Author Julia Cameron suggests that it feels a bit like waiting for rain in a drought. 'We keep squinting toward the horizon, jealous of our luckier neighbours and dissatisfied with our own condition,' she says. Her words gave me funny images of Elijah asking his servant, 'Can you see anything yet?'
After several fruitless looks, the young man replies, 'Yes, there are a couple of new reviews on Goodreads and a slight increase in your Amazon sales ranking.'
We know what happened in the Bible. Elijah and his servant rushed out in order to beat the soaking deluge they'd already predicted to King Ahab. In our analogy, we grasp these measly signs and push on, trying to prepare ourselves for the downpour of sales, ads, praise and money we hope will follow. But in our case, the small cloud just wafts away. 'Hey,' we complain. 'That's not what happened with Elijah!'
Julia Cameron goes on to muse that our culture has taught us to think of fame as a necessary by-product, but she suggests that it's full of empty calories with no nutritional value. We are taught by the media to keep seeking the amazing breakthrough, after which our lives will be abundantly blessed, but we only need to look at the sad revelations, not to mention several premature deaths, of many celebrities who seemed to have had it all to see that fame is not all it's cracked up to be.
'Not all artists will lead public lives,' she goes on to say. 'Many of us as talented as those who fame strikes may toil out our own days in relative anonymity.' And that's okay, because it may not even be healthy for us. I'm reminded of an article written by Ann Voskamp recently, in which she argued convincingly that the human soul isn't really even built for fame. I couldn't help but be convicted by her pointed question about which platform I'm trying to scramble up on anyway. The article is here.
A couple of days ago, I came across a touching article by Ann Swindell. I love how she found perspective about all this bothersome business from 'The Great Divorce' by C.S. Lewis. Basically, we may be surprised to find that while our desire to be recognised as offering some meaningful input is natural, fame in heaven is very different from fame on earth. You can read it here.
And then this morning, as I was scrolling through my news feed on Face Book, I chanced upon a great article by Lisa Mikitarian, which gave me another clue that we may stress far, far, far too much over something which God doesn't necessarily think is that big a priority. Read it here.
If you haven't had enough yet, here's one more link to follow, by Yours Truly on this very blog. Even though I wrote it a few years ago, somehow, the worries about this stuff started creeping up on me again, as they tend to do if we don't keep our focus. It's here.
So with all this, I'm encouraged to make sure we're listening to our Creator and not our culture. I think, keeping in mind how easy it is to get the two mixed up at all times may be a key to help. I appreciate anything that may clear my mind in this confusing world where we're brought up not to be attention seekers as children, and then later, chastised for not seeking attention in the adult world of self-promotion.