I am so sick of fame and fortune. Sigh…
You may wonder what in the world I’m talking about since I’m not famous. Most likely you don’t know me. Not even everyone in my writing group, the Redbud Writers Guild, knows me. And as for fortune, I’m sure I would be considered fabulously wealthy if I lived in a remote corner of Liberia, but I live in the midwestern section of the United States. I just looked up what a middle class income is here and my income alone would put me firmly at poverty level, but if you add my missionary husband’s salary to it, we definitely qualify as middle class. However, most in the U.S. would not consider our combined income a fortune.
So, why am I sick of fame and fortune? Because I’m tired of how often it consumes my thought life. Over the last thirty years, I have daydreamed, prayed, wished, hoped, coveted, and craved being rich and famous. I’ve imagined that someday someone who actually has some power and influence will discover me and rocket me to the world’s attention. People will flock to my books to gain wisdom and encouragement for their lives, seeking my advice and hanging on my every word. This will lead to record book sales and I will have tons of money so that my missionary husband will no longer have to raise support. He will be able travel all over Africa, doing marvelous things while I stay home and rake in the big bucks.
You may have caught that this has been something I’ve thought about for thirty years. Thirty years! I’m nothing if not an optimist. But even my optimism suffered when I got a comment from someone who goes by Book Junkie on Amazon who said of one of my fictional books, Cherry Cobbler, “This has to be one of the worst books I have read in a long time … a great disappointment. I will not be purchasing more from this author and will be advising others the same.” Such comments tend to dampen my enthusiasm and make that dream of fame and fortune grow ever dimmer. (Thankfully, right before I got that review, a person named J. E. Orozco said of the same book, “The main character opens the story as a silly, nonsense-talking, manipulating husband-hunter. But you travel with her through a God-directed wisdom-building journey [both spiritual and geographical] that brings this uncommonly charming, well-written and believable narrative to a jump-up-and-cheer conclusion.” Phew!)
But whether reviews are good or bad, when I read things that Jesus said, such as, “the first shall be last and the last shall be first” or “how hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God,” I think, Dang it! Could it be that Jesus might have something better for me than fame and fortune? Could it be that he knows I will be richer and have more fulfillment by quietly following him than by being in a position that others would envy?
As I look over the last thirty years, I wonder if I would have been able to give enough time to my children and now my grandchildren if I’d had the fame I wanted. I think about how much I’ve enjoyed different jobs over the years and cherish the friendships I’ve made in those places that made me so much richer than all the bank accounts in the world. I consider the way we’ve had to trust God for finances and how that has stretched our faith far more than anything else ever has. And I think of all the simple pleasures I’ve learned to enjoy because my life has had to be more basic.
So overall, I’d rather trust God to use my words as he wishes, even if only a few ever read them. When I have that attitude, I can relax and enjoy my anonymity with great relish!