As a writer, I am continuously bombarded, or rather stampeded, by the nagging voice from without and within. “Build your email list!” it says, “Build your email list!” This voice is like standing at the base of Kilimanjaro, with only 3 steps behind me and a million left ahead. My lungs hurt, not from hiking great heights, but from the foreboding nature of the climb ahead.
Today I joined a group of writers, discussing the idea of social media trends as a means of building a platform (you know, building that doggone email list). Someone asked me how I felt about trends, and before I could catch the words racing from my mouth, I nearly shouted, “I HATE THEM!” When I consider trends, I consider something waning with the tides of temporary.
My bookshelf bears the weight of authors such as Spurgeon, Tozer, Lewis, and Augustine. The authors I read have written something timeless. I want to offer the world something timeless. I want to use the art of language to mentor the generations to come. To give a glimpse of what I have seen of heaven, and the God who resides there. I want to show the world the face of compassionate Jesus, who has existed beyond the constraints of time, Who delights in His people, rather than projecting His demands upon us. I want to leave, in my wake, an orchestra of people who know and rejoice in God because I wrote words that stirred them to worshipful seeing.
My opinion of trends is firmly rooted in my disdain for the waning and waxing tide of their nature. I don’t want to copy the masses, and do some ridiculous dance on tiktok, simply because others are gaining followers by those means. Or put together a facebook reel, because it seems like a way to get noticed. Perhaps, I don’t really want to get noticed, I simply want to shepherd His church towards the sweetness of the living Christ. But how do I accomplish this feat without letting people see the hand that seeks to guide them?
Herein lies the tension. The voice is not only internal, but external. I stand at the base of the great mountain, because I know what a literary agent would tell me… “You have to build your email list.” And it cripples me from trying. So, I stare at blank pages that ought contain a book proposal, and feel the anxious weight in my lungs. My feet refuse forward motion, paralyzed by fear and overwhelm.
I am not certain I have any answers for those wrestling alongside me. I am still sorting them out for myself. But I know a guy once, who locked eyes with Jesus and ended up walking on water. Perhaps this is the truest solution. Not to look at the means the world offers me to accomplish what feels like an impossible feat, but rather to lock eyes with the One who spun galaxies into motion, and follow Him with my own cross in tow. Perhaps I hate trends because they tempt me to look to the means rather than the End. To fight with my own brute strength to accomplish what I am meant to lean on Him to do, which is the antithesis of what I spend my words in defiance of.
I am a rebel. I have always known this. The question is what I am rebelling against. I used to rebel against God. Today I rebel against the world’s shouting voice that I am not enough, and I must fight harder to prove the value of my voice. I rebel against the notion that I have to become like anyone else to accomplish what I, personally, have been called to do.
Instead, I will let the wind pummel me with it’s enlivening glory, as I look up the slant of Kilimanjaro, not to see how far I must climb, but rather to notice how beautiful it is. I will place my foot one step higher on the mountain, and glance sideways at the One who holds my hand, tugging me upward. We will climb at His pace. We will take in the vast expanse of the landscape. I will rejoice that He has lodged words like embers in my soul, and will blow His omnipotent breath upon them to keep them burning, all the way until we reach the top of the mountain, where voices are amplified, and I can shout from the mountaintops of the worth and majesty of Christ!