Wednesday, July 24, 2013

An Open Letter to Writers: Stop Apologizing!

What if John gave me a beautiful ring and I showed it to you one day over coffee?

“Robbie, it’s lovely.”

“Thank you. It’s not a huge diamond, but I like it.”

“It’s gorgeous.”

“It didn’t cost that much because we can’t afford a lot and John had to save for a while to buy it, but I like it.”

“Sounds like he really wanted you to have it.”

“Well, I guess so. It’s not like your ring. That’s huge. But I like mine.”

Did I honor John? Did I honor his gift?

Nope. I apologized for it.

The Spirit has convicted me lately that I do the same thing with a gift God has given me – writing. And I need to stop. The enemy keeps having victory and it’s got to end.

Indulge me in another metaphor. A baseball player wants to be the best and play in the major leagues. But his path includes Triple-A. Maybe he moves up from there, maybe he doesn’t. But he doesn’t apologize. Can you imagine an announcement at the beginning of a Triple-A game?

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are so sorry that this is not a major league game. Do the best you can to have fun.”


And yet…

When I self-published a book of Joyvotions called Joy Dance, I always included the words “self-published” when I talked about it. “This is my book Joy Dance, (and apologetically,) it’s self-published. I apologized for a gift. And writing and publishing that book was a GIFT. I’ve had many, many comments from folks who’ve read it and heard from the Lord through it. What a GIFT!

In September, my first novel will be published through a small print on demand publisher. This is a GIFT from God to me.

And yet, the enemy keeps trying to steal the joy of that gift by whispering lies:

It’s not a big company like Tyndale, Robbie, so it’s not that great.

Your book may never even make it to a traditional bookstore.

Other writers can get contracts with the big companies. You just aren’t good enough, Robbie.

ENOUGH!!! When I dwell on these lies, insecurity happens and the apologies come forth. The best way to fight the lies of the enemy is with God’s truth:

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

My gift is from HIM and it is a good gift!

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. Psalm 16:5-6

God establishes my boundaries and the path He has given me is delightful!

‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

God knows the future and He is ultimately in charge. If I truly believe in His Sovereignty, then I can trust Him every step of the way.

When I wrote this, I thought it was just for me. But then it occurred to me that all writers deal with the comparison trap. As do every one of us, writers or not. What is the gift God has given you? No matter what it is, a wonderful way to honor God is to be grateful for the gift.

Writers, let’s stop apologizing!

Whether you are published or not,

Whether you are self-published or traditionally published,

Whether you are working for a Triple-A company or a major league company,

Whether you have tons of sales or a pile of books in your garage,


Let’s use our words to glorify the gift giver, not apologize for the gift.

Those diamonds He’s put in your heart and mine are priceless.

Let’s rewind. I just showed you the ring John gave me.

“Robbie, it’s lovely.”

“Isn’t it? Thank you. John loves me so much and he gave this to me and I absolutely LOVE IT! So grateful for my husband and this ring.” 


miriam said...


I so needed to read this post, thank you for helping me see that I am apologizing, for my devotion published for the gift of a free book, not money, for considering self publishing my book and feeling less than a book contract, for not selling my greeting card ideas to a big pub house but self publishing them myself on my web. Each is good and yes, a gift from the Father. You are so funny, I love you!

Cheryl Barker said...

An important lesson for us all, Robbie. Thank you for sharing it!

Robbie Iobst said...

Miriam, thank you for your words. We all do this in some way. I am with you - let's stop apologizing!! :)

Robbie Iobst said...

Cheryl, thank you!! :) You inspire me in so many ways.

Aimee Haywood said...

Ugh! I do this too! Thank you for writing this. I needed to hear it. I'm joining you in ending this in my life too. Love you lady!

Aimee Haywood said...

Ugh! I do this too! Thank you for writing this. I needed to hear it. I'm joining you in ending this in my life too. Love you lady!

Robbie Iobst said...

Go Aimee Go!! I am with you!