Monday, January 3, 2011

Is It a Door?

Today a friend of mine sent me a message about a classified ad she found in our local paper. It was for a writing position on a national lifestyle website. They were looking for people who are willing to write about their faith.

I've been praying about doors of opportunity in ministry, and I've been praying even longer about being able to somehow help support my family through my gifts. This opportunity certainly isn't going to be the income to change our lives, but it did have in the description words that drew me. It said, "It may not be a gig that will support you, but many have used their column as springboards for further success in their field, while established writers have made their columns integral extensions of their writing careers."

Self-promotion is a tricky thing, and a challenging one too. Walking the line between faith and trusting/waiting upon God and actively participating in due diligence.

I asked for a door and out of the blue my friend sent me this listed opportunity. Is it a door? You can't really be sure until you try to walk through it. It makes me think as I type that about a time when I was a kid and I was at my next door neighbor's for a birthday party. The kids were playing outside in the backyard when I got there and I went running out to join them. As I got to the threshold I was knocked back a good three feet in intense pain. The classic move I had slammed into the sliding glass door. My friend's mom was far too good a housekeeper because I never even saw the glass.

The next time I came over to the house there were huge butterfly stickers all up and down the door. No one else would ever mistake the closed door as open ever again. I'm not really worried about any great pain should this possible door turn out to be closed rather than open, and only time will tell if the door was open to a new opportunity or if it was really closed and I will soon be feeling the pain of my first official rejection. But like the bump on my head, it will heal, and at least I will be able to say I gave it a shot.

So the process was simple. I was asked about contact info, and was asked to give a link to some of my writing on the internet. I chose a blog I wrote about 6 weeks ago called Impervious. It was challenging to choose without a lot of forethought, but I found myself on a time limit and in the midst of the application process. I liked this post and although it was long, I think it was also a good example of my work and my process.

The last page of the application asked for a sample of my writing. Not a link to past writing but a new piece that applied to the genre I was applying for. I chose the maximum of 3. (Which if you knew me would not surprise you at all. I am all about covering my bases.) I applied to "Christian Devotion;" "Christian Perspective;" and "Inspirational." In addition to genre there were 2 requirements, 200-300 words and must not be written in the first person. Um, hello? Challenge much?

200-300 words is short, especially for me. And everything I write, I write from my perspective, because honestly, that's the only thing I feel like I have any "expertise" on! So I said a prayer and wrote. Interestingly enough the body of the article was exactly 300 words. Which if you knew me, also would not surprise you because I like to use my words. So, here's what I wrote:

The Math of Ministry

Christian ministry should always be divided by one. So often when someone considers what they can do as an act of service for others, the mindset is on the masses. How can the hungry be fed? How can the orphans be saved? How can the homeless be given shelter?

The causes, and the vastness of need can send the best-intentioned person running, overwhelmed. Jesus, when He came to touch the world, touched each person one at a time, individually. Yes, the masses were fed, but the basket was passed to one hungry person at a time. The paralytics were healed, the eyes of the blind were opened, the lost were found, but each was touched and ministered to one by one.

If Christians could change their perception of the needs in the world to the individuals rather than the abstract concept of the need as a whole, a far greater impact towards change could be made. And if every Christian took the time and made it their purpose to be touching at least one life at a time, the effect could change the world.

Instead of trying to cure world hunger, head down to your local shelter and make a donation, donate food or even spend an afternoon serving meals. Instead of trying care for all the orphans, open your home to a foster child or volunteer your time to be a big brother or big sister. If your passion is stopping abortion, then open your home to a woman in crisis pregnancy, or volunteer at a local birthing center. If you have a heart for sick children, then donate an afternoon or two a week at the local children’s hospital reading stories to them, or participating in a fundraiser for the cause.

Touch one heart, change the whole world.


I have no idea what today will end up being. A step of faith? An exercise in futility? Only time will tell, but I'm glad at least I at least gave something a shot. If it hits a good target, all the better.

Lord, Your will be done.