Last weekend, one of the world’s greatest tennis players, Novak Djokovic, won his 23rd major grand slam single’s title—the most for any male tennis player ever. Such an achievement requires incredible sacrifice, pain, and hard work. And a large measure of self-belief. And a whole lot of talking about oneself.
As I watched this feat, I wondered, “When does the self-confidence needed to accomplish great things turn the corner into self-promotion?” My thoughts went this way because I recently co-wrote a book. And I am proud of a job well done. I’m celebrating that achievement. And I’m telling others because, well, I believe the message is worth sharing. After all, why write the book?
But I’m not sure how much to talk about it? How much to celebrate? How do I take credit for my words without sounding prideful? How do I know if I’ve crossed the line?
I have no definitive answers but these principles have guided me so far:
My ability comes from God. He created the talents I have, enabled me to write, and gave me ideas and stories to tell. He fashioned me to do something good. I recognize and remember that I am only able to publish this book because of him. For that I am grateful. (Eph 2:10)
I utilize my God-given talents. I cultivate my abilities, practice them, and use them for the benefit of others. I feel satisfied that I have helped produce an essential tool. I celebrate stepping up to the task rather than waiting for someone else to do it. (1 Cor 12:7)
I check (and recheck) my motives. Any additional income from this venture will be minimal so financial gain isn’t my motive. I’d prefer to not attract attention so I’m not pursuing fame. My motive is my belief that the message of our book needs to be told. (1 Cor 3:13)
I need the help and support of others. This venture would not have been possible without the invitation of my co-author, her expertise, and her stories. The book would not be clear and concise without editors and peer readers, publishers, and reviewers. And of course, unless people purchase it, it’s message goes nowhere. I cannot do this alone, therefore I share the credit. (Prov 15:22)
I pursue opportunities to share. Since I like utilizing social media platforms to advertise, I do. When I’m asked to speak about the book, I oblige. I do as much as I can with what is available to me and follow where invitations take me. (Eph 5:16–17)
I allow God to guide the results. I have no control over who picks up, purchases, or finds their way to the book. I don’t know what part of it will resonate with them. I will never know how it might encourage or strengthen a reader. God alone can guide this process. (1 Cor 3:6)
In sum, I exercise my gifts by co-writing a book, I send it into the world in the best form I know how, and now I trust that God will take it and use it to build his kingdom.
What talent might God want you to exercise for his kingdom? How might you tell others about it? Who might help you? Can you trust God with the results?