• Dana L. Butler

On Taking Ourselves Seriously <br>{but not too seriously} <br>[What I’ve Learned in 1 Year of

Happy Wednesday, friends!

I’m excited today to bring you Part 3 of my “What I’ve Learned in 1 Year of {serious} Blogging” series.  [If you’ve missed the first couple posts in this series, you can link through to them here.]

But first, I wanted to drop a brief line to those of you who read my blog but aren’t necessarily writers.

To you all, thank you for joining us for this series.  Thank you for your faithful reading, for allowing the Holy Spirit to meet you in my little words.

Several of you have really encouraged me recently, kind of out of the blue, via emails and comments.  Thank you.  Really.  I hope somehow through your computer screen you can sense how deeply I mean it when I say- – thanks for letting me know God’s used my writing to speak to your heart.  I’m humbled and so thankful to Him.

Like each post in this series so far, these are principles that apply to a broad range of personalities, callings, passions, etc.  So please know that, though I’m writing specifically about writing, this series is for you, whether you blog or write books or journal or pretty much only ever write grocery lists.

May the Holy Spirit speak to your heart clearly and sweetly here today.

I appreciate each of you.

So. Much.

And now—

What are the things that tempt you to feel insignificant as a writer?

Seeing others’ apparent success?  The sheer vastness of the Christian blogosphere?  The small quiet of your blog, your words?

For me, the enemy whispers these lies quite regularly:

Your writing is insignificant.

Your words don’t matter in a sea of billions of others.

You should probably just quit.  Why waste your time and energy when so many others are already saying everything there is to say?

Would anyone miss you if you just quietly stopped blogging?  Prob’ly not.

Take Yourself Seriously

When I start to give in, even just a little, to the enemy’s diminishing whispers?  That’s when I begin to take myself and my writing less seriously.

Here are my personal not-taking-myself-seriously-enough red flags:

  1. Being less intentional to spend consistent time writing.

  2. Being less intentional with my time in general.

  3. Being lazy about honing my writing – making it my absolute best.

  4. Decreased faith for God to really use my writing to impact people’s hearts.

  5. Not planning and setting goals and taking steps toward dreams God’s put in my heart.

And this not taking myself seriously is a direct indicator that my perspective on me is not lining up with God’s perspective on me.  That I’m caving a little to the enemy’s lies.

But God created me with a purpose.  God calls me significant.  God asks me to be intentional.

God takes me seriously.

I’ve heard from a number of you on this topic already, and I know for a fact I’m not alone in this battle.

So to those of you who struggle like I do- could I just speak to your heart for a minute?

Please, take yourself seriously.

Because God does.  Let’s align our perspective with the truth of His.

God will speak uniquely to people through the unique ways He’s made you.  Your writing voice.  Your personality.  Your experience of His heart.

There are people who will be profoundly impacted by hearing His heart through the filter of yours.

If God has put the desire in you to write for His glory, He will use your willingness to obediently pour your heart out onto that screen.  Which more than validates your doing it.  Whether your writing reaches 20 people or 20 million.

So friend, take yourself seriously.

Take what God’s deposited in your heart seriously.  And your unique wisdom, life experience, understanding of scripture – take them seriously too.  Because God takes them seriously.

Ask Jesus to increase your faith, to help you rise up and walk in the fullness of what He’s called you to, however it looks.

Speak encouragement to the clerk at the store, and believe the Holy Spirit will touch his/her heart through your words.

Whisper affirmation to your kids, your spouse, your friends, and believe Jesus empowers your words to penetrate to the deep places of their identity.

And write.  Write in faith.  Write out of a place of confidence in who God’s called you to be in Christ.  And trust God to anoint your words and breathe on them and carry them to the hearts of those who need them.

Take yourself seriously.

Journal.  Blog.  Work on that book.  Hone your craft. Take a writing course or two.  Practice.  Practice some more.  Discover your unique voice and grow in it.  Schedule specific writing times and stick with them.

Make plans and dream big and say a faith-filled YES to all God invites you into when it comes to your writing.

Because really? This is about taking Christ in you seriously.

So be passionate.  Be intentional.  Be brave.  Be persistent.

Take your writing seriously.

Take yourself seriously.

But Not Too Seriously

Now.  There are two sides to every coin and this is no exception.

DO take yourself seriously.  But not too seriously.

When I slip out of faith that God is committed to accomplishing His purpose for my writing?  That’s when I take myself and my calling to write too seriously.  

I fall into operating out of fear instead of faith, which tends to look like this:

  1. Writing when I know I should be getting other things done.

  2. Struggling to put down the computer and pick up my child.

  3. Possibly being physically present but not emotionally engaged with my family.

  4. Feeling stressed over the fact that I don’t have the next post written yet for this blog series.  [No joke! :-)]

  5. Actually, feeling stressed over my entire mile-long blog-related to-do list of tasks I have no clue when I’ll be able to accomplish.

  6. Feeling behind- like I should be further along the path toward reaching my goals than I am, or moving faster than I’m able to in this season of my life.

  7. I might even freeze up and experience writer’s block due to fear of failure.

Taking myself too seriously results in a sense of pressure that would not be present if I were in faith instead of fear. If I were trusting God with my dreams and my present and my future instead of trying to push forward in my own strength.

Taking myself too seriously results in my overall life-priorities getting out of whack.  Not to mention the condition of my heart.

But here’s the truth.  And friend, this is where our hearts need to find rest, to find the balance between taking ourselves too seriously, and not taking ourselves seriously enough:

God is still God and He’s still the One responsible for using our writing to accomplish His purposes.

He’s the One responsible for filling our words, empowering them to pierce and transform and heal the hearts of those who read them.

It’s not our job.

It is our job to obey Him.  To confidently write what He puts on our hearts to write.  Even to share it – to get our writing “out there.”

So friend?  Pray it out and write it out and get it out.

Pursue exposure for your writing to the degree it’s healthy for you to do so.  [And only you and the Lord – and your husband if you’re married, and maybe a fellow writer or two – can figure that one out.]

And then?  Let it go.

Turn off your computer.  Sit down and play Legos with your kids or chase them around the yard or cook an extra-yummy meal [complete with brownies] for your fam.  Have long talks and take walks with your husband and play board games with friends and go on vacations and leave your laptop at home.


Because you can.  

Friends, we can trust that God will still be about the business of accomplishing His mission on the planet even if we don’t stick perfectly to our blogging schedules.

Because in His love God does desire to partner with us, but He doesn’t need us [in an unhealthy way] in order to accomplish His purpose on Earth.

And God’s purpose for our lives and His plans for our future will absolutely be accomplished in His time if we do things His way.  At His pace.  

He’s committed to this stuff, friends.  So, so committed to seeing us fully alive and fulfilled and walking in the fullness of all He created us to be and do.

So rest in Him.  

Don’t take yourself too seriously.  But take His commitment to you very seriously.

And when we find this place of rest?  Of faith instead of fear?  Of perspective that aligns with His?  This balance of taking ourselves seriously but not too seriously?  There’ll be no more stress.  No more guilt over out-of-whack priorities.  No more diminishing of ourselves, our callings, or our identity.

We’ll learn to dream, plan, and write [and live] out of a calm, confident faith that:

  1. We’re His

  2. We’re doing precisely what He’s given us to do

  3. We’re surrendered to His trustworthy ways and His perfect timing

  4. And it’s. enough.  

There’s no peace like that, friend.

And lemme tell ya – I for sure haven’t “arrived.”  I’m still growing and learning to walk this taking-myself-seriously-but-not-too-seriously line.  Every single day, and only by grace.

Join me?


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