Monday, March 31, 2014

It's Not a Waste of Time by Nola Passmore



One of the reasons I write is that I want to change the world.  Okay, maybe that’s a bit lofty, but it would be nice to think our writing is having some impact.  If you’re like me, there are days when you really feel like you’re making a difference, and other days (maybe even seconds later on the same day), when you wonder if you’re just deluding yourself.  Is anything I’m writing really having an effect?  Is there anyone out there who feels challenged, uplifted, or entertained by the words I write?

If things don’t seem to be going well, it can certainly be an opportunity to consider whether you need to make some changes.  However, if we’re faithful to what God has called us to do, we have a guarantee.  Nothing we do in the Lord’s service is in vain.  I love the way Paul’s words to the Corinthian believers are translated in the Message Bible: ' ...don’t hold back.  Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort' (1 Cor. 15:58).  That doesn't mean that we run ourselves into the ground trying to wring the last second out of each day, but if God has directed us towards a task, we know that it's worthwhile.  The famous missionary and explorer David Livingstone reportedly had only one convert during his 32 years in Africa, yet he sowed the seeds for the hundreds of missionaries who came later.  What if he had given up after a year because he didn't feel he was making an impact?

I've also been thinking of the value of a blog like Christian Writers Downunder, so I thought I'd share some statistics with you.  Since it started in July 2011, there have been 324 blog posts by more than 50 different writers.  The site has had almost 140 000 page views.  All of the blog posts attract comments.  Most have at least 70 page views, with many in excess of 100.  Rose Dee's post 'Who needs Minions when you have perspective' received 633 views and Paula Vince's post that likened readers to pickled onions received 530.  Imagine what could have happened if they'd written about Minions who like pickled onions!

If you have 10 minutes spare sometime, browse through the archived posts on this blog site or look for particular authors and themes using the search function.  There's an amazing array of different topics and viewpoints.  Truly something for everyone.  Thanks to the internet, those posts are a lasting legacy that can be read again and again, reminding us of Jesus' words in John 15:16a: 'You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last' (NIV).

Please hear my heart.  I'm not mentioning the achievements of the group so that we can give ourselves a collective pat on the back.  Christian Writers Downunder is God's group first and foremost and we're just one of many Christian writers groups that are trying to make a difference (e.g., Omega Writers, Australasian Christian Writers and FaithWriters to name a few).  None of us is perfect and there are sometimes bumps along the way, but God can work through us to encourage each other, bless the wider community, and help advance His Kingdom.

Do you ever wonder if writing is worth it?  Commit it to God and you'll be amazed at what he can do with a heart submitted to Him.


Nola Passmore is a freelance writer who has had more than 100 short pieces published in various magazines, journals and anthologies (including poetry, devotions, magazine articles, true stories, and short fiction).  She and her husband Tim have just started their own freelance writing and editing business called The Write Flourish. She loves writing about what God has done in her life and encouraging others to do the same.  (Some call it 'nagging', but she calls it encouragement).

34 comments:

  1. A great post to start the week. Hooray for CWD and all the authors & readers.

    I'm continually reminded, Nola, that it's all about the journey. Sometimes when we're writing it can feel like we're wearing concrete boots (I'm feeling a bit like that at present) and other times we are flying along without a care as the words flow so easily. But it's in taking those continual steps of obedience that our heart is transformed and our writing improves.

    Best wishes for a great writing week, Nola.

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    1. Thanks Ian. That's a great thought that as we take continual steps of obedience, our heart and writing are transformed. It is very much a journey. Glad to be sharing it with so many in CWD.

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  2. With a big does of outside discouragement this weekend - this was the post I needed to read today. Thanks Nola - it is wonderful to be part of what God is doing in the Australian Christian writing community. I love you big vision and gentle encouragement.

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    1. Hi Jenny - Sorry to hear you had a discouraging weekend. You certainly encouraged me on Friday. It's great to know that God's in control and that we don't have to rely on our own strength. Your writing is a blessing to many. Let's change the world together, one step at a time :) Take care.

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  3. That is really encouraging. It does boost my spirits to find out that detail about David Livingstone. There are others, such as the prophet Jeremiah, who may also have felt he had reason to ask whether it was all worth it. So we are in good company when we ask the same, and this definitely encourages not to ask that question. There are far better ones we can ask ourselves, such as 'What should I work on next?'
    I've enjoyed reading these blogs posts for sure. I wonder whether this suggests that adding a little weirdness to a title (such as minions and pickled onions) does attract the curious. Human nature is a funny thing.

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    1. Hi Paula - That is a great question to ask. 'What should I work on next?' Your books have certainly been a blessing to many and I'm sure the new one will do just as well. Love to hear what your next project is? You certainly reeled us in with that title about the pickled onions, but it was the great content that kept us reading. Blessings.

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  4. Very timely 'nag' for me, given that I am inclined to look back with regret over the time and effort I've spent in the past on things (mostly 'ministry' related) that appeared to yield no discernible results. This inclination has been heating up lately, simmering away, eroding my confidence and conviction, as I launch myself into the great unknown of novel writing. Am I just wasting my time again on a project that has no guarantee of working out? Are there other things I should be spending my time doing instead? 'Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort' (1 Cor. 15:58). Thanks, Nola. I really needed to hear that word today.

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    1. Thanks for that encouragement Cathie. Lucky we're there to 'nag' each other. I often wonder what I'm doing writing a novel too, but God has given both of us the ideas, so he can help us finish what we've started. It takes the pressure off to know that we can just do our best and the results are in his hands. Looking forward to seeing that first draft of both our novels :)

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  5. Loved the bit about David L. I didn't know that! Thanks for the jolt Nola. It's even harder for writers who, like me, don't write devotionals to feel they are doing something worthwhile in God. I'm always reminding myself that my primary purpose in life is to 'love God and enjoy Him forever' and seeing He gifted me to write He must have had a purpose for it. I like to think He must enjoy the fact that I enjoy doing what He gifted me for! Blessings, Rhonda

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    1. Hi Rhonda - Yes God has certainly given you that gift for a purpose. There has been a bit of a debate on here from time to time about what constitutes a Christian writer. I think the general consensus has been that it's not necessarily Christian content, but a Christian worldview that informs our writing. If you're committing your writing to God and using the gifts He's given you, He can bless you and others through your writing. And I'm sure He enjoys that way you're using your gifts. Blessings.

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  6. Great post Nola. Thanks for that much needed dose of encouragement this morning. As far as writing goes - I am always encouraged because I do love doing it even if I am not sure if I am changing the world through it. I've just lost my job though - so my self esteem has taken a big battering in the past week. So your words really strengthened my spirit. Thanks so much. I know that anything offered to God is never in vain. And you re-iterated that. A collective pat on the back for CWD and all of us Christian writers. May we all be faithful to our calling. It is such a huge privilege to be part of God's kingdom through our creative callings isn't it?

    Loved the 2 pictures too especially your beautiful smiling face!

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    1. Hi Anusha - So sorry to hear you lost your job, but I'm sure God has big things in store for you. Maybe He was providing you with more time to write or He has another job tailor-made for you just on the horizon. I'm in awe or your consistency and dedication in your writing. It's been a blessing to many and will continue to be. It is a huge privilege to answer those creative callings. Take care

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  7. There's another story about a pastor who returned home after preaching one day, discouraged. "A whole year of preaching and only one convert and that was little David Livingstone."
    Yes, Nola, I write to make a difference and God has directed me to do that through fiction. No one is more surprised about it than I am! My favorite comment re my Bruised Bud book came from a new Christian, who told me that my book had taught her how to pray. Yet this is not a book on prayer!
    I love this blog and the voice it has given us, not only in blog, but also here in the comments. I've made many friends on this page and I thank you all, but especially, Lee, Dotti and Nola who have made it happen.

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    1. Thanks for that Jo. I really appreciate your encouragement, and that's a great story about the person who converted David Livingstone. I also love the story of Henrietta Mears. She was Sunday School teacher who put together a lot of Sunday School resources for different age groups back in the days when that just wasn't available. She spent many years running groups for college students and discipling people in her home. One of the people she discipled was Bill Bright who went on to start Campus Crusade for Christ, the world largest missionary organisation. She also helped a young Billy Graham when he was going through a dilemma about his future. Few people would know her name, but just think of the impact made by the two Bills! I've really loved your posts too Jo. They're always a word in season. May God continue to bless your writing and thanks to all those who've contributed to the blog over the years. It's been a great journey.

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  8. Well said Nola. I just have to get on top of that "wring the last second out of each day" bit though. Nice to see the blog being viewed so much.

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    1. Thanks Kayleen. It sounds like you're already wringing a lot out of each day with all those picture books and illustrations happening. I agree - it is good to see how much the blog is being used. Helps give me the jolt I need. Take care :)

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  9. That is so funny. Just goes to show how popular Minions are. LOL
    I often wonder if my work is making an impact. There are times I have been so discouraged. But then I remember that it is not for me to determine the impact of what I do. That is for the Lord to determine. It is for me to tap into His strength, and grace and keep on working.

    Thank you for this post, Nola. It is a great encouragement.

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    1. Thanks Rose. Maybe we can have a yearly competition for the most catchy blog title? I'm sure your books are doing well Rose, but it is great to remember that God's the one who determines the impact. Book sales don't tell us how many times the book was lent to a friend or borrowed from a library or how it actually changed someone's life. Sometimes a reader might write to you, but often not. God sees though and we just have to keep going in His strength and grace as you've said. Blessings.

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  10. Oh Nola what a GREAT post!
    Self doubt is a sneaky attacker!
    Your encouragement here on the CWD blog is invaluable.....hope it inspires us all the keep writing (even if our only audience is ourselves and God, still worth it) :-)
    Love your fresh honest writing style.....may you be spurred on by your own encouragement (and no drafts end up in the bin!)

    xxoo Di

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    1. ...and then you press 'publish' and realise you have typed in a wrong word (no wonder we need editors!)....'it inspires us all TO keep writing.....ARGH!!!! (as Charlie Brown would say!!)

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    2. Thanks for your encouragement Di. I really enjoyed reading your post the other day too. God's given us all such different talents, passions, perspectives and styles. It's great to see so much of that being used for His glory on this blog as well as in our other writing pursuits. May He continue to bless your writing too Di :)

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  11. I've enjoyed coming in late and reading all the comments after your post, Nola. Yes, nothing is wasted when it's an offering as unto the Lord. Isn't that great? Who knows who reads and are blessed by our words? We may discover this only when we get to heaven.

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  12. Thanks Rita and you're so right. I think we'll be amazed when we get to heaven and see the big picture. I'm sure we'd all be surprised to learn who'd been touched by our words. It's also a great reminder that it's God who is doing the work through us. Blessings.

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  13. Thanks Nola for the encouragement.

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  14. Thanks Susan. Appreciate your comment :)

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  15. Thanks Nola for your post. What I really like about reading these blogs is just knowing that there is a whole community of christian writers out there. We can all go along to our churches and fellowships and gain wonderful support. But christian writing support? Now that's a specialty. Thank you to all you bloggers for making it happen.

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  16. Thanks Susanne. It is great to have such a community of writers. Just finding out what everyone is doing can be a great inspiration to keep going. May God continue to bless your writing.

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  17. Love the sense of humour that shines through your writing, Nola, but also the really important serious points you make. Thanks for this encouraging blog--and may God encourage you too.

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    1. Thanks Jo. It's great that we can all encourage each other. Will have to think of a funny title for my next post :) God Bless.

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  18. Very much feeling 'is it worth it?' at present so good to read your post. Maybe just writing blogs enough?

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  19. H Dale - I think we all go through that "is it worth it" patch, but hang in there. I think if we keep plugging away faithfully, whether that's blogs, articles, books or whatever the Lord leads us to, we can trust Him with the results. Take care

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  20. Relevant then. Relevant now. John 15:16 is one of my life verses :).

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    1. Thanks for that Sue. I didn't know my blog was going to be featured today, and it's a good reminder to me too. Great life verse.

      Take care

      Nola

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  21. Thanks for bringing us back into the bigger picture, Nola, we all need renewed visions n.

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