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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

62 Responses to In which I think we should do it anyway

  1. Tara M. Owens July 30, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    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

  2. Ed_Cyzewski July 30, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    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.

  3. karen huber July 30, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    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.

  4. Jada Swanson July 30, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    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.”

  5. Elizabeth Marshall July 30, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    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. :)

  6. Caris Adel July 30, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

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

  7. Arianne Segerman July 30, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    Clearly you have been in my brain lately. <3

  8. Marilyn July 30, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

    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.

  9. Sarah Dunning Park July 30, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

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

  10. idelette July 30, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

    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.”

  11. from two to one July 30, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    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.

  12. Kelly Sauer July 30, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    “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.

  13. Emily Wierenga July 30, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

    oh girl, how you minister to the world.

  14. Trish Lynch July 30, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

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

  15. Megan Jordan July 30, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

    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)

  16. Linda Stoll July 30, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    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.

  17. Leanne Penny July 30, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

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

  18. Cindy C. July 30, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

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

  19. Chrissy July 30, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

    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.

  20. Jona July 30, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    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

  21. Janet Hanson July 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

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

  22. HopefulLeigh July 30, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

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

  23. Camille July 30, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

    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.

  24. suzannah | the smitten word July 30, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

    mmhmm. this is beauty indeed.

  25. Jessica Stock July 30, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

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

  26. Annie | annieathome.com July 30, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    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.

  27. Jennifer July 30, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

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

  28. wendy July 30, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

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

  29. Lora Lynn July 30, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

    Oooooo, this is good stuff.

  30. Katherine Willis Pershey July 30, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

    I think I love you.

  31. Rebekah Ruth July 30, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

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

  32. Tanya Marlow July 31, 2012 at 6:24 am #

    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.

  33. Wendy July 31, 2012 at 6:50 am #

    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.

  34. Marina Lehman July 31, 2012 at 9:29 am #

    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.

  35. K Kragen July 31, 2012 at 9:36 am #

    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.

  36. Danelle Landry Townsend July 31, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    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.

  37. Kristin July 31, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    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.

  38. Preston Yancey July 31, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

    Sing, friend. Keep right on singing.

  39. Deborah Beddoe July 31, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    Thank you, Sarah.

  40. Nadine S. July 31, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

    This is so encouraging.

  41. Monique Christiane August 1, 2012 at 10:33 am #

    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.”

  42. Erin Adams August 1, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    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!

  43. Forever YoungWard August 1, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    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!

  44. Tammy Perlmutter August 1, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    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!

  45. Leah Colbeck August 2, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

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

  46. Handsfull August 5, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

    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 :)

  47. Kristin T. August 6, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

    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.”

  48. Patti August 7, 2012 at 7:02 am #

    Thank You Sarah!

  49. David Helms August 7, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    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.

  50. Kathy Harter August 9, 2012 at 8:02 am #

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

  51. Cari September 18, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

    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

  52. Diane Peterson January 3, 2013 at 8:41 pm #

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

  53. Amanda Williams April 14, 2013 at 7:31 pm #

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

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