My answer is a resounding, “Yes!” if that is where God has placed you.
I’ve been reflecting lately on the joy and freedom of living a small life. A quiet, simple life. It is so contrary to everything around us. Our culture both in and out of the church is all about doing more, networking more, increasing your visibility, influencing more people, and even strategically branding yourself to increase your visibility and credibility.
Can I just say that I find the idea of branding myself repulsive?
I’ve been thinking about the many believers who have gone before and lived quiet lives. They have quietly loved their families and neighbors. They have quietly crocheted a scarf for a friend or made a supper for a neighbor. They have faithfully prayed for the small circle of people in their lives. They never wrote a book, never spoke at a church, never traveled to a conference, never Tweeted their every thought.
They just quietly and simply influenced those around them and then passed on into eternity where they met Jesus.
I’ve also been pondering the freedom that comes with being a nobody, out of the glare of the spotlight. I recently read an exchange between some women on a discussion board. They were discussing a woman who has hit the “bigtime.” She started out with a simple but engaging blog, developed a large following, and then hit the bigtime. (I’m purposely being vague.) The universal feeling among the women who were discussing this is that they all missed what it was before the woman went “big.” They missed when it was simple, personal and heartfelt rather than becoming a business. The woman still writes in a way that is “personal” but it is a “personal” persona now as a marketing tactic, not an authentic personal interaction with those who read her site. Many of them had stopped reading altogether since it no longer had the personal warmth it had in the past.
It was interesting to read the perspective of those who had followed and then lost interest because of the change of focus. While the woman has hit the big time and is most certainly reaping certain rewards for that success, I wonder if she herself misses what she has lost? Is becoming her own “brand” so to speak really satisfying? What has she had to sacrifice (in a bad way) in order the achieve what she has? What have those around her had to sacrifice because of the level of “success” she has achieved.
Today as I sat homeschooling Caroline and watched her eagerly dive into her craft materials I reflected on how I truly am blessed with my quiet and simple life. From the outside it is a small life. I don’t travel the speaking circuit, I don’t have a book deal from a major publisher, and no one calls me for a sound bite. But, oh, the freedom I have to enjoy my quiet and simple life. The freedom to be myself and not have to meet the expectations of others. The freedom to be open and honest about who I am and what I think and believe without fear of offending a vast segment of followers and suffering the resulting financial backlash.
How much stronger would our families, churches, towns and country be if we were all more enamored with the people in our little sphere of influence instead of the world at large? How much better off would we be if instead of worrying about working social networking to promote our brand we took muffins to the new family on the street and invited another family over to share a pot of chili? How much happier would families be if people pursued a quiet and simple family life with the same fervor that they pursue an elusive dream of making the bigtime and being someone important?
Is there anything wrong with hitting the “bigtime?” No, not if that is where God leads. And yet I wonder how many people trade the beauty of a quiet and simple life with the restless and ultimately fruitless pursuit of “being somebody” instead of simply being everything to those closest to them.