It’s been 10 days since Loving on Me! was released for sale and for me it’s already a success. Because it’s atop the best-seller list? Nope, not yet. I have no idea how many copies have been sold, and won’t know for many weeks to come. It’s simply because I wrote it, released it, and am ready for the next step on my journey that success feels good on me.
It looks good too … like a well-tailored suit designed to show off my best assets. It may not work for everyone, but for me this standard of success is better than achieving someone else’s preset goal – because it allows me to focus on my soul’s purpose, instead of fixate on how many books are sold.
But you know what? I almost messed up, and fell for the okey doke of following the numbers. The Amazon best-seller ranking is the most recent shiny toy that distracts me, and I have to constantly remind myself that it is tin foil. Every hour Amazon changes their rankings based on the number of books sold, and there is some compulsion in me that feels the need to check it several times each day.
Thank goodness for this Loving on Me Journey, where I can laugh at my little challenges and love me anyhow. I can also get back on track pretty quick, as God helps me grow through whatever I’m going through. In this case, He used a text from a friend to remind me why I wrote the book in the first place, and what I was ultimately hoping to achieve.
Her note was just two short lines. “Love the book. It is blessing me more than you can imagine.” Her words took me back to when I was writing the hardest chapter in the book. If you’ve read Loving on Me! I bet you’d imagine I’m referring to the chapter entitled “I am Free,” when I touch on some deeply personal issues from my past. But actually that chapter was a whole lot easier to pen than “I am Purposed,” where I talk about my faith and invite people to develop their own relationship with Christ. Writing those words almost brought me to a complete halt, cause one thing I did not set out to do was write a christian book.
Shocking I know, given it’s no secret how much I love God. But the truth is I agonized over putting those words on paper, so afraid that it would shrink my target audience, or alienate my supporters. I went round and round trying to figure out how to say it without saying it – at least in those words. But God simply wouldn’t let me move forward without acknowledging who He is, and when I really thought about it, why would He? And why was I so terrified of offending people with my faith versus disappointing Him who is my everything?
It was such a ridiculous, nonsensical argument – particularly in light of who He is and all He’s done in my life. But there it was, this fear that including too much God would decrease book sales. Isn’t that awful? Sometimes I can be so…small in my thinking, and so timid in my faith. But I share this with you honestly because I see so many of us compromising our message so the masses can embrace us.
We want to be lauded and applauded so we leave out things that may offend, afraid that we’ll miss out if we aren’t more mainstream. Staying in the middle seems a much safer approach. It’s only later we realize that trying to be like everyone else, we’ve missed out on being our unique self, which is where our greatness was waiting for us all along.
Once I surrendered to the message God really wanted me to deliver, the rest became much easier to write. The words were much more authentic, and my motivations more pure. It stopped being just about me, and instead became a prayer that God use the words He was delivering through me to transform lives in ways that only He can. So when I got that short text about the book blessing her, my heart leaped for joy, because I realized my prayers were being answered – one precious soul at a time.
That’s the beautiful benefit of redefining success as obedience to God – He blesses our life’s work with significance, allowing it to be used as a blessing to others. He also takes us places beyond what we can hope or imagine, as long as we don’t get too attached to what we think we have to have to get there. Which brings me back to why I’m writing this blog, because a lot of us have boxed ourselves in based on how we define success.
You see, here’s the thing. I believe the book He had me write is going to be a best-seller. The lessons are timeless, and are inextricably tied to helping readers develop a deeper relationship with Him. But will it be a best-seller in my lifetime, in this country, or according to current standards? I have no idea, and frankly don’t care. I want God to do His thing, His way, and I trust it will be for my good. I don’t want to limit what I have the privilege of enjoying by being stuck on a singular path. I want the seeds of unimaginable success He deposited in me long before I was born to bear good fruit, however, whenever and in whatever way He sees fit.
I pray that for you too. Wherever God has you working, I urge you to let success be defined by doing it His way. It may not be traditional or the way everyone else has done it in the past, but who cares? Your success suit was tailored to fit you just right – based on your gifts, abilities, and His divine plan for your life.
Don’t let the arbitrary standards of the mainstream be your definition of success. Do you, His way, and let living out your soul’s purpose be your highest and best achievement. There is no way you can lose when you’re living out His plan for your life.
Need some encouragement? Here’s three things to help shift your thinking on success.
- Register for the FREE Go Get Your More journey. It’s 52-weeks of inspiring, equipping and igniting you to pursue the more God has in store for your life. The videos, blogs and inspiration you receive each week are an awesome companion for strengthening your walk of faith.
- Pick up a copy of Loving on Me! Lessons Learned on the Journey from Mess to Message. It’s only $3.99 in e-book, and it chronicles my story of going from life-interuppted to life abundantly. When you’re sick of life as it is, this is a great place to start.
- Join us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for daily inspiration. You’d be amazed how adding something positive to your day can change your whole perspective.
Hope they bless you! Sending you big hugs and love… ❤