Do you ever find yourself struggling to please people? I’d like to say that I don’t, that what others think of me and my work really means nothing to me, but that would not be a truthful statement. Anyone working in the arts—an actor, a dancer, a singer, a writer—relies at least in part on the support of fans to have any sort of a successful career. And to have fans, one must have the ability to please others.
So yes, I do strive to please people with my work. It is my hope that the words I write will not only entertain others but will in some small way impact their hearts and lives. I don’t expect that every person is going to enjoy my work. I cannot be all things to all people. If it means losing sight of who I am and what I believe in, I don’t want to be all things to all people. What I want is to assemble the words I have been given in the best possible story I can, and just trust that God will place those stories in front of the people who will benefit the most from reading them. I want to do it without concern over what people think of the work I am doing.
Problem is, I am only human. I do care about what people think. There is one person in particular whose opinion matters me to me. Why, I really can’t say. I only know that for years I have craved approval from this person. I’ve looked up to her and wanted so badly to hear her tell me that I have done a good job. It would totally make my day, my week, my month, my year to hear her say, “Lynn, I am so proud of you.” Especially when it comes to my choice of career.
I know that isn’t going to happen. I am not sure why. Nor do I know why I keep trying so hard to gain her approval. Trying to please her sets me up for failure. Just this morning, it was brought home to me again how little my feelings and my writing matter to her. I need to let this go, and it is so hard.
As I thought about it and about how hard I have tried to please this person, a verse from Colossians came to mind. Colossians 3:23 in the New Living Translation says, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” I looked a little further back in my Bible and came across verse 13: “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”
So what I hear the Lord telling me this morning is that yes, this woman has hurt me, deeply, with her rejection. But that doesn’t matter. I need to let go of that hurt, forgive her for causing me pain, and work to please Him and only Him. Someday, maybe she will come around. But if she doesn’t? I can live with that. My writing isn’t about her anyway. It’s about what God wants. Today, I will allow Him to guide my words. I will trust that He is working through them as He sees fit.
No matter what anyone else thinks.
It is really hard to write something when your art makes you so vulnerable and then have somebody disapprove. Just remember there will also be people who LOVE reading what you write. However, it is often hard to separate these positive people from negative people. I often feel the same way you do!
It is hard. My husband and sons have often told me that I am much more pleasant to live with when I am writing. That is something I want to keep in mind! No matter who does or does not approve of what I have written, I know this is what God wants me to do. It makes me happy. I am not going to give up just because one person thinks I am wasting my time.
Exactly! Don’t let your gift go to waste.