Addicted to Approval? Writing with Purpose … on Purpose.


The fear of man brings a snare,

But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.

Proverbs 29:25

Have you ever questioned what your life’s purpose really is? I know I have. What motivates me to write? What motivates others to sing or play an instrument?

What makes it worthwhile for each of us to awaken each morning, and do whatever we do over again? Maybe you are an accountant, or drive a truck – or you are a nurse or a teacher. Maybe you are the quiet, shy child at the back of the room, that no one has noticed yet. I am hoping that by telling you why I write and what motivates me, that perhaps you may start thinking about why you do what you do each day, why it is so important to you, and what makes it so motivating and relevant?

As a younger person … a much younger person, I just wanted to make everyone happy. I desperately wanted and thought I needed the approval of everyone around me. It is, of course, a very human trait to crave that approval. We want our parents to approve of us, our friends at school. As we grow older we begin to realise that there are just so many people in the world, that it would be impossible to gain this close kinship with everybody. Why? Because God created each of us uniquely.

When I was first thinking about this post and preparing for it, I thought of calling it “Praying, Living, and Writing On Purpose”, and that is all very well, but we need to also think about doing things ‘with purpose’.  I have loved reading and writing ever since I can remember, however, I never considered it as being a purpose. After school, I went to college and learnt shorthand and touch typing on an incredibly annoying, clunky and old, manual typewriter.  I am sure many in my age group would have done a similar thing. You see, I always wanted to do a university degree in communication … that was it.  Nothing else interested me. Well as there were one-hundred and twenty places at the Institute of Technology, and over two thousand applicants, you guessed it – I became an office worker. No, there was no fancy title … just an office worker.

One day I thought ‘why don’t I study accounting?’.  From that day on it would seem that I had sealed my fate. Not only would I be an office worker, but I would also be an accounts clerk. Now don’t get me wrong, I was rather good at my job, and never found it a problem to learn new systems, time management, and so on.  But the problem was, that I was doing what I thought was responsible, what would bring in an immediate dollar reward.  My job/s served me well, but there was always this constant yearning to do something else with my life.

As a youngster, I was the quiet, shy child down the back of the room. There were times when I would be in trouble for talking to others at the back of the room, but you can be certain that the stories that I had to tell were awe inspiring. Then there were the other times (most of the time) when I would just sit quietly and daydream. That’s when I had my best ideas. Ideas that were just not appreciated by grown-up people.

bA wise man once said “find something that you love to do and do it every day. This way, you will never have to work a day in your life”.  And another quote I have always loved is this:

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you find out why”

~ Mark Twain.

We are all given gifts and talents when we are born, even before we are born. We each have a destiny, but for some of us, it takes a while to realise what the heck we are meant to be doing, and how best to go about it. These days I am a writer, plain and simple … I write (and read of course).

Do I write for the money? Definitely not! The world is run by the dollar, but if I wrote for money I would consider myself to be very poor indeed. Is it recognition then? We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t want to be recognised – I wouldn’t mind publishing a book or two … or three. But I have come to realise that recognition in a human sense, isn’t really that important. Yes, it might pay some bills, but at the end of the day, if I don’t have a passion for what I do, then I won’t be able to tell the true story. As with most things in life, what we put absolutely first on our ‘to-do’ list or list of importance, is what everything else will be based upon.

c “for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”

~ John 12:43 NKJV

Whether we are Christian writers or any other kind of writer, let us all remember that the purpose of our writing is to tell a story, to get a point across, hopefully in a respectful manner. If our story isn’t getting out there, if people aren’t inspired in some way, then no amount of money or accolades can compensate for the real loss we must feel. And probably if we haven’t inspired anyone, then the money won’t be coming anyway.

Can we be published writers/authors and still share our heart and soul with the world?

I say a resounding ‘yes’!  Jesus wants the talents that His and our Father gave us, to be put to good use. If I ever had to make a decision to publish by telling the wrong story, or a story that came from my heart, but got changed so as to be more acceptable to the public, I wouldn’t see being published as very important at all. As a writer, and a Christian writer to boot – I see my purpose is to spread God’s love to everyone I come into contact with, whether in person or online in cyberspace.

So, what must I do to ensure that my writing can influence people in a positive way?

  1. Pray about it before picking up the pen.
  2. Believe and trust in my ability, which was, after all, a gift from the Father.
  3. Try to always be as consistent as possible. Don’t be swayed by worldly opinions.
  4. I must always be sincere in my efforts (not everyone will or must like me – there will be haters, and that’s okay).

When God-willing I leave this earth, and my creator asks me ‘What have you shown Me during your life’? (taken from “Imagine Heaven” by John Burke). How have you used the gifts which were given to you? How have you thanked God for saving you? I would like to be able to say ‘Lord I tried my very best, I have made so many mistakes along the way, but in the end I loved people, and I tried really hard to love them as much as You love me.

If this earthly life is merely a preparation for our eternal life to come, good or bad, is there any point to our persistent writing at all? I say ‘yes’!

We are not here to please ourselves or to entertain ourselves. We are here to please God whether writing, singing, balancing the books, helping the sick, raising children, loving our spouse, weeding the garden … or anything else for that matter. Life is only as complicated as we make it. So let’s just do everything that we do each day, with love. For myself, I shall just do my very best to write with a strong conviction and belief, that God’s love is all that matters at the end of any day.

What do you think? Should the promise of monetary gain be the only motivator to do what we most love to do? Do we need approval if we know in our own hearts, what we are doing is heartfelt and worthwhile?

Originally published in “Christian Writers Downunder” as a guest blogger on 23rd May  2016. More recently on my Webnode Blog ‘Just Jo’Anne’ on 14th June 2016.


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