I stood in a tiny supply closet many years ago, laboring to organize it once again. (Organizing closets is my super power. My kitchen floor hasn’t been mopped for…a while, but my clothes closet is perfection.)
Anyway, I came to a box of scissors, and every one read “property of________” and had a teacher’s name written in permanent marker.
In a general supply closet, someone was saying MINE, and the Holy Spirit preached to me a big sermon in that moment, with the smell of crayons and unwashed paintbrushes in the air.
You don’t need your name on everything.
Years later I started this writing life, so I spent time alone with Google, reading about how to succeed as a blogger. I was surprised to hear so many wise people say the best thing I could do was to be generous toward other writers.
But there is something animalistic inside me –Paul calls it the “natural man” –that makes me want to say, Me!
Read my words. Look at my blog. Think I’m something special.
But Jesus says:
The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12:25 NIV)
So there are these things called “launch teams”, where you sign on to promote someone’s book. You tweet about them. You write about how valuable their words are. You share their story and their dream. You lift them up above your private longing to see your own name in print.
I have found deep joy in being on launch teams.
I can’t help wondering if I’ll ever have a book for sale on Amazon. (Because that is the idol Satan puts in front of a writer. You’ll be something, IF you have a BOOK.) I don’t know if I will. Maybe yes. Maybe no.
But I think about those scissors, and I remember the way to keep my life is to let go of it in this world.
Which starts with being generous.
Weirdest thing –that in helping someone else you feel like you’re where you were meant to be.
What if this is it? I told Matt a few days ago. What if this is THE thing God has always wanted for my life? This sharing and helping of other writers? What if my greatest joy will be in this service and not in my own writing?
Now here’s where this matters to you. I know you have a longing inside you to be something in this world, and when you see another person succeed in the very place you hoped to –aren’t you tempted to be envious?
We have two choices:
We can put the other person down and be rather jerk-like about their success. (Because how else will we feel better about ourselves?)
Or we can do the opposite of what our insides are screaming and be generous to them instead. Rejoice with them. Celebrate the fruit of their hard work. Promote what they have done.
If you want to give a gift to yourself, choose the latter. Invest in the success of someone else. Encourage someone else. Help someone else move along the path God is putting in front of her. See if that kind of generosity doesn’t satisfy your heart.
‘Cause our name doesn’t need to be on everything.