Enough.

Apr 6, 2016

I’ve had enough. It’s too much. Something must be said, done.

It started with an email from a well-intentioned acquaintance. A budding writer, she expressed her appreciation of Undone, celebrated with me its success. I appreciated her kindness. What I didn’t expect were her next words:

I’m jealous. 

She went on to express the fact that my dire health circumstances had ignited a level of success around my book that she envied. If only she had such luck! If only she could get similar traction on her work! Stunned, I stared at her email, unsure of what to feel or to say.

Jealous? I’ve experienced more pain and loss than I thought any human could possibly endure. Every day I live with permanent disability as a result. And you’re envious because of how that may have influenced book sales?!

In all fairness, she was simply being authentic about a real human struggle, the deep longing to be seen and feel significant.

I get it. Just this week I discovered a online friend I admire had unfollowed. My gut-level response? Rejection. I wanted to track her down, find out why {Yes, I struggle, too}. It took me a few moments to remember there could be a dozen innocuous reasons for the disconnect. Besides, my value doesn’t hinge on one person’s attention.

These are merely two examples in a long, tired list of others. How about the woman who no longer wants relationship because you didn’t endorse or promote her book? Or the connection who felt slighted because his initiatives weren’t reciprocated? Or the friend who stopped being a friend because you didn’t like his Facebook page, invite him to your event, share his post, or introduce him to your most-important connection?

For the love of all self-respect, this needs to stop. Our desperation is noxious. We’ve so cheapened our sense of identity that the slightest oversight ignites offense. We claim a desire to serve, to love, and to offer our “ministry” for the Glory of God and the benefit of others. But do we really? Instead, we think …

If only she would share my post … 

If only he would recognize my work …

If only I’d get this one break, then I’d feel better. 

Lies. All lies. {and, for the record, I’m girl-slappin’ myself most of all}

The problem isn’t with everyone else. The problem lies within.

No one can make you feel more significant, more legitimate. No person or opportunity can deliver enough success on a silver platter to sate your craving.

We’re sacrificing the credibility of our message on the altar of insecurity. We’re scrambling and hustling for our place in the spotlight, and in the process we’re losing relationships, our self-respect, and the Gospel. In Matthew 16, Jesus says it even more bluntly than I:

If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?

These castles we’re building will not last, you know. One day we’ll breathe our last, the name we built for ourselves will fade, and others will quickly step on our ashes to take our place. I’m a businesswoman, and I have no problem with working hard, making a living, and growing a business. But when we forget who we are and why we’re here, we’ve missed the point completely. 

There is no middle ground. True love leaves no room for self-aggrandizement, self-absorption, and keeping track. Servant-heartedness wastes not a thought on who notices and who reciprocates. Following Jesus has little to do with receiving recognition and everything to do with climbing onto a cross. Thus, try a new approach to becoming enough:

Build your identity on something other than what you do or who you know.

To begin, trying reading and believing the words of 1 John 3:1. If this doesn’t anchor you, nothing will. If I had a dollar for every woman who asked me, “How can I get on the Women of Faith tour?” I wouldn’t need to work. Please hear me: there’s nothing “wrong” with large, big-name platforms. Great good is often accomplished by those with sweeping audiences. I’ve seen it firsthand! But who says a large platform is the pinnacle of worth? There are men and women who live next door to you, who drive in your carpool and sit nearby at your daughter’s soccer game that need your message just as much as anyone filling an arena for a weekend event. Somehow we’ve equated stage lights, studio sound and high-profile connections with significance. In the process, we’ve pimped out our souls. Please, let’s stop pining for the spotlight and instead recognize the opportunity of “exactly where I am.” Success isn’t an external achievement, it’s internal assurance that you’re doing exactly what you were made to do, for the One who made you to do it.

Make sure your desire to serve trumps your desire to impress. This isn’t easy, I know. Every day I fight the urge to feed my craving for affirmation. But fight it we must. One part of my business is working with speakers to develop killer keynote messages. In every case, one of the first questions I ask of each client is this: Who is the person you’re trying to reach? Name her. Describe her. Feel her pain and tell me what she needs most. Then, how do you want her to be different as a result of hearing your message? I ask these two questions simply because they anchor everything that follows. Without it, human nature will take over. We’ll get wrapped up in our own “wow” and end up stepping on heads in order to impress.

Spend far more energy searching for the unlovable than seeking to be loved. You know that event you went to, the one where you worked so hard to make important connections? You left frustrated, hurt, and vowed to stop trying. Consider this: For all the energy spent trying to be noticed, you completely overlooked so many others who needed to be seen. In other words, you became the problem you blame everyone else for. Instead, spend yourself searching for people to love (Is. 58:10). Stop scraping for your own significance and, instead, offer it to others. In the process, you’ll end up discovering the love you’ve been looking for.

It’s not easy, but it’s quite simple: Rather than reaching for fame, let’s embrace humility. Rather than making a name for ourselves, let’s be bold ambassadors of The Name. The first is sand, the second is cement. The first will leave you hurt, lonely, dissatisfied and jealous. The second will anchor you on the truth that you’re already loved.

And more than enough.

The following question is too important not to consider: Where do you find your significance? 

105 Comments

  1. Brad Hobbs

    “Make sure your desire to serve trumps your desire to impress.” – I’m so busted here. Well said and thank you Michele…once again.

    Reply
  2. Alma Marie DuCharme

    TO: Michelle, I concur with you 100 %. It is better to receive the praise of Yeshua than that of the world. If faith is based on what others do, say, or believe, that kind of faith will fail you all the time. If your faith is based on what Yaweh says in Scripture about you, the one true Truth, that will never ever fail you. I find it so incredible reading, studying, and praying the scriptures as a new Christ following Christian. I never knew there was a book with such beauty, such honesty, and such promise. All people have crosses to carry in life. You are a beautiful person Michelle. Thanks sweet sister in Yeshua.

    Reply
  3. Miranda

    Ouch!! I got so convicted while reading this. I am so bad at comparing myself with others. I have to remember that God has me where He wants me for this season of life and that is just a season.

    Reply
  4. Janetta Fudge-Messmer

    Thank you for your bluntness! So powerful and truly the Lord put those words on your heart to share with all of us. Blessings to you and the work He’s given you to do.

    Reply
  5. Melissa

    Wow! This is amazing! Thank you for this message.

    Reply
  6. Grandma Honey

    You are so very wise. You have been through the refiner’s fire and we learn from you. Thank you Michele!

    Reply
  7. David Robinson

    Wow! Thanks Michelle! With social media being such a draw to find affirmation and attention this message hits the target. Thank you so much for the great reminders on where our focus, as Christ followers, should and has to be.

    Reply
  8. Mary DeMuth

    GIRL. Yes. All this.

    One thing I’m praying about: creating a training/mentoring program for new writers and speakers with the kingdom of God as the stage rather than clamoring for the stage. The kingdom is upside down from how the world does things. And yet, we train speakers and writers to chase proven methods rather than scrambling after the savior.

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      GREAT idea, Mary. A hard space to speak into, but you have the credibility and heart to do it. Believe in you.

      Reply
      • Laura Acuna

        Mary is so right. Your article, Michele, came at just the right time for me. Thank you! I have been trained as a speaker and blogger — so beneficial– but it has been confusing at times when we are urged to spend SO MUCH TIME getting noticed — developing ‘sticky statements’, posting all day long, creating tweetable phrases, building our social media following etc..etc.. It is exhausting and very distracting. And of course there is the comparison and wondering where I fit in to all of the noise out there. Where is the time to sit at His feet and grab guidance from Him? I felt the Lord really impress upon me to focus on Him, seek His approval and His alone and to place everything else in second place. Please Mary — I hope you will lead us in the vision He has given you the one that is “right side up”!

        Reply
    • Marissa Henley

      Yes, please do it, Mary! I’d love to sign up for a mentoring program like that! 🙂

      Reply
  9. Rosie Williams

    I loved this so much! I’m working on my first solo book contract and going to a writer’s conference next month. I so want to apply your wise words, and just relax and extend love and encouragement to those I meet. Being right in the middle of the marketing thing and putting together a launch team, these words today grounded me and helped me to relax!

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      If you do the heart-work to anchor yourself before that conference, you’ll be far ahead of so many others. Love your heart, Rosie!

      Reply
  10. Lily

    Wow! This post spun out of my screen like an F-5 tornado. In a good way. For the past four years, I’ve worn myself ragged chasing after elusive affirmation from perfect strangers. Trying to build an online ‘following’ has resulted in frustration and burnout and anything but… I’m working on face-to-face relationships with people around me and working to remind myself of my worth in the Only One that believes I am enough. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Lily

      And I still feel like punching that ‘well-intentioned acquaintance’… just sayin’.

      Reply
      • Michele Cushatt

        Haha! Thank you for your sweet loyalty. But so you know, at least she was honest enough to admit what so many of us feel. She’s no different than me … simply wanting to be loved. 🙂

        Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      Hope your computer’s okay. 🙂 Your authentic journey inspires me and many others, Lily. With you.

      Reply
  11. Jenny Snow

    Michele,

    This was SO good. When I started writing blogs and author FB posts, I was completely surprised by how elated or dejected I felt based upon the response.

    I still feel the feelings, but I try not to give them any importance (though it’s hard!)

    Like the song says, “I am loved by You (God), it’s who I am.” When I keep my eyes on God, and my motives on obeying him, I’m completely content to just enjoy him and let him lead me where he will.

    Good, good stuff, Michele.

    Thanks,
    Jenny

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      I STILL DO. Even after all these years of writing and speaking, I struggle with how my emotions mirror the responses. A you can imagine, I couldn’t sleep last night for fear of the reactions to this post. Proof that this post is directed at me first before anyone else. Thanks for your thoughts, Jenny.

      Reply
  12. Wayne Stiles

    I feel like my third-grade principal just paddled me in the school hallway. OUCH. It only hurts because it’s so, so true: “The problem isn’t with everyone else. The problem lies within.”

    When the metrics become our motivation, ironically, we risk losing the very platform we started out to build. Any growth we experienced came because our readers, listeners, or audience resonated with our why. If we lose our why, it’s just a matter of time before we lose our platform.

    It gives me hope to read your words of authenticity. I needed them today.

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      Ha! Sorry about that, Wayne. If it helps, I slapped myself black and blue first. 😉

      You make a great point. It’s not that “metrics” are bad. But if metrics become our sole motivation and the determiner of our worth, we’ll soon find ourselves weary from the ride.

      Reply
  13. Danna Demetre

    My public sisters in Christ – this is so hard to admit – we envy – even people’s hardship for the “celebrity” it brings. We (I) need to check our hearts DAILY. Michelle you are bold and loving in this needed admonition to deal with our insecurities and strivings and seek to serve others and please HIM – our Audience of One! Keep sharpening us, sister!

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      Yes, DAILY. For me, about every five minutes. 😉

      Reply
  14. Jamie Janosz

    So, so, so, so true. I found it almost impossible, as a first-time author, to avoid the trap of me-focus. You are trying so hard to do a good job, and doing a good job at promoting your book means self-promotion and self-focus. It is exhausting and not healthy. It also doesn’t really contribute to good writing or an authentic message. For me, I’m pushing it aside for now to just be and think and pray and write. I can’t do it. It’s too hard. My book may never be a success, but that’s okay. And I may never write another, and that’s okay too. I will wait to have something truly authentic to say and contribute – and I’m off the self-promotion train.

    Reply
    • Susan Bailey

      Ditto! My feelings and experience exactly as a first-time author. And I broke away from it too because I lost my writing voice. Thank you Jamie, and thank you Michelle!

      Reply
  15. Michele

    Yes! Thank you for the heart check. I too often compare myself to others, their successes, and “highlight” reels. And every time it leads to self-pity and dispare. But, when I shift my eyes to the One who knows my name, who defines me, that burden is lifted and I’m free to love, no matter how I look or the size of my platform. Thank you for this beautiful reminder, fellow Michele with one “L”!

    Reply
  16. Rosa Hopkins

    Those are very true words that are hard to live out. I find that for me it goes in cycles. I can humbly serve others and then might receive a flurry of attention on something I’ve made. Then the practice of checking numbers kicks in and I am on the roller coaster of needing a certain number to feel ‘happy’. Then I’ll disconnect, hunker down and gain focus on why I’m doing this in the first place again, only to have the cycle repeat.
    It is tempting to share the spotlight with Jesus, particularly if you’ve never felt loved or cared for. God’s word needs to trump our feelings and help keep us on a steady, even keel. Thank you for sharing and writing this. I needed to hear this today.

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      So true, Rosa. Those who experienced a significant season of neglect (in childhood or adulthood) have a particularly painful struggle. My heart aches for it. The only healing I’ve found is to dive deeper and deeper into the love of God. Even so, it’s a partial healing until the day we meet Him face to face.

      Reply
  17. Stacey Thacker

    There are so many great points in this where do I begin? Just know this resonates deeply with me!

    Thank you. As one who met you behind the scenes of such an event, please know I absolutely felt seen by you. And still do.

    —stacey

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      The kindest word you could have offered. Thank you. Boy, I fail so often, get sucked into my own promotion, ride the rollercoaster of other’s opinions … I’m so glad you felt/feel seen. The grace of God. I’m honored to know you, Stacey. Your life is a gift to me, even if you don’t know it.

      Reply
  18. Cherie

    Thanks for reminding me yet again why I love your voice.

    Reply
  19. Melissa K. Norris

    Michelle,
    Thank you for sharing. It’s very easy to get caught up in the business of writing, and even with good intentions, we still get caught in the business of it and self. At least I have.

    Reading this helped me remember what and Who this should be about. It also stemmed a prayer of forgiveness because I’ve definitely been in the category listed above (that girl slap thing… I might have needed two).

    Thank you for the reminder.

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      It’s such a fine balance, isn’t it? There is NOTHING wrong with running a good business, marketing your product, making a living. But when our sense of worth and value (and how we value others) rides that rollercoaster, we’ve lost ourselves in the process. I find this is an internal war I need to wage every. single. day. But for the grace of God …

      Reply
  20. Brae Wyckoff

    Yes, such a breath of fresh air. Thank you. I will share this in my author groups as well.
    I live in San Diego and would love to connect with you for author talks in our region.
    blessings,
    Brae Wyckoff
    CEO of Kingdom Writers Association

    Reply
  21. Joy McMillan

    Oh, Michele. Such a good, hard reminder. Like a punch in the gut and a kiss on the cheek. Your words – as usual – are so timely and poignant. Thankful for you.

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      A punch in the gut I delivered to myself a hundred (thousand?) times first. 🙂 May God give us the grace to serve Him better.

      Reply
  22. Lisa Tindal

    I’m glad I happened upon your words. I worry and wonder, “Why do my words just fall into a massive pile of other writers whose souls are unburdened by writing, whose hearts are turned towards story telling to help another along the way?” Such wonderful reminders of the dangers of jealousy, of pride, and of self-centered paths we all traipse down, puffed up or pouty.

    Thank you for honesty.

    Reply
  23. Crystal S. Hornback

    Oh honey, this is GOOD STUFF!!! Wow, wow, WOW! I want to highlight and share every word you’ve so beautifully crafted, but I think this was my fave, “Somehow we’ve equated stage lights, studio sound and high-profile connections with significance. In the process, we’ve pimped out our souls. Please, let’s stop pining for the spotlight and instead recognize the opportunity of “exactly where I am.” Success isn’t an external achievement, it’s internal assurance that you’re doing exactly what you were made to do, for the One who made you to do it.”

    My goodness, YESSSSSSSS! Thank you for this bold transparency and truth today, Michelle!

    Reply
  24. TJ Foster

    Oh my goodness Michele, I really needed this post this morning – thank you so much! I love this line: “…Success isn’t an external achievement, it’s internal assurance that you’re doing exactly what you were made to do, for the One who made you to do it.” – it’s such a great reminder as a small business owner who constantly worries about measuring up and stressing over doing everything perfectly.

    Reply
  25. Sarah

    Thank you! As a blogger and first time author, I struggle with everything you mentioned. It is only when I serve without that need to be noticed that I feel complete. Wow…

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      You’re not alone, Sarah. In fact, I suspect I will struggle with this until the day I meet Jesus. Further proof that it needs be about Him, and not me.

      Reply
  26. Tracye

    I love your writing and this was an excellent post, spot on. I saw many areas that resonated with my own struggles. This one was bookmarked!

    Reply
  27. James Watkins

    Thanks for your honest post. I can’t believe people “envy” me at times. I finally changed my bio with a page from the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians:

    “Whatever anyone dares to boast about, I dare to boast about it, too. Are they writers? So am I with 20 books and over 2,000 articles. Are they editors? So am I as an editor, acquisitions editor and editorial director. Are they speakers? So am I throughout the United States as well as countries from Australia to India. I have spoken at churches, conferences and colleges such as Liberty and Regent Universities. Are they teachers? So am I having taught writing for 15 years at Taylor University.

    “But if I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my C in Freshman Composition, hundreds of rejection slips, poor sales figures (Did you know that books can actually sell negative numbers?!), clinical depression, mild autism, broken relationships, cancer, four surgeries in three hospitals in two months, and . . . well that’s probably enough. But here’s the point: when I am weak, then I am strong.”

    Reply
    • Sherri

      Great. Comment and view – thanks for sharing

      Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      YES. I’ve been ruminating on 2 Corinthians 12 for a year now. I’m just beginning to understand the layers of truth hidden in those verses. May we all be weak!

      Reply
  28. Sandy Singer

    Jesus has been talking to me about this very thing all week. My husband (he works for a Christian non-profit) came home from work on Monday and told me about what was said at the morning chapel service. It was the same message. Now your post. I’m really having to look at myself and ask God to reveal where my thinking has gotten away from his truth. Thank you.

    Reply
  29. Lance Wilcox

    Wow, so sorry to hear about such an insensitive comment. But you know, you are in a sense following in the footsteps of our Lord, who had to deal with disciples who also clamored after fame and position. When the mother of James and John came to Him to ask that her sons might share His “platform” in Heaven, He replied: “Ye know not what ye ask. Are you able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” (Matthew 20:22)

    Sadly, your acquaintance does not appear to have any idea of what she is asking. For just one example, would she envy Helen Keller’s success?

    God bless you for how you have used the wisdom gleaned from your tremendous suffering to bless all of us who listen to Michael’s podcast and read your own blog and book. You are being mightily used.

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      Thank you, Lance. I appreciate your kind and thoughtful words. Truly, her comments came from innocence. I value her authenticity in revealing such a personal struggle and, frankly, it shone a bright light on my own insecurities. We’re all sunk without grace.

      Reply
  30. Suzie Eller

    Remember that time we talked and shared that many of the words that come after illness drive us to our knees. . . I’m so sorry for the ones that equated book sales to immense suffering.

    Truly, my heart hurts.

    Yet I also know that those words were spoken (just as you shared) out of an innocent place. Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know.

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      Thank you, dear Suzie. You said it well … “words spoken out of an innocent place.” How many times have I done the same and far worse? I feel zero judgment or hurt, because the woman’s words simply gave honest voice to my own struggle. God sometimes uses situations like these to mirror the own heart-work we need to do. For that reason, I’m thankful.

      Reply
  31. Bob DeLoach

    Thank you.

    Reply
  32. Vivianna @ Mums Orchard House

    This is such a great reminder & respectful perspective. This is my first visit to your page & i’m unsure of your history but it sounds like you’ve authentically earned the attention by being yourself. Keeping integrity while growing a business & brand is always of utmost important but can be tempting to stray from. Thank you for saying what needed to be said!

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      Thank you, Vivianna. Nice to meet you! I struggle just as everyone does, perhaps more than most. Thus the need to say it out loud. Public accountability is a good thing!

      Reply
  33. Susie Klein

    Okay this is perfection and I needed to read it at this moment. As a new writer I spend time in helpful FB writing groups, but oh man, it can easily become overwhelming with the push to self promote beyond all boundaries. Just this morning I moved from one of those groups to this post and…breath of fresh air! Thank you for reminding me why I do what I do.

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      I don’t know if this will be helpful or not, but … it won’t get any easier. 🙂 As long as we walk around in this human flesh, we will fight it. “But fight it we must.”

      Reply
  34. Jana

    I can’t love this enough Michelle. Thank you for saying it out loud. AND may we all take it to heart.

    Blessings, Jana

    Reply
  35. Sherri

    Awesome, spot on article!

    Reply
  36. Kate Brooks

    Wow! You hit the nail on the head 1000 times here! I talk about this a lot and our failure to make real organic connections that last. Those that are on a genuine foundation. Not because we want something in return or need to stroke each others egos. I feel were even doing it to our children because were so soaked up in this behavior it doesn’t stop once we out our phones down or walk away from the computer. But the great thing is that some of us recognize it and that’s the beginning of change 🙂

    Reply
  37. Marcia Ballard

    Wow. Right on. And I’m VERY sorry for the agony you’ve been through. Others CANNOT understand.

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      Thank you for your compassion, Marcia. Although I would never choose that agony or want to experience it again, I can finally say it’s delivered a gift far more exquisite than I could’ve imagined. I’m better for it. And, thus, thankful.

      Reply
  38. Asad

    Hi Michele,

    I really liked this article and it’s a good reminder. Thank you!

    Reply
  39. Bruce

    Michelle – I read your post earlier today and now am finding time to chime in. The only measuring stick any of us need or should long for is what has been offered to us through Christ. He is ENOUGH…OKAY, MORE THAN ENOUGH!

    If you were a gymnast, say Mary Lou Retton (sorry for the retro reference!), you would get a resounding “10” for this post. As a former professor once said, “unless one walks a mile in another’s moccasins, he (or she) has no idea of the journey which one travels”.

    Thanks for sharing….Bruce

    Reply
  40. Alice Arment

    Well said my friend, so well said. My daughter was fond of saying “What others think of me is none of my business!” It’s interesting to find her two kiddos have adopted the same phrase. Isn’t it about doing the work He gives our hands to do at any given moment, not about who is watching us do it, or receive it. So love your insights.
    Hugs and blessings, Alice

    Reply
  41. Ruthie Gray

    This was so good. We become dissatisfied when we compare. When really, we’re upset with God for not putting us there first. Shame on us! God has us right where He wants us, if we’re walking with Him. Good words, thank you for this.

    Reply
  42. Beth Beutler

    Thank you for this. It was timely for me. I am VA for a number of clients, and one is in the middle of an exciting book launch. I’m delighted to be on the team, but confess there’s a slight twinge here and there beccause I’ve self-published a few books and they receive nowhere near the attention the book is getting. I’m behind the book and the concepts–and your post helps me remember my mission to help overwhelmed professionals excel. Sometimes that puts me in front of people–other times, behind the scenes. And I’m reminded that both are important–so long as it’s where God is putting me for that day.

    Reply
  43. Misty Keith

    Outstanding! I love every word of this. When I first started blogging, I was so guilty of wanting the spotlight. God showed me right away this calling was not about me, but about Him and His glory, telling others about Him so that others could experience Jesus like I have. Since then, I feel a sense of relief. I want to be like John the Baptist always pointing others to Jesus. I love Him so much, He deserves everything, all the attention. I hope to always show people who He is by the way I love, breathe, speak and write. To God be the glory.

    Reply
  44. Andrea Stunz

    I’m not a fan of the “you are enough” wording. It’s like taking Romans 8:28 and using it without it’s surrounding scriptures. We are only enough in Christ. That being said, I LOVE your post! It encourages and motivates me. Such great words for all of us as we do our things to serve. “Rather than reaching for fame, let’s embrace humility. Rather than making a name for ourselves, let’s be bold ambassadors of The Name.”

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      I get it, Andrea. Sometimes I struggle with the “you are enough” wording as well. However, I’m approaching it from the perspective that we bring nothing to the table of grace. It’s not Jesus + my goodness, or Jesus + my good works. I’m enough, simply because I wear Christ. I bring nothing to the party, he brings everything. There is no amount of “effort” I could expend to be any more “worthy” than I am. So appreciate your insight.

      Reply
  45. Liz Robinson

    Thank you for this reminder. There are so many voices in the world telling us the exact opposite its refreshing to keep reminding ourselves what God tells us is important.

    Reply
  46. Jean Holland

    WOW! Thank you. It is refreshing to find someone who gets it and is honest enough to share Truth. Thank you. shalom

    Reply
    • Jean Holland

      I am grateful that I stumbled across this site today. After giving in to the lies of the enemy for years I finally obeyed God by writing my first book. I am not eager for the spotlight, in fact that is one reason I have rebelled against the call of God for so long. I am overwhelmed by all the advice I have received prior to a conference I plan to attend in May but I believe God is opening doors because of my reluctant obedience. I don’t know where this will take me but as long as He gets the Glory and praise I am willing to do whatever next step I must take. Thank you for your open heart.

      Reply
  47. Barbara

    Great post! Great reminder of why I am pursuing writing and speaking. Thank you.

    A few years ago, my Father God told me I am already famous in His eyes…. Even though no one else knows me. That is all the affirmation I will ever need, and I am learning to solely depend on Him. Being His girl is my significance! And I don’t have to do anything more to obtain His love and acceptance. Thank you Father!

    Reply
  48. Marissa Henley

    Thank you for writing and sharing this. I have a blog post that has been sitting unfinished for weeks about my struggles with how I view success as a writer. I had identified that the ways I’m tempted to define success (likes, comments, feedback, etc.) aren’t right, but I was having a hard time articulating a biblical way to define success in this area.

    I loved how you put it: “Success isn’t an external achievement, it’s internal assurance that you’re doing exactly what you were made to do, for the One who made you to do it.”

    When I read that, it sounded a lot like Ephesians 2:10 to me. I am God’s workmanship, and success is found in doing the good works He has prepared for me in Christ Jesus, for His glory.

    Reply
  49. Deena Peterson

    When my father passed away, a friend told me that she was jealous of the attention I was getting, and she wished it had been her dad who’d died.

    Statements like that can either make us angry, or can rattle our spiritual cage and give us fresh perspective on needed change. Thank you for allowing your friend’s comment to spark this much needed post.

    Reply
  50. Jeanne Hultgren

    Michelle…well said girlfriend! “For all the energy spent trying to be noticed, you completely overlooked so many others who needed to be seen.”…truer words have never been written…you challenge me with every post.

    Reply
  51. Christy Welch

    “We’re sacrificing the credibility of our message on the altar of insecurity. We’re scrambling and hustling for our place in the spotlight, and in the process we’re losing relationships, our self-respect, and the Gospel.”

    This especially spoke to me. I started my blog, my website a few years ago and let it shrivel into nothing. I now revived in a couple months ago in the hopes that what I say as an ordinary person, leading an ordinary life, can help someone else. Every little bit helps, and I want people to know that you don’t have to be perfect to serve God. You can make mistakes. You just have to keep trying to do your best. I even put my mission statement on every page, as a reminder that I am here to serve Him and to spread seeds of faith.

    “Serving each other through small deeds is one of the strengths of the Christian faith. People can help serve each other in small ways every day. I hope to inspire people to do more good in their communities, even if it’s an act as small as a mustard seed. Often times those deeds turn into the trees that shade others during rough times.”

    Reply
  52. Susan

    Matthew 11:29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul.” I’ve often wondered exactly what that yoke actually was. What burden are we meant to carry? How do we know? Just this week I realized the burden we are to carry is the challenge to be gentle and humble, just as Jesus is. It is a challenge. It’s easier to be self-seeking, aggressive, and driven to succeed at all costs. While it seems easier to serve self, it’s a much heavier burden to bear. We pay the price in stress, anxiety, fear and doubt.

    It’s hard to let go of pursuing our own needs in favor of being gentle and humble, trusting God to be our provision and our defender. But it is the place where we will find peace and contentment.

    You said it perfectly “spend yourself searching for people to love (Is. 58:10). Stop scraping for your own significance and, instead, offer it to others”

    Reply
  53. Judy Acker

    Michele, this really is just for you. On Tuesday night, I ate a piece of strawberry cake knowing that I was crossing a line as I am allergic to strawberries. But it had been several years and I wanted that piece of cake. This morning (Thursday) I woke up with my tongue so sore that I could hardly stand it in my mouth. I thought of my friend Michele who had all that pain and suffering of her tongue and I started to cry, How did she stand it?. So I said a prayer for you and left my tongue in my mouth and went on my day. I ran some errands the went to see my granddaughters at their livestock show. Between lambs and goats, I opened up Facebook and read this. You can only imagine what happened next. So I cried a fee more tears over your article. Just all tears of love for my friend.
    I did start a blog finally this week. Sure not in your league but because of you and Shellie and the encouragement that you are in my life. When I figure out how to put the link on Facebook maybe you will read it. Then you can pat your self on the back or give yourself a hug for being my friend. Love you. judy

    Reply
  54. Lenore Buth

    Beautifully written, as always, Michele, and right on. Thanks for the way your faith shines through in every post. So many people tell us the “right way” to do our blogs and tweets and all the rest. You take me back to the reason I started doing a blog eight years ago, that it would be worth the effort if even one person gets a heart-lift or draws closer to Jesus.

    God bless you and good health to you!

    Reply
  55. Janell Rardon

    There are no words, Michele. Only tears for the immaturity and insensitivity of that woman. God help us. I am so sorry.

    Reply
  56. Teresa

    Wow! Thank you for sharing what we needed to hear! Powerful. Loving.

    Reply
  57. Tiffany

    Where do I find my significance? That’s a tough question.
    1st off I am sorry about that email you received, I’m sure it’s not the 1st or the last but none the less it kind of sucks. Cancer is not something I would every wish for anyone and the idea that someone would wish for it as a platform for success is quite odd.
    Significance? I wish I had the perfect Christian girl answer for this. But I don’t. I honestly think I am still trying to figure it out. Before cancer I was working with my husband to try and move our business forward. Post cancer I want to be home more and be more of a support from here. Not being out in the world as much makes me feel guilty but at the same time I am reaching out to other women with cancer and cheering them on through the awesomeness of chemo and mastectomies.

    I think it’s that unfortunate feeling of feeling like I am not enough that bothers me the most. I listen to your podcast as well as a few others when I run and I desire to be a high achiever but at the same time I don’t want to miss out on Tom Sawyer plays at the school, dance recitals and little league baseball games. I am not bringing in income but there is a hot meal on the table every night, the laundry is done (especially right now after a lice outbreak!!!) and the house is relatively clean.

    I have discovered the joy of writing in the last year and a half and enjoy writing on my blog. Do I hope to write a book? Yep. Do I hope to meet more women with cancer and be a source of encouragement and strength for them? Yep. Do I have any idea how all that is going to come together? Nope.

    I do know however that last October I was on one of my 1st post cancer treatment runs and this lady came on to Michael Hyatt’s podcast. She has been through hell and she shared some of her story. I needed to hear that story so badly and know that someone not only gets it but to see that she wasn’t hiding. You are shining. I love it. Every time I hear your voice I am encouraged to get out there and do my part in loving, learning and pointing others to Christ.

    Speaking of hearing your voice… I gotta go. 11 mile run this morning and I have this weeks Michael Hyatt podcast waiting for me. (: … 1/2 marathon in 3 weeks. The only other one I have run was in 2010 in honor of my best friend Aimee who also had breast cancer. She went to be with Jesus in 2011. This one I am running for me…

    Thank you Michele for heeding the call on your life and blessing others in a profound way.

    Have a great day!

    Tiffany

    Reply
  58. Lynn

    Love your vulnerability in sharing a message that we all need to hear. Awesome job. I need to read this over and over again to internalize and live out daily this very essential truth.

    Reply
  59. Andrea Merrell

    Wow, Michele. Such powerful, heartfelt, life-changing words. I read through the post and all the comments twice. I also jotted down some of the nuggets you offered your readers. With your permission, I would like to share some of them at a writers’ conference later this year where I will be doing a short keynote. Thank you so much for such a wonderful, timely post.

    Reply
  60. Effie Darlene Barba

    Amen. To answer the question-“Where do you find your significance? ” Only In Christ do I have significance of any kind. So, sorry for all you have been through, including the pain I am certain that email caused. Certainly, I feel sorry for the writer of that email as well. It is all too human to want validation; yet, that so often is a barrier to our own understanding. I may never have a successful book, a speaking career, or a top ranked blog. Yet, I learned back when I started writing that for me if one person is lifted up or one person finds Christ; then, it is worth it all. How much pain or sacrifice is too much for the salvation of one soul? If the eternity of one soul is changed then it has been worth all the trials I have walked through and all the energy spent. Thank you Michele for being an inspiration. I would have never had the opportunity to hear you tell the story of your son running the race or known you had you not already touched so many lives. I am so glad to have shook your hand once in Colorado. Whatever notoriety you gain on this earth it is nothing to compare to the notoriety you will have when you stand before the throne clothed in all the glory of Christ as He proclaims, “Michele, my beloved, thank you for bearing the heavy crosses I gave you on earth, look around and see the fruits of your humble labor. I knew that I could trust you to be ever faithful.” You see I learned a long time ago; God does not need me to save anyone; but what a privilege when he chooses to share His Glory with me by using my suffering or pain to shine His light to another. He is my greatest treasure and He is my steady, unshakable JOY in the midst of every circumstance. With a big hug and a lot of love, Effie Darlene

    Reply
  61. Julie Sunne

    This is so, so good, Michele! I believe we all struggle with it to some extent. Thank you for your blunt assessment and point-on treatment. Blessed to call you a sister in Christ.

    Reply
  62. Toshaq

    Michele,

    I love this so much, and it is so timely as I’m beginning to pursue my first job post grad school. One thing that has helped me with self-aggrandizement in that past is thinking about how God sought David out and made him great – David did not seek the kingship, he was merely a shepherd. God increased his influence, his platform, and his fame – this is NOT to say that these things are always the byproduct of faithfulness, but if fame comes, let it be because of faithfulness, not despite it.

    Thanks for this!

    Reply
    • Tosha

      or *despite a lack of it, which is what I was really trying to say. Also, my name is “Tosha”, not “Toshaq”. Clearly, more coffee is in order 😉

      Reply
  63. sarah

    Oh. My. Word. Thank you so much for this message. I’m going to print it out and read it weekly, just because I feel the battle between the Spirit and the flesh DAILY! Praise God He gives us grace even in the struggle. Praying daily that I desire to glorify God more than I desire to glorify self. NOT easy. Thank you, Michele!

    Reply
  64. Juli Schafer

    What a truly GREAT read. So much truth here, I am going to read it every day for awhile. Thank you!

    Reply
  65. Linda Ulrich

    i jist finished reading your book.it was great.how are you and the family?i sufferfrom anxiety,i am so afraid to ask for meds,but i hate the feeling and get scared sometimes,my husband tries to help me but he really doesnt know what to do but he is very supportive just like your husband he is a loving and nuturing husband but sometimes i feel for him .

    Reply
  66. Francisco

    Your words are like much needed water on a desert. Thank you for sharing these valuable insights into an omnipresent reality of our daily lifes.

    Reply
  67. Paula Mosher Wallace

    You posted this on my birthday. I just read it, but it is the heart of what God has been speaking to me about with Bloom In The Dark, Inc. Though my name and face represent so many who can’t speak or write for themselves, my mission isn’t about me. It’s about sharing God’s heart of hope and love with those who need it most. The one sheep who’s lost rather than the 99 who are safe. Thanks for the reminder.

    Reply
  68. Nancy Ludlum

    Thank you so much for posting this! It has truly validated some things in my life. Loving others around you is so rewarding! Blessings to you!

    Reply

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