Remember Whom You Serve by Jodi Whisenhunt

Sometimes the people who should be our number one fans crush our spirits and fill us with self doubt. A friend of mine, Christy, is a newly published freelance writer. In the business of freelancing, not all pieces receive monetary reward. Simply put, you don’t get paid. When Christy received her first freelance paycheck, she phoned her mom to celebrate. She also told her about a weekly, unpaid writing opportunity. Upon hearing this new column would be written pro bono, my friend’s mother offered these words, “Well, Honey, it’s not like you’re a real writer.” Ouch!

Those few words left my friend wondering, “Am I a writer? Why am I writing? Can I say I’m a writer if I don’t receive payment? Should I stop writing?” When Christy called her mom she was excited and confident; when she hung up the phone she was dejected and insecure.

My friend’s experience reminded me of when Jesus returned to his hometown. The people discounted him, saying he was just the carpenter’s son and asked each other where he got his powers. “But Jesus said to them, ‘Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor’” (Matthew 13:57). In Luke 4:24-30, Jesus explains it further, giving comparisons to Elijah and Elisha. The people responded to Jesus’ reprimand by driving him to the edge of a cliff and threatening to throw him off. While it didn’t come to that extreme with my friend’s family, her mother’s words left her feeling as if she were thrown off the cliff of success.

Even Jesus wasn’t supported by those who should have been his greatest supporters. Author Teresa G. Lusk discusses a similar matter in the “Dream Patrol” chapter of her book, Good Enough to be a Homemaker and CEO. She points out that some people appoint themselves to manage others’ success. They encourage and inspire until time comes to step out in faith and progress toward goals. At which point their true opinions are revealed and they spew forth insults. Teresa advises, “Don’t take it personally…Receive it as a combination of useful circumstances. One, they offer an opportunity to remind you who called you to your purpose. And two, personal and spiritual growth comes about” (Lusk 62-63).

I’m sure my friend’s mother loves her very much and is proud of her achievement. However, Christy and we fellow writers need to remember whom we serve. I know we want our parents to be proud of us, but, “If [we] were still trying to please men, [we] would not be servant[s] of Christ” (Galatians 1:10). Paychecks don’t define us. Others’ opinions don’t define us. Our Creator does, and it is He whom we should honor.

*Originally posted on Jodi’s Aim for Perfection Editing blog.

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