it made me furious. I could feel steam rising from my ears as I faced this person in the best way that I could. They were assuming my 'why'-the reason I write and run this site-was something that it wasn't.
But the more I thought about it, I realized I couldn't blame this person for thinking this way.
At the very slightest first glance of this site, it could definitely come across this way. After all, I'm talking about the books I've written or the podcast episodes I've produced or the blog posts, like this one, on the site, so it automatically can be presented as if I'm just another church leader wanting to get famous off of something I already preached or wrote or shared.
However, I feel that's a narrow-minded way of thinking. It disregards who I am, what I stand for and doesn't even get someone to look even remotely deeper than the surface. On top of that, seeking or hoping for fame so I can get known by thousands or millions of people is very much NOT my 'why'.
CALLINGS SERVE MORE MEANING WHEN GOD OPENS YOUR EYES TO YOUR 'WHY'.
We all have callings in our lives. For me, currently, I've had two. The first was to be a youth minister, working and leading young people to Christ in a youth setting. The other was to be a writer and author, which I've been going at for the past couple years.
There is currently a misconception that everyone who tries to follow a calling that deals with art (like writing) is automatically hoping to get famous. This is a falsehood. Firstly, it is a well-known fact that trying to become famous at an art like writing is one of THE HARDEST THINGS anyone could ever do. Secondly, it is foolish to assume this motive to anyone if they genuinely love doing something.
I don't try to do well in my full-time job as a youth minister to get a huge amount of people to notice me. I do it because I know I'm there to Shine the Light of Christ to students.
In the same way, I don't try to do well in my writing for a huge amount of attention either. I simply do it because I know what God has put on my heart to do. And that is to share through the spoken and written word, the Good message of who God and His Son Jesus are and how much every person matters to Him.
And this has shown me something I'll hold onto forever.
YOUR 'WHY' STARTS AND ENDS WITH JUST ONE PERSON. AND THAT IS ENOUGH.
I'm here to help one life, one person at a time.
I know lots of people of different professions claim that, but I honestly mean it. I love to help people. I love helping them know that they matter. I love helping them see that what they do with their life matters to God.
And more than anything, I love letting them know of the Hope and Reconciliation and Restoration that there is in Christ regardless of who they are or what they have thought or said or done.
AND GOD WILL GIVE YOU OPPORTUNITIES TO SEE YOUR 'WHY' AT WORK.
I've had 3 separate occasions that come to mind where God has shown me, without a doubt, that I was meant to be a writer with this 'one person at a time' mentality:
- THROUGH THE STORYFOLD PODCAST-A friend personally messaged me to tell me that not just one episode, but nearly all the episodes has helped them to better understand other people and meet them where they're at. He said it has helped him truly become a less judgmental person because it reminds him in his every day life that everyone has a story behind them.
- THROUGH THE BLOG-Someone very close to me shared that the post on "The One Thing You Can Do to Show Christ To Someone" helped them see that their life was worth moving forward on. And that taking one step in the right direction was more beneficial than taking it in the wrong one that they've been struggling in.
- THROUGH BOOKS & STORIES-I wrote a book, "The Thrive", that is a 3-part short story, sci-fi that talks about the unending power of loving your neighbor even through the most unpredictable circumstances. I didn't think much of it when I recently re-released it in December 2015. I knew I enjoyed writing it, but what I didn't know was if it would do anything for readers. A week later, a student in our ministry came up to me and told me how they started to read this story right before they thought about cutting themselves...for the final time. And it made them change their mind. All because of the "hope of love that the story told". Their words, not mine. A few weeks later, another student told me of an extremely similar incident but with my short story "From the Depths." (This brought me to tears and still does as I now write this.)
This is why I'm doing this. This is why I'm here writing.
Not to get fame. Not to get noticed. Not to get credit. Not to be found. But to follow God's call.
Now don't get me wrong, being on the New York Times Bestsellers' List would definitely be an honor and a dream. But it's not my 'why'.
My 'why' is to help one person at a time by sharing one episode at a time, one blog post at a time or one story at a time for one purpose:
To hope that it will lead them to the greatest Story of all. The only one that I desire to make known. The only one that I want to make famous.
WHAT IS YOUR 'WHY'? WHAT IS YOUR REASON FOR DOING WHAT YOU FEEL CALLED TO DO? PLEASE, PLEASE SHARE IN THE COMMENTS!
***(ALSO, DON'T FORGET TO SUBSCRIBE TO THIS BLOG BELOW SO YOU CAN GET EVERY POST IMMEDIATELY AFTER IT'S PUBLISHED.)*** JUST CLICK THE "BLOG RSS" BUTTON BELOW! :)