Permission to Boast (November to Remember — 11.10.2014)
Today’s Scripture — 11.10.2014
“Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord. For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” ~ 2 Corinthians 10:17-18
“It’s what God says about you that makes the difference.” ~ The Message paraphrase
A friend and I were talking on the phone the other day about the book she recently wrote. She was so excited about the message God had given her. But she dreaded the marketing and publicity. Sure, she wanted people to know about the book. But she didn’t want to have to tell anybody.
“It just feels … gross. I feel like I’m making it all about me,” she said. “When I mean for it to be all about God.”
I nodded my head. Because for most writers I know, the word “marketing” strikes panic in our hearts. It sends us running for the nearest corner, where we draw our knees to our chest, and rock back and forth for days, maniacally wide-eyed — preferably with a few boxes of Thin Mints within reach.
Not only do we dread marketing, but we get tongue-tied when someone thanks us.
You, too? Is it hard for you to know what to say when you’re complimented? Is it hard for you to share what God is doing in your life?
Some of us have got to thinking that it’s plain wrong to say “thank you” when someone tells us that we wrote a good book, made a perfect pie crust, smiled the sweetest smile, penned the loveliest little poem.
We get to worrying that we’re were stealing some of God’s praise. And we balk at sharing what God is doing through our lives, because we’re afraid we’re stealing God’s spotlight. We’re afraid we’re boasting.
But God never said you couldn’t boast. In fact, He wants to show you how.
“Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” ~ 2 Corinthians 10:17
God didn’t crack down on boasting. He is teaching us how to do it right — by boasting in the Lord. He’s saying to you: “I’m doing something remarkable in you and through you. And that’s worth telling.”
There are ways to accept praise, share achievements, and even “market” without offending God or mankind.
True humility doesn’t mean we wave off affirmation, or run for the corner with Girl Scout cookies clutched in our sweaty little fists. It doesn’t mean we apologize for who we are. Gospel humility doesn’t mean that we unleash a litany of our shortcomings in response to a praise. True humility is genuine “thanks,” delivered with grace.
We are free to shine for Jesus. Because of Jesus.
We can stop ducking from the kind words of people who see God’s work in us. We can stop minimizing our strengths with words like, “Oh, it was nothing.”
What God put inside your spirit isn’t “nothing.” It’s a special something, intended to change the world. It’s the life of God, in you. When we deflect kind words, we diminish the beauty set aflame by God in us.
Our lives exist inside Christ, and Christ exists inside us. What comes out in His name is a product of what He designed us to do. We will come more alive to our Creator and our callings when we recognize that we bring value to our world.
So go ahead, do as the Lord taught. Boast. But in Him alone.
(But could you still pass the Thin Mints? 🙂 )
This post is part of our month-long series, “A November to Remember: Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes.
How You Can Be a Part of This Movement:
1 – Print out the Scripture sheets. (Click here for printable versions.) Each of the 30 daily Scriptures are quoted in Love Idol, and each one ties back in some way to our identity in Christ. (You don’t have to read the book to participate in this study. But of course, you’re welcome to!)
2 – Find the passage assigned for today’s date.
3 – Consider how God is speaking to you. How does the verse help you remember who you really are, outside of all the cultural noise?
4 – Visit us on the blog, or the Love Idol movement page on Facebook, to share what the verse means to you.
5 – Share your insights on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or your blog, to add more soul to your scroll. #MoreSoulLessScrollTag me, so I can find you. (Or feel free to follow along silently! No social-media presence required.)
I’ll post my own response here on the blog every morning at 5 a.m. Sometimes, you’ll find a story, maybe a few short words, maybe a series of photos. That will happen every day, for all of November, God-willing.
If you want to follow along, visit us here every day. Consider subscribing to my blog by clicking here to get these reflections in your email inbox.
(Download for printing from Google Drive)
Let this be the November that we remember who we really are: Loved. Preapproved. His.
Find all the posts in the November to Remember series by clicking here.
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With each piece I have published, I have asked the Lord to help me market in a way that is pleasing to Him. I’ve asked for the words that He gave me to be a blessing to all who read them, and to accomplish the purposes that He had for them. It’s a fine line we walk between appropriate marketing and shameful self-promotion. I’ve found Him to be faithful to help me walk that line in a way that is pleasing to Him. Lovely post, Jennifer.
You’ve walked that fine line well, my friend. You mentor with your actions and your words. Love to you.
This is well said, Jennifer (you may say thank you 🙂 ), and yet difficult to apply, because as Leah said, there is such a thing as shameful self-promotion, and there is that fine line. I truly understand that these days in the publishing world, an author is expected to promote, and that platform is always discussed, and the bigger one’s platform, the better. THose words, themselves, are theatrical terms, and I’m not wild about them. The flipside is that the publisher, alone, will not do this for authors (they used to, but not much now), and if you want your message–really, *God’s* message, the one *He* has given you to share–to get *out there* to people who need to hear it, then there has to be a way to do that. An author needs to figure out ways to “promote” the message. It’s that simple. Sometimes I think we can just let others speak for us (as in their compliments or the accolades achieved, like best-selling, award-winning, etc.), but somehow when I have read websites filled with such stats, it *feels* even more like self-promotion, as if drawing attention to “man’s” designations, rather than just letting God’s message shine forth. I’m hardly saying that that is the intent, but it just *feels* that way. I don’t know; it is a fine line. And perhaps those who hear the message don’t exactly help, because people tend to gravitate to the biggest and best and shiniest and most award-laden. Perhaps our “audiences” help to feed the frenzy. And we don’t tend to follow the ones who are not so recognized. I have discovered such magnificent writers on the Internet who don’t have published books. But sadly, not many will read their powerful, God-given messages and beautifully crafted words, because there is virtually no promotion. I”m starting to ramble and think I need to sit down with some thin mints, because I’m not sure where this is going exactly, except to say that you have done a wonderful job here, both in addressing the issue and in doing it winsomely–striking that teter-tottering balance between acknowledging a gift (and recognizing its value) by acknowledging the Giver. If, when we write, when we market (I am still trying to figure out a better term for that), we raise the platform of Christ, if we boast in Him, and reflect Him in how we receive thanks, then perhaps we have shifted the balance to where it needs to be: focused on Him. If you will indulge me an example, I will never forget hearing an absolutely angelic coloratura in our church sing a solo. I had no idea who she was, but her voice shimmered and she was absolutely radiant when she sang–like an angel dropped down upon us, straight from heaven. After her solo, the congregation burst into applause. THis precious woman simply deflected this praise, gently bowed her head, pivoted away from us towards the altar, got down on one knee (head still bowed), and raised her arm and hand to their full extent, index finger pointed upward to the Cross on the altar, and indicated that she was giving the glory to God. I’ve made this sound a bit drawn-out and theatrical, but it wasn’t at all. It happened quickly and effortlessly and was graceful, minimal, and humble. I will never forget it. And in telling this story, too, I reinforce what I was saying about how people feed into this. Why were they clapping in church? It wasn’t for God. It was for the singer. Yes, they appreciated the virtuosity of her singing (how could they not?), but they were clapping for *her* and not for God. (I’m a singer, and appreciate good ones, but I don’t clap for performances in church). So, somewhere, somehow, there needs to be a balance from the “audience” as well. In this case, just thanking her for her beautiful singing after the *worship* service would have been completely appropriate. I have done that, and she has always graciously thanked me. She knows she can sing beautifully, and I love to tell her, but we both know why she can. He always gets the glory. You, yourself, are like that at every turn, Jennifer. You’re an exceptional author, who has laid her idols down and has lifted up the Cross. I celebrate what goes on in your corner of the world. I appreciate it.
Oh you are so wise, my friend.
Do you know the Christian music artist Chris Tomlin? His is my most favorite concert ever. I’ve seen him a couple times, and the thing about Chris is this: You see him on the stage, and you can see that he’s been given gifts by our Creator, but more than Chris, you see Jesus. It is a profoundly worship-filled experience at a Chris Tomlin concert. As Christian artists — whatever our art is — are are called to do the same: to create our very best work with the gifts we have been given, and then to be a good steward of those gifts by showing a willingness to be the vessel, while making Jesus the main stage event.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a person letting others know about his/her new product, new business, new book, etc. If I had come up with the cure for cancer, I certainly wouldn’t want to keep it a secret. On a less important scale, if I had the recipe for the best ever cookie, I would want to share. When we write books, we believe that they are an answer to a real problem in the world. That’s why we share.
I loved Michael Hyatt’s response here, which was also published today: http://michaelhyatt.com/bashful-about-selling.html
No, I’m sorry I don’t know about Chris, Jennifer, but you’ve made me want to find out more about him, because he knows and loves and boasts in the Savior. Will ck this out. And yes, we need to let others know. We have been given such Good News to share. And I totally agree; we must “do” our art with excellence because of the One we’re representing. It occurs to me that if we share about what our God-given work is with the same excellence, it will not really be promotion in a worldly sense. It is a wonderful paradigm shift, Jennifer, to call this sharing, as you do. We long to share something of value with friends. Sharing is a Christian principle. Now…..about those cookies: Michael makes the best chocolate-chip cookie on the planet. Sheridan has bribed her way through school with these cookies for the teachers. Mike has a secret ingredient (he says!) that he won’t share. So I ask you: What does that say about him?! And if he won’t share, are we all relegated to Thin-Mint mediocrity? (Nothing against Girl Scouts or anything! I’ll bet Lydia is one. Love that Lydia!!!!)
Lynn, may I jump into your convo? This quote from you: “If, when we write, when we market (I am still trying to figure out a better term for that), we raise the platform of Christ, if we boast in Him, and reflect Him in how we receive thanks, then perhaps we have shifted the balance to where it needs to be: focused on Him.” That one had me nearly standing up cheering. That is exactly what the goal should be for every author, every singer, every musician, every Mama wiping snotty noses, every janitor cleaning potties…every last one of us. That should be our goal. Beautifully said.
That’s very kind of you, Leah…..and I love that you include all “jobs” done for the glory of God. You demonstrate that everything we do, if done in the right spirit, glorifies Him. Thank you.
I don’t commend myself as approved but God commends and approves me. I will glorify the Lord, above all else; Paul’s attitude. Jeremiah 9:23,24 tells us what we can boast in. My paraphase let us not glory in wisdom, might, riches but “glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That i am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight, says the LORD.” It is said that We don’t want to retail our sorrows but God’s glory.
Thank you for your thoughtful contribution to these verses, Joni.
Should I or should I not pay you a compliment for a well-articulated, needed word? (humor) Promotion is so darn hard for me. I can promote YOU, but to self-promote? O! so difficult. Thank you for writing this and now, to put it into practice. I’ll pass on the thin mints, but are there any peanut butter cups lying around!!!
Such refreshing words. I’m new to this journey, and I feel that tremor of terror at the idea of “self-marketing” too. I’m so grateful for wise women who have gone before and done this well.
“What God put inside your spirit isn’t ‘nothing.’ It’s a special something, intended to change the world. It’s the life of God, in you.” This perspective and insight is SO good, Jennifer. Thank you!
Thank you, Jennifer, for your perfect definition of humility: “genuine thanks delivered with grace.” I also appreciated your comment about recognizing that we bring value to our world. We are not being prideful to acknowledge the gifts God has given us which bless those around us, as long as he receives the credit and the glory/affirmation. We do need to let our lights shine more brightly!
This is really beautiful. Thank you.