Monday, 23 May 2016

Addicted to Approval? Writing with Purpose ... On Purpose.

by Josephine-Anne Griffiths

"The fear of man brings a snare,
But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe." ~ Proverbs 29:25

Have you ever questioned what your life’s purpose really is? I know I have.
What motivates me to write? What motivates others to sing or play an instrument?
What makes it worthwhile for each of us to awaken each morning, and do whatever we do over again? Maybe you are an accountant, or drive a truck – or you are a nurse or a teacher. Maybe you are the quiet, shy child at the back of the room, that no one has noticed yet. I am hoping that by telling you why I write and what motivates me, that perhaps you may start thinking about why you do what you do each day, why it is so important to you, and what makes it so motivating and relevant?

As a younger person … a much younger person, I just wanted to make everyone happy. I desperately wanted and thought I needed the approval of everyone around me. It is, of course, a very human trait to crave that approval. We want our parents to approve of us, our friends at school. As we grow older we begin to realise that there are just so many people in the world, that it would be impossible to gain this close kinship with everybody. Why? Because God created each of us uniquely.

When I was first thinking about this post and preparing for it, I thought of calling it “Praying, Living, and Writing On Purpose”, and that is all very well, but we need to also think about doing things ‘with purpose’.  I have loved reading and writing ever since I can remember, however, I never considered it as having a purpose. After school, I went to college and learnt shorthand and touch typing on an incredibly annoying, clunky and old, manual typewriter.  I am sure many in my age group would have done a similar thing. The truth is, I always wanted to do a university degree in communication … that was it.  Nothing else interested me. Well as there were one-hundred and twenty places at the Institute of Technology, and over two thousand applicants, you guessed it – I became an office worker. No, there was no fancy title … just an officer worker.

One day I thought ‘why don’t I study accounting?’.  From that day on it would seem that I had sealed my fate. Not only would I be an office worker, but I would also be an accounts clerk. Now don’t get me wrong, I wasn't too bad at my job, and never found it a problem to learn new systems, time management, and so on.  But the problem was, that I was doing what I thought was responsible. What would bring in an immediate dollar reward.  My job/s served me well, but there was always this constant yearning to do something else with my life.

As a youngster, I was the quiet, shy child down the back of the room. There were times when I would be in trouble for talking to others at the back of the room, but you can be certain that the stories that I had to tell were awe inspiring. Then there were the other times (most of the time) when I would just sit quietly and daydream. That’s when I had my best ideas. Ideas that just had to be either told or written down.

A wise man once said “find something that you love to do and do it every day. 
This way, you will never have to work a day in your life”.  

And another quote I have always loved is this:
“The most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why”
~ Mark Twain.

We are all given gifts and talents when we are born, even before we are born. We each have a destiny, but for some of us, it takes a while to realise what the heck we are meant to be doing, and how best to go about it. These days I am a writer, plain and simple … I write (and read of course).
Do I write for the money? Definitely not! The world is run by the dollar, but if I wrote for money I would consider myself to be very poor indeed. Is it recognition then? We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t want to be recognised – I wouldn’t mind publishing a book or two … or three. But I have come to realise that recognition in a human sense, isn’t really that important. Yes, it might pay some bills, but at the end of the day, if I don’t have a passion for what I do, then I won’t be able to tell the true story. As with most things in life, what we put absolutely first on our ‘to-do’ list or list of importance, is what everything else will be based upon.

“for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” ~ John 12:43 NKJV

Whether we are Christian writers or any other kind of writer, let us all remember that the purpose of our writing is to tell a story, to get a point across, hopefully in a respectful manner. If our story isn’t getting out there, if people aren’t inspired in some way, then no amount of money or accolades can compensate for the real loss we must feel. And probably if we haven’t inspired anyone, then the money won’t be coming anyway.

Can we be published writers/authors and still share our heart and soul with the world?
I say a resounding ‘yes’!  Jesus wants the talents that His and our Father gave us, to be put to good use. If I ever had to make a decision to publish by telling the wrong story, or a story that came from my heart, but got changed so as to be more acceptable to the public, I wouldn’t see being published as very important at all. As a writer, and a Christian writer to boot - I see my purpose is to spread God’s love to everyone I come into contact with, whether in person or online in cyberspace.

So, what must I do to ensure that my writing can influence people in a positive way?
1.      Pray about it before picking up the pen.
2.      Believe and trust in my ability, which was, after all, a gift from the Father.
3.      Try to always be as consistent as possible. Don’t be swayed by worldly opinions.
4.      I must always be sincere in my efforts (not everyone will or must like me – there
will be haters, and that’s okay).

When God-willing I leave this earth, and my creator asks me ‘What have you shown Me during your life’? (taken from “Imagine Heaven” by John Burke). How have you used the gifts which were given to you? How have you thanked God for saving you? I would like to be able to say ‘Lord I tried my very best, I have made so many mistakes along the way, but in the end I loved people, and I tried really hard to love them as much as You love me.

If this earthly life is merely a preparation for our eternal life to come, good or bad, is there any point to our persistent writing at all? Again I say ‘yes’!
We are not here to please ourselves or to entertain ourselves. We are here to please God whether writing, singing, balancing the books, helping the sick, raising children, loving our spouse, weeding the garden … or anything else for that matter. Life is only as complicated as we make it. So let’s just do everything that we do each day, with love. For myself, I shall just do my very best to write with a strong conviction and belief, that God’s love is all that matters at the end of any day.

I would love for you to comment below and share some thoughts.

Josephine-Anne Griffiths previously worked in the field of finance and administration. Once early retirement became necessary, and having always been an avid reader and passionate writer, the next step became logical. She is currently working on a fictional memoir Charlie Dreams and a small book of inspirations, yet to be given a title. She has tried her hand at short story writing and more recently poetry, in addition to inspirational, narrative non-fiction. Josephine-Anne, fondly known as Jo’Anne, is married to Leon. They have six children and six grandchildren between them. You will find Jo’Anne either lost within a book, behind her keyboard or in her garden day-dreaming.

You are also welcome to contact Jo’Anne via the following links:





  1. What a delightfully uplifting AND challenging post. Thanks for sharing your heart, Jo!

    1. Thank you Rita - this is something that's been on my mind for a while now, but especially lately. God bless :-)

  2. Thanks Jo'Anne for sharing from your heart. I could identify well with a lot of what you said. I've been there too. Although my favourite subject in school was English, it was the done thing in my day to choose science for higher studies. So I did. Silly me. I became a Computer Programmer - loved it! Became a full time Mum - loved it. Became a volunteer - loved it. Became a charity director - loved it. But oh the joy of finally discovering my life's purpose. God called me to write 9 years ago. As you pointed out the financial gain is minute. But the fulfillment is a amazing. It's great to have a life's purpose isn't it?

    I loved the quotes you shared and the pictures. Thank you for your inspiration dear Jo'Anne! :) Every blessing on your writing journey and may you keep reaching the heights!

    1. Awww - thank you so much Anusha. I can see the similarity between our journies. Yes, I believe I have found my life's purpose, and it IS amazing!
      God bless you too on your journey.

  3. Hi Jo'Anne,
    Wow, there are such a lot of thought nuggets in this post. It's so easy to get overwhelmed and mixed up when we try to cram financial considerations, pleasing others and calling yearnings all into the same life plan. Good on you for recognising and pursuing the writing path. We all know that's not one that usually gets nods of approval when we try to please others :)
    For my own part, I quit a teaching degree early in my marriage, to focus on writing and homeschooling. Financially, it was a terrible decision, especially when my husband quit his job to become a student, but we've managed to keep our heads above water and feel they were the right decisions (even though others thought we were crazy). In the end, life whizzes past so fast, and money and nods of approval are measley rewards for hard work which isn't the right fit.

    1. Wow Paula! I think you and your husband have done splendidly. What a brave move to do the things, and make the changes you did. I must admit that some of the best decisions that I have made in my life, have been made when others don't approve. Occasionally I wonder how my life would have been if I had done a few things differently, but then I remember that the past cannot be changed, and move on.

  4. Loved reading this post Jo'Anne and agree with the comments above. Life is definitely only as complicated as we make it - I've mostly lived by - if it's not going to cause a world war then I'm not going to worry about it. Worry doesn't solve anything and the Bible tells us not to be anxious about anything. I, too, want to be able to face Jesus when my time comes and be able to say that I did my best with what was given to me to steward on this earth. Although it is hard sometimes to love some people we must always remember that we are not travelling their journey and even 'sandpaper people' need respect and the love of Jesus shown to them. So when we know that God's love is all that really matters, everything else will hopefully flow from that. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and be blessed in everything you do.

    1. Hi Lesley, Thank you for reading my post - what a sincere and practical comment. Yes, my Mum always says that if worry will fix anything, then worry my heart out, if not then just get on with things. God bless.

  5. Love your passion Jo'Anne & a great reminder. It can be a fine balance sometimes between being open enough to learn form others & to improve our craft but to also stay true to the vision and passion that God has given us.

  6. Thank you Jenny. I am still working on that fine balance, quite tricky at times. I have to keep reminding myself that one day, nothing that happened on this earth is really going to matter that much. And in another hundred years or so, no one hear on earth will remember me - but hopefully in the next life, I shall have a lot of people who remember me, even people who I haven't met yet :-)

  7. This is an amazing post, Jo'Anne! So much to think about. (I will reflect on this for a few days!)

    1. Thank you Pam for reading my post. I am so sorry that it has taken me this long to see your comment. I have been a wee bit MIA this past six weeks or so. I am glad you liked it. There is always so much to think about, but I find that when I remember to put things back into God's hands, my is much less scrambled :-)

  8. Sorry I'm late... I am with Paula, so many thought nuggets. Thank you. I found your openness and honesty refreshing - and I wasn't too fond of those clunky old typewriters either :)

    1. Thank you so much Margaret for reading and responding to my post. Haha! And you thought you were late! I am so late it is just embarrassing. I've MIA for nearly two months now, but hopefully this will see my return to normal everyday life ... whatever that is :-) Once again, sorry for this late reply - I'm not normally THIS bad.