When I first started this blog, it was locked behind a password and only a couple of people were invited to read along. If you were to go way back to the beginning and read those entries, you would meet a people pleasing pastor who had burned out and subsequently made several very poor choices. Writing was a way to process and express the things I was learning about my self and my identity in Christ.
Along the way, I learned that I enjoyed writing and creating something new, and I also realized that God had given me insight and a voice that people might need or want to hear. In God’s economy, nothing is wasted and the source of my bad decisions was going to be used for the good (hopefully) of others.
Yet, for a recovering people pleaser, building an audience becomes a sticky thing. As people notice what you write, the attention feels good – not necessarily a bad thing, since God gave us gifts and made us to be enjoyed.
The apostle Paul notes that the old nature and the new – the false self and the true – are in conflict, the reason for needing to deny our self daily. For me, sometime in the last several months, my motivation for writing had taken a gradual, subtle shift.
Rather than writing because I enjoy the process and felt that I had something worthwhile to say, my mindset changed to writing because I wanted to be liked. Judging how I was doing by clicks and comments and likes.
This desire did not necessarily affect what I said, but how I approached the process. Engaging in the writing process became tough. Not the ideas – I’ve got notebooks filled with ideas – but the actual putting words together to created ideas. I started to second guess and think about all the possible objections to sentences and paragraphs I had written.
Motivation is impacted when something is done to build or sustain a false identity rather than as an expression of true identity. This is true whether we are talking about writing, a relationship, leadership, exercise, or anything else that we can possibly be involved in and in turn use to develop a sense of self.
Noticing this, I took a few weeks off to sort through how I had made a good thing that was an expression of my identity in Christ into an idol. (And always remember, idols don’t offer forgiveness.) I thank a friend who let me whine to him, and then reminded me that the problem with engagement was the symptom of my shift in motivation.
The break was good, I don’t know if you noticed it or not. And it is OK either way.
Regardless, it is time to start springing some of my notebook of ideas upon you. It feels like a season of creativity is upon me and I want to share it because I enjoy the writing process and I think it is worth saying.
Developing our identity in Christ is a lifelong process and the climb isn’t always smooth. Fortunately, the mercies of God never fail, they are new every morning, great is the faithfulness of God.
I work with pastors and the people they lead to energize discipleship and improve leadership development. I am a certified coach specializing in pastoral leadership, relationships, life transitions, and Christian identity. Also, I am the author of the forthcoming book Discovering Your Root: Developing Your Identity in Christ.
Services I offer are one-on-one coaching, group/staff coaching, speaking at organizations/churches, leadership workshops, and church retreats. For more info, click here to contact me.