Be inspired! You can’t reach even one if you don’t get started
My blog has been largely absent of words of late. I’ve written elsewhere — including “morning papers” that do seem to help uncork the flow of thoughts. But nothing is more discouraging than feeling that my work is unappreciated, my time thus wasted.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been contemplating a program for Christian writers, and I may enroll myself yet. My husband has agreed I can do it, and though I’ve considered the options, pulled up the page to register, and considered the cost, I haven’t gone through the motions that would make me part of the program.
Saturday morning, my husband — wanting to help — went into his spiel about setting goals. I’ve heard this many times from him, but, still, I was taking it to heart until he said:
“Of course, you want to write what people want to read. You could write your very best about the life cycle of a ladybug, for example, but how many people would want to read that?”
I didn’t say it, but everything inside me screamed against the words “you want to write what people want to read.”
Much of my frustration, my “stuckness” is because what I write — with great care and greater hope — doesn’t resonate with readers. Or just doesn’t attract readers. No one seems to care what I have to say.
A fellow blogger who has found some success had suggested I write about what I do for a living — marketing for a tech transfer office and business incubators.
“Write about how you make complicated things understandable,” he had said to me when I asked him for advice weeks ago. “I’m successful because I have expertise in a niche market, and people in that niche want to read what I have to say.”
I know he is wise and right, and I did write a couple of pieces related to my work that fared at least as well as my usual prose. But I don’t want to write about what I do for a living. I want to write what is in my heart.
And I want people to want to read what I want to write.
A story for my heart
But for the moment, I didn’t have to make a decision about my writing career. I had laundry to fold and one of my favorite radio programs to enjoy while I did. Tinyburg Tales by Robert Hastings is a 15-minute slice-of-life story about the characters living in Tinyburg. It plays each Saturday at 11 a.m. on the Bible Broadcast Network.
This week’s story centered on Aunt Sarah Biggs who decided she wanted to do a Christian teaching time on the local radio station. Her topic of discussion, she declared, would be the different animals mentioned in the Bible. Probably to discourage her, the radio station gave her the 3 a.m. spot on Thursday mornings.
Determined to make a success of this, Aunt Sarah had the church invite her many friends to listen by adding the show and time to the weekly bulletin. Week after week, she invited people to attend — none did. Week after week, she watched for fan mail to arrive at the radio station. Nothing.
Finally, one day she arrived at the station to record her show, and the receptionist handed her an opened envelope with a letter addressed to “To Whom It May Concern.”
It was a letter written by a man who had been driving home from his father’s funeral — bitter at God — when heard “some lady” talking about sheep in the Bible. As part of her lesson, he had written, she had talked about the Great Shepherd who cares for His sheep — and the great effort He will make to find one lost sheep. The driver said he was the lost sheep, and God was seeking to save him. He had written the radio station to say thank you.
11 “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. 12 What do you think about this? A man has one hundred sheep and one of them is lost. Will he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to look for that one lost sheep? 13 If he finds it, for sure, I tell you, he will have more joy over that one, than over the ninety-nine that were not lost.Matthew 18:11-13
Aunt Sarah, as did I, broke into tears over that letter, happy that God had used her labors to find that one lost sheep. Her joy, like that Good Shepherd, was greater for that one than for all the others who hadn’t taken time to listen, who maybe hadn’t needed to listen.
Was it happenstance that the character in this week’s story was named Sarah? That she seemed stubborn and foolish to insist on talking about a topic that interested no one? That her radio time slot was largely ignored, a time of night when most of us are counting sheep, not listening to teachings on sheep if we happen to be awake?
As I type this, a Carolina wren is standing on my clothesline, singing so powerfully she is louder than the four radios blasting praise music all around me. And I realize that I may be one voice, seemingly “crying in the wilderness” amongst a lot of other quality content, but God can use me still.
Whether I write for 1, 99, or just Him.