My friend Heather recently introduced me to a new podcast called “The Next Right Thing” by Emily P. Freeman. I am hesitant to foray much into the world of Christian writers’ podcasts, simply because at times, I find it difficult to discern whether these voices encourage me or actually discourage me in my own writing.
I find myself listening to a podcast or reading a blog entry by a “famous” writer, and I think one of two things:
1) Why does the world need another voice saying similar things, and I’ll never get to where this person is in the big scheme of things, so why bother to even write at all? I should just take a nap or read or make a photo book or post clothes to Poshmark or copy quotes in my commonplace book.
2) This person appears to be pursuing how God made them, and that’s what I want to do, so there must be a way to do that in my current life. If they can do it, then so can I! Even if it means more words out there, maybe as Annie Dillard says, I was “made and set here to give voice to this.” So what is my next right thing?
Emily P. Freeman, in Episode 7 of her podcast, hovers over the idea that our souls are not made for fame. Yet she notes that John the Baptist, the disciples, and Jesus were all famous in their day. They were being faithful to their call, and fame was part of God’s plan for them. But fame is not what I should be seeking or sacrificing my life to writing for.
Another book changing my life, also recommended by my same friend Heather (oh Heather, you curator of the good, true, and beautiful – thank you!), is Jean Fleming’s Pursue the Intentional Life. I love how this book, while reinforcing certain ideas from the podcast, is nourishing the many uncertain places in me that want to give and give up at the same time. I am being inspired and pushed to live my brief life well, to become the person God had in mind when he thought up Ginger, to forego any grandiose visions of fame and fortune from writing, and to even learn to enjoy obscurity because all that matters is that God knows and loves me and I know and love Him. At the end of my little life, I want to know I was continually faithful to do the “next right thing,” the thing God calls me to, and not the thing I think might be my ticket to success or meaning or fun. The pressure is both on and off at the same time, in a beautiful way.