A Sure Cure for Writer’s Ego

Gabby Douglas Quote

Recently, I came across a guest blog at a popular website about Christian fiction. The author (who shall remain nameless) was talking about how she wrote her stories and mentioned that she’d written over one hundred books.

Wow. That’s quite an achievement. I’m sure many of us would love to be in her shoes.

Cold, Empty Feeling

The post was informative and inspiring. But when I reached the final period, an emptiness echoed deep in my soul, reminding me of an audio interview I had listened to last spring. Another successful Christian author answered questions about his vast career and publishing fame. The conclusion of that interview had left me with the same cold, empty feeling.

Now, let me pause and say this: I want to be very careful that readers don’t write me off as being harsh and judgmental. I don’t know the hearts of these authors, and I’m sure both, if invited, would thank God for what He has done in their lives. But the sad truth is, someone very big and important was missing from both presentations.

God was missing.

Not once did either author acknowledge God or His empowerment in achieving such amazing publishing success. What a tragedy! Especially when we remember Acts 12:23.

A Sure Cure

Be assured that I’m leveling no more criticism at these authors than I’m leveling at myself. As I’ve studied Scripture and come to a better understanding of my role as, first, a child of God and, second, as an author, I’ve discovered the sure cure to writer’s ego (which all authors struggle with to some degree). What is that cure?

Gabby Douglas QuoteGiving God the glory.

Think about it. Who are we without Him? We’re nobodies on a fast track to a place of eternal fire. But Jesus, if we’ve trusted in Him, changed all that and put us on the road to new life.

Bottom line? We cannot take credit for anything. Any success we attain in this life comes because God enabled us to achieve it. We are nothing in ourselves. Zilch.

“But I worked long and hard on that novel,” someone may argue. I’m sure you did. But consider this: who gave you the creativity, the command of the English language, and the drive to write that novel?

Who gave you strength in your fingers to type all those words?
The cleverness to weave those plot threads and tie up all those loose ends?
The insight into human character to populate your story with interesting people?
The determination to sacrifice precious time to write?
The perseverance to endure to the last period?
The resilience to keep going when rejection loomed at every corner?

God did.

Preaching at Myself

That’s why every Christian writer—or really any Christian, regardless of career—should pummel ego whenever he raises his ugly, satanic head. The world teaches us to glorify self, but may Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas be an inspiration to us—we must give all glory to God (1 Cor. 10:31).

I know this is a hard message. Be assured that I’m preaching at myself too. I’m very much aware of how my fallen nature longs for self-worship. And at every turn, this American Idol-obsessed culture cheers us on to do just that. To pat ourselves on the back. To exalt self. To steal the glory that belongs to someone else.

But we need to buck the system. Of all people, we Christians need to counter the culture and point the glory in the right direction.

Whenever I’m tempted to take credit for what only God could do through me, I must remind myself of three simple words.

Soli Deo gloria.

What about you? Are you tempted to take credit for your hard work? How do you keep pride at bay?

Verses for Reflection: Deuteronomy 32:3; Joshua 7:19; Judges 5:9; 2 Samuel 22:47; 2 Samuel 22:50; Nehemiah 9:5; Psalm 69:34; Psalm 96:8; Psalm 103:1; Psalm 107:8; Psalm 113:3; Psalm 115:1; Psalm 117:1; Psalm 135:1; Psalm 135:20; Psalm 145:1; Psalm 146:2; Psalm 150:6; Isaiah 12:4; Isaiah 25:1; John 12:28; Philippians 4:20; Revelation 19:7

10 thoughts on “A Sure Cure for Writer’s Ego

  1. Stephen Woodfin

    Adam, A fine cautionary word to us all. As writers we have to believe in what we commit to paper, but at the end of the day those things are just transitory scribblings of people who see through a glass darkly.

    It reminds me of the story I once heard about a group that was revising a hymnal to bring the verses into a more modern idiom. The verse at issue was the original version of Amazing Grace that said “that saved a worm like me.” When someone suggested “wretch” instead of worm, one of the revisers asked him why. “I know we are all sinners, but we’re not all the wormy kind,” the reviser said.

  2. Heather Day Gilbert

    Excellent post, and so difficult for platform-building writers. We have to emphasize our strengths and not wallow in our insecurities. We have to project optimism and not despondancy. We have to believe that what we are writing is valuable and important. But, at the same time, we have to lean on God and wait for Him to bless those ideas (the ones He probably gave us!). I pray that I will always remember the rejections I have gotten as a writer–they put you on the fast track to get some humility! And I pray that I always thank God for every success.

  3. R.E. Clark

    Thanks for the words reminding us that without Him we can do nothing. He is the Vine I am just a branch, but because I am attached to Him, His life flows through me. All glory to Him alone!

    I knew when the pen was layed down after completing my first book, Glasses in the Grass: Devotions for My Friends, that I was only an instrument in His hands.

  4. Adam Blumer

    Absolutely! We are of the same mind. Thanks for chiming in. We are indeed only His vessels for His use. It’s not about us; it’s all about Him.

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