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In which I think we should do it anyway

Why bother writing a book? Why does any one need another book? The world is full of books. There have been too many books, most of them never should have been published. Everything has been said already. And why does the world need another painting, another necklace, another song, another band, another blog or a poem or a cookbook, another work of art, a painting, a sculpture? There is enough of it all to satisfy anyone.

The world doesn’t need another artist or even another doctor or teacher, surely there are enough by now. Newspapers, pieces of furniture, it all ends up in the trash soon, the bargain bin, forgotten. Why does the world need another church service, another church plant, another prayer meeting, another intentional community of believers? Why bother praying? Why bother fasting? Why bother sitting in silence and waiting, why bother making meals or cleaning your house, why bother reading? Gracious, giving money away is useless, what difference does sending $35 a month in child sponsorship gigs really make for the big picture anyway, sure maybe one kid, but what’s one kid in a world?

Besides does anyone need another kid? the world is full, there are too many of us, and kids, man, they are expensive, they use up precious resources. We don’t exactly need more families, surely what we have is sufficient, why bother with communities and neighbourhoods? Why bother creating, why bother making, why bother working? Vanity, vanity, all is vanity, surely this is true.

Do it anyway.

Bother.

Bother them all by creating, by making, by building, by loving, by writing, by having babies, by doing the daily work of life with joy.

Baffle them with your ferocious gentleness, with your life-giving, with your prayer, and your wonder. The world does not have enough because your part isn’t here yet, and if anything matters, everything matters, you matter, your $35 a month to a kid in Sri Lanka matters, your book, your song, your art, your family, your faith, your hunger for justice, your hands, your feet, your mind, your life, matters.

Ireneus wrote that the glory of God is man fully alive, and we all need you to be fully alive for your life. It will matter in the world, more than you can imagine or dream perhaps, a ripple effect going on and on, touching the other shore, but it will also matter because you matter.

So stop asking whether or not anyone wants it or needs it, and simply do it because you were made to do it, because it makes you fully alive to do it, because you are working out what God has already worked in, because it matters.

Sometimes I write to my own self.

 

art, faith, fearless
  • http://www.anamcara.com/ Tara M. Owens

    Amen. Amen. And amen.

    You write to your own self, but you write to me, too, sister.

    Thank you.

    I’m bookmarking this and reading it often.

    Love,
    Tara

  • http://www.inamirrordimly.com Ed_Cyzewski

    Perfect words. Yes, we need to embrace our callings, our gifts. And if we really work at them and practice, practice, practice, we may create something that endures and nourishes the next group of artists who come along. We don’t just need more writers, artists, etc., we need excellent writers and artists. Who doesn’t crave another excellent book? THAT is what gets me out of bed in the morning and pushes me to keep at it, even if it takes me my entire life to figure a mere piece of what it means to write a good book.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jackandellasmum karen huber

    I’m ashamed to say I have asked myself these very questions. Brilliant, beautiful & timely… sometimes, mostly, I write to my own self, too. Thank you, Sarah.

  • http://twitter.com/jadabswanson Jada Swanson

    So needed to read this today, especially these words:

    “So stop asking whether or not anyone wants it or needs it, and simply do it because you were made to do it, because it makes you fully alive to do it, because you are working out what God has already worked in, because it matters.”

  • http://twitter.com/graceappears Elizabeth Marshall

    Oh Sara, this is so lovely and encouraging. How beautifully written. Here I go to read it again, there is much to ponder and so much to inspire in your words. Grateful that you shared your gift today with the world, but especially with me. :)

  • http://www.carisadel.com/ Caris Adel

    This is such an inspiring reminder to keep on keeping on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/arianne Arianne Segerman

    Clearly you have been in my brain lately. <3

  • Marilyn

    Yes, write because you were made to write.

    But, also write because the Christian world needs your story. Bookshelves are groaning with egalitarian critiques of complementarian stories. What’s missing is egalitarians who are willing to tell a better story. Here on this blog, you do exactly that, with beauty and grace. And, your story reflects complementarity without hierarchy. We need your story.

  • http://www.facebook.com/SarahDunningPark Sarah Dunning Park

    Yes!! That last paragraph… I needed that, too. Thank you, Sarah.

  • http://www.idelette.com idelette

    Oy-yoy-yoy … I love this: “So stop asking whether or not anyone wants it or needs it, and simply do it because you were made to do it, because it makes you fully alive to do it, because you are working out what God has already worked in, because it matters.”

  • http://www.fromtwotoone.com/ from two to one

    Thank you for this well-timed reminder, Sarah. I’ve found it increasing hard to write for myself and writing for others, even though I have enjoyed building a community and a discussion around questions and mysteries and wonders and the Hard Stuff.

  • http://www.kellysauer.com/ Kelly Sauer

    “Baffle them with your ferocious gentleness, with your life-giving, with your prayer, and your wonder.”

    This line just brought me to tears, Sarah. Oh. My. Word.

  • Emily Wierenga

    oh girl, how you minister to the world.

  • http://twitter.com/trishly Trish Lynch

    Oh, wow. Such true, beautiful words. Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/VelveteenMind Megan Jordan

    How many ways can I share this post? Oh my. (found you through Arianne “To Think” and I’ll have to remember to thank her… and you)

  • Linda Stoll

    Yes. The best writing is when we write to ourselves. Putting pen to paper validates, seals the deal, makes us accountable, and gives wings to what we know God is speaking deep into our spirits.

  • http://www.leannepenny.com Leanne Penny

    Yes, Yes, Yes. Nothing Fancy, Just Yes… Like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally Yes. (but less awkward)

  • Cindy C.

    Beautifully said! I’m working on it. :)

  • Chrissy

    I am going to print this out and hang it in my studio, paste it on the dashboard of my car, stencil it on my windows, stitch it into quilts, laminate it and hang it in my shower. Oh. My. I need this words. Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/thejona Jona

    Sarah,

    Thanks for this post. I was having similar thoughts this morning. I’m undergoing a transition where I used to think those thoughts, the “why bother” thoughts but then I realized that thought-pattern is really just a creativity killer; it’s like telling humans they aren’t allowed to create, build, re-think, re-invent, or improve anything because they were born too late.

    And when did God say we couldn’t anymore? I used to wonder why there were so many books on the same topic, but now I celebrate it; I figure it’s evidence that there are individuals constantly asking themselves the questions, wrestling with them, and wanting to add their voice to the many.

    I find myself unable to deeply articulate the chord your article struck, but for all it’s worth, it resonates with me and, thanks again.

    From a fellow Canadian in Texas,

    Jona

  • Janet Hanson

    Oh my, this alone was worth getting on the computer for. You must have read my mind. Thank you!

  • http://www.leighkramer.com/ HopefulLeigh

    Good God, Sarah. I might need to print this out and keep it next to my laptop the next few weeks.

  • http://twitter.com/OdysseyMamaC Camille

    It’s been a rough week when I’ve had to struggle with those heavy feelings of not mattering and “why bother?” Thanks for reminding me. Blessings to you.

  • http://somuchshoutingsomuchlaughter.com/ suzannah | the smitten word

    mmhmm. this is beauty indeed.

  • Jessica Stock

    Love, love this! Thank-you, I am printing this out right now.

  • http://annieathome.com Annie | annieathome.com

    Thank you for this, Sarah. I have and do wrestle with this, too. I’ve found that as I begin to embrace the value of the art welling up in me, I often face this conundrum, where I feel I need to center in on one thing, and do it well (ahem… perfectly), for the sake of fully living. The question at the end of Mary Oliver’s Summer Day, her resounding “What will you do with this one wild and precious life?” becomes a pressure cooker rather than an invitation. I’m slowly learning that painting and writing and mothering are all slices of this life fully alive, as well as laundry and friendship and service… there is art and living to be done everywhere, an ebb and flow to it all. This reminder was well timed for me. Thanks.

  • Jennifer

    This: “because you are working out what God has already worked in,” – so what I needed to hear today.

  • http://corvidarium.blogspot.com/ wendy

    Ummm… I think you just kicked my butt. Thanks for that!

  • Lora Lynn

    Oooooo, this is good stuff.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=550318280 Katherine Willis Pershey

    I think I love you.

  • http://www.rebekahruthbooks.com/ Rebekah Ruth

    Amazing how I can preach this exact message and then turn around and need the reminder from you. Awesome post. Amen :)

  • http://www.tanyamarlow.com/ Tanya Marlow

    Thank you – I needed to hear this. I needed to know that it’s okay to add my voice to the panoloply of competing voices because I have something to say. I needed the reminder to not ‘grow weary of doing good’ (Gal 6:9). Thank you.
    p.s. really looking forward to your book – your words, your voice, on this important issue.

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  • Wendy

    Sometimes you are writing directly to me saying exactly what I needed to hear in that moment. Thank you for your constant encouragement. I so appreciate you and your words. Blessings.

  • Marina Lehman

    It seems a little redundant to add one more voice to the chorus saying “thank you for writing this”, but I’m going to do it anyway. :) Thank you. This was one more lovely gentle nudge along the path that I’ve been seeing appearing under my feet, day by day.

  • K Kragen

    Sarah,
    Philosophy of art at it’s most profound from a delightful clear-headed human from the northlands.
    Thank you for taking the time to post these thoughts.

  • http://www.facebook.com/danelle.l.townsend Danelle Landry Townsend

    And probably the world doesn’t need another comment? :) However, this was such a beautiful post for me to read as I walk through the “why bother?” and the “is it vanity?”.
    Thank you for answering the questions of my heart with your beautiful prose.

  • Kristin

    you are never just writing to your own self. Always to me. Always. I am so restless in my spirit right now; trying to figure out the ‘more’ that I was made for. This encourages me…my ‘more’ matters…whatever it is. I’ll keep trying to figure it out.

  • http://www.seeprestonblog.com Preston Yancey

    Sing, friend. Keep right on singing.

  • http://twitter.com/deborahbeddoe Deborah Beddoe

    Thank you, Sarah.

  • http://www.nadinewouldsay.com/ Nadine S.

    This is so encouraging.

  • Monique Christiane

    Another thank you. EXACTLY what I needed to hear. And thank you for the reminder of Ireneus’ words. I love them. They remind me of my favorite quote in life by Gil Bailie: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

  • http://www.adamshome.blogspot.com Erin Adams

    Oh Amen!! Amen, Sarah!
    You know the Mother Teresa quote about do it anyway, surely?
    I love that – God is glorified in man being fully alive. Praise Him!

  • Forever YoungWard

    Have you read “Matched” by Ally Condie? I love the ideas she writes about in terms of “too much” art…it’s worth picking up if you like adolescent lit:) Thanks for another lovely post!

  • http://www.tammygrrrl.com/ Tammy Perlmutter

    I love this. And needed it soooo badly today. Thanks! I especially love the last paragraph: “So stop asking whether or not anyone wants it or needs it, and simply do
    it because you were made to do it, because it makes you fully alive to
    do it, because you are working out what God has already worked in,
    because it matters.” I’m going to DO IT!

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  • http://twitter.com/LeahColbeck Leah Colbeck

    Love, like always. Yes it does matter – thank you for the sermon.

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  • Handsfull

    Oh my goodness!
    I can’t believe I’ve just found ANOTHER weight! I’ve got this set of scales in my head at the moment, on the issue of ‘to write or not to write’ and I keep finding weights that plop themselves down on the ‘for goodness sake, will you just get on with it and write’ side – this post is the second one in the last 30 minutes.
    Maybe I should just do it :)

  • http://twitter.com/kt_writes Kristin T.

    I’m so glad you write for yourself, sometimes, so we can all benefit. :)

    I LOVE this, and how it feeds into what I’ve been writing about over at RELEVANT about discovering who God created each of us to be:

    “So stop asking whether or not anyone wants it or needs it, and simply do
    it because you were made to do it, because it makes you fully alive to
    do it, because you are working out what God has already worked in,
    because it matters.”

  • Patti

    Thank You Sarah!

  • http://thepaperskies.com David Helms

    Very Ecclesiastical. There’s an old hardcore punk song (fitting genre, right?) where the singer screams, his voice dripping with passion “I know It’s all been done before, I want to do it again, I want to do it again!”

    This is truth.

  • Kathy Harter

    Wow. I really needed to hear that today…. been feeling like this the past few days. Thank You.

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  • Cari

    Thanks. Your post mattered very much to me and inspired my own moment of “doing it anyway.” I really apprecaite your insight.
    http://sailorshousewife.blogspot.com/2012/09/im-doing-it-anyway.html

  • Diane Peterson

    So so good. I just did this and hadn’t even read your blog. So encouraging. Yay.

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  • http://twitter.com/life_edited Amanda Williams

    Read this for the first time today, and holy moly did I need to. Thank you, Sarah.

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