I’ve been having a dilemma lately. Well, for a couple of years, if I can be honest.
No, I’m not having a crisis of faith. If anything, I’m more concerned with being faithful, but as I read the Bible and desire to follow God’s plan for my life I end up more confused and floundering.
Here’s the latest dilemma: for a couple of years I’ve wanted to stop writing about Christian music. I’ve been feeling uninspired, unmotivated and frankly unpassionate about the topic. (For those of you who don’t know, I have been covering Christian music at Beliefnet.com for a couple of years, in addition to a column that runs in several newspapers and countless magazine articles. The Beliefnet blog won a 2009 EPA award from the Evangelical Press Association for best blog.)
I continue, however, to love the relationships I have with people in Christian music – artists, publicists, other writers.
But I simply became overwhelmed with the avalanche of projects that cross my desk every week and quite frankly jaded with the commercialism of an industry that basically makes its money from God’s word.
Christian music has a place, certainly, but when you deal with it day in and day out it becomes very weary.
Every time I decide to take a break, though, something happens that I interpret as God telling me to continue what I’m doing. Another writing opportunity, a paying gig, something I never pursued but has landed right in my lap. I end up feeling horribly disrespectful for not having put more effort into the work, even if I hate it, because I guess I feel like if God gave me the work I should buck up and change my attitude.
So I take a deep breath and forge ahead, renewed for a few months before the weariness sets in. Again.
And that’s where I find myself, for maybe the 100th time in the last five years.
I have some regular paying gigs that are Christian-music related, and frankly are the sole source of the meager income I make as a writer. But I don’t feel like I’m doing myself or the publications any justice by doing the work half-heartedly.
So this week I decided that at the end of my contract with Beliefnet, I would take a break. (No matter what I’ve written about Christian music over the years, what generated the most readers were posts about Katy Perry and season 9 of American Idol. Really, how long can you ride those coattails?) Understand that I LOVE writing for Beliefnet, but recently the company was sold, my editor has left for another job, and I kind of feel like maybe it’s a sign to go.
I figured I’d stop my music column that runs in newspapers at the same time and focus some energies on my latest passion: dog writing.
And then … it happened again.
Within hours, I got a call from a newspaper that wants to run my column in their newspaper. A magazine has approached me about writing some music articles, and another paper needs a music article asap.
My first thought was … UGH!!!
Ugh, because I never know how to interpret this stuff. Is Got telling me to keep writing about music and stop being a whiner? Is God testing me to see if I’ll let go even though I’m being offered money – which we need – to step into the unknown (and as yet, unpaying) to see what he has for me next?
Do I just overanalyze everything?
And then I remember that the things that Jesus taught us were to love God with all of our hearts, minds and souls, and to love others as ourselves. Not love Christian music or paychecks or jobs. Love God and his desire for the world – a desire that all might know Christ.
I don’t think that God puts us into a box occupation-wise. I think he can accomplish his goals wherever he has me working. And I think he knows my desire to follow his will.
So that’s where I am right now. Take a break from covering Christian music – which, if I’m being honest, I’ve kind of done in a way already, because I’m doing it without any heart – or change my attitude. Keep making my few hundred dollars a month and take on new work, or step into the empty wallet and see what else God might have.
I think what I know I can’t do anymore is sit here and debate it.