Friday, July 26, 2013

MaryLu's Musings - How to keep a shrunken head in a world that wants to swell it up!

On last Friday's blog, I received the following question. (Thanks Shelby!)

As a Christian woman, how hard is it to not seek your own glory and forget about God in the world you're in of being a published author?? Do you think that a writer should be closer to our Savior before we hop into a place that may be more self seeking than honoring God?

It is such a great question that I thought I'd devote a post to the answer. You see, we all struggle with this on some level. It's the problem of Self vs. God.   Who are we out to glorify??  From the very first bite Eve took out of the apple (even the very reason she took the bite)  until now, we humans want to glorify ourselves above God. It's written in our fallen nature.  Ask anyone who they think about most of the time, and if they are honest, it's themselves!!  LOL.  What am I going to eat? How do I feel? That person hurt my feelings, my husband doesn't understand me, how can I get ahead? Do I have to do all this work today? etc etc etc...   We are extremely self-centered creatures!

So what happens when someone becomes famous, whether they become a movie star, musician, athlete, author, or politician, etc?  What happens to that ego when the world is telling you that you're special, when people follow you, listen to what you say, want your autograph??  If you're a weak person, you succumb to it. How can you help it?  How many famous people have you seen who are so full of themselves, they become intolerable. They believe they are somehow above the rest of us and don't have to follow laws. Yet, so many of their lives are a huge mess of divorce and drugs. What a shame.

When my first book was published and my publisher sent me on a couple of book signing tours, I was completely astonished that anyone in their right mind would want my autograph! I actually was in shock for several days when people would come up and tell me how much they loved my book and how much they admired me. Me?? Do they have any idea what sort of person I am?   I kept looking
over my shoulder assuming that, surely, they were talking to someone else!  At first, I have to admit, my head swelled. All my life I'd been seeking recognition.. to be somebody important... and this was quite a rush.  The enemy wasted no time sweeping in trying to move my focus off of God. He's very good at that.. he's been at it since the Garden of Eden. (more on my swelling head later)

The problem with being in a career that revolves around you as the single creator of a product is that you will inevitably have to market yourself to the public. In fact, Publishers demand that you do so as often and as much as you can.  Market myself? Gulp.  You mean I have to go out and tell people how wonderful I am and they simply must buy my book?  Yup, that's what they meant. LOL.  Let me first say that pushing myself and my product on others goes TOTALLY against who I am. Egad, I couldn't even sell Mary Kay when I was younger.

But I'm writing books to glorify God, not me!!!  Doesn't marketing go against that very concept?  Well, yes and no. It all boils down to a matter of the heart. And this is something I have to ask myself every single day. Am I writing to glorify myself or God?  If I sense any desire to make it all about me, I immediately repent and ask God to strengthen me and renew my mind.  And He does!. What God wouldn't answer a prayer like that?  Then when I go out to market my books, I'm doing it because I believe with all my heart that God gave me the message within that particular story and that message will help people know Him more. Even if your book doesn't contain a blatant Christian message but just a clean, uplifting story, that can also bring someone a little closer to the light. It's all about what's in your heart.

Back to my swelled head. God blessed me with book contract after book contract and a publisher who really believed in me. It was a dream come true and I was on the top of the world. Suddenly things like contest wins, awards, great reviews and high sales numbers became overwhelmingly important to me. I began to think that surely everyone in the Christian Market knew my name!

The thing about an attitude like this, is that God won't let you have it for long. He loves you too much to let you slip into such ridiculous notions. I know some Christian authors do and some Christian stars, but I believe that's because they aren't staying in close touch with the Father. When you hang out with God, you can't maintain a self-glorifying attitude for long. He makes it very clear to you and shows it for the ugly monster it is. As He did with me a year or so ago. 

Now, I have a shrunken head, and I have more peace and more joy than I ever had. Because now, it's only about Him and His plan and bringing people to Him. Now, when I market myself, it's with that in mind.. that I'm working for Him to get His Word out. Now, that's exciting!

So, if you're considering becoming famous, or even if you're not but you struggle with pride, here are some keys that really help me.

  • Stay close to God. Pray, read the Bible, hang out with Him DAILY.. and even minute by minute.
  • Check yourself and your attitude daily
  • Try to not read reviews on your books
  • Remember that any talent or skill you have was given to you by God
  • Remember that He gives everyone talents and we are all equal in His eyes
  • Remember He only gave you the talent so you could bring Him glory. 
  • It's much more exciting to glorify the Almighty Creator than glorify your own boring self
  • The crowd is fickle. They may love you today and hate you tomorrow, but God's love is constant

If you follow these steps faithfully, I guarantee you'll be able to stay off the pedestal and instead allow God to use you in more powerful, more exciting, more wonderful ways than you could ever have imagined!


  1. Yay! I have been counting down the days until this post since I read the comments last Friday, and I must say I wasn't disappointed. I loved your little head-big head pictures; they cracked me up while bringing your point home. What a great word, and something we all need to keep in mind. Thanks for sharing!

    PS. Good morning Brenda and Mrs. Tyndall!

  2. July 26th,
    "Morning, MaryLu."
    Well I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog today, and found it most interesting. Thank-you for sharing your honest and open evaluations of being a famous author -- through the eyes of God. It was so neat to read how you felt - more at the beginning of your career and first published book .... and then how your attitude changed as time moved along.
    By-George I'd say you have it accomplished, MaryLu ! Keeping God first and foremost, giving Him all the honour and glory ... and knowing that He has given you this talent.
    Really appreciate reading this -- love your sincerity ... thank-you again for sharing.
    Take care, and, God Bless,
    In Him, Brenda

    1. Always a pleasure to read your comments, Brenda! However, I'm not sure I've accomplished always putting God first.. but with His help, I've come a long way.
      Have a great weekend!

  3. "The crowd is fickle. They may love you today and hate you tomorrow, but God's love is constant" new favorite line. Great post, MaryLu! Words to live by, my friend. I am definitely sharing this. Hugs and God bless!

  4. Mary Lu,
    Thank you for posting this because of my question and just where God took me to with it. Thanks for being open to his leading.
    May God bless and Keep you.

    Shelby Z.

    1. Hoping this helped you with your own decision to write, Shelby. :-)

  5. I agree with chaplaindebbie! That is a great line and oh so true!

  6. Thank you Marylu for your very insightful message. Good principles for Anyone...not just authors or aspiring authors. Your books, this blog and your devotional have been such a blessing to me and I thank you for the message that keeps me focused on the Shepherd. And isn't that the true love at the heart of any ministry because He first loved us? Thank you again. In His love and mine too, Gena

    1. Gena, thank you for your kind words... just when I think I might quit writing this blog.. God reaffirms through a special person like you that I should keep going. :-) May our Lord richly bless you as you keep your eye on Him. !