“to give hope”

Being self-employed can be discouraging.

As most of you probably know, I work part-time from home writing, editing, producing audiobooks, as well as doing other writing-related things like blogging, podcasting, marketing, etc. I love it–working with stories, sharing my work, getting to be home most of the time. It’s what I want in life. But it can still get lonely. It’s really, really easy to doubt yourself. Am I doing a good enough job? Am I even doing the things that I should be doing? Is any of this really worth it?

Doing my tax return for the first time this year (my dad always handled all that before) didn’t help. It showed me just how little money I make, not to mention just how complicated self-employment can make the whole tax process.

And while I have no intention of stopping either my writing or my working from home, it did make me stop and think. Which parts of what I do are really worth it? Am I really using my time in the best way? Am I making a difference?

All this spurred many conversations with my husband on the subject. One in particular had me sitting my pregnant self on the floor against the wall next to the kitchen while he washed the dishes I was just too tired to master.

We talked about how I might rethink what I’m doing to make it work better for me–to help me not feel like I’m running around more than ever while getting less done than ever. We discussed how I can best arrange my work to suit living the life God has called me to, serving the passions He has put in my heart.

But one particular thing that my husband said stood out. He said, “You know, I think the best thing you do is your blog.”

Astounded at this piece of information, I inquired further.

“I love all your writing,” he explained, though he isn’t a science-fiction fan, “but I think your blog posts are amazing. They are always so smart and well-written and enjoyable to read.”

This brought me to tears (yes, a more common occurrence these days thanks to hormones, but still). I had never known he even read most of my posts, let alone felt that way about it. And in that moment, I found myself re-energized and newly excited about posting here.

It never occurred to him that I had no idea how he felt about my posts. Had it not come up in our conversation, I might never have found out. But those simple, straightforward words have stuck with me the past few weeks and warmed my heart with encouragement.

To give hope. That is the way that Webster’s dictionary defines “encouraging.” It’s so easy to do, and so easy to miss. How many times have I thought something kind or complimentary about someone and not bothered to say it? How many times have I missed the opportunity to brighten someone’s day, and to give the gift that none can function without in this life–the gift of hope?

If there’s something positive you’ve thought about someone lately, tell them. Maybe it’s admiration for their accomplishments, appreciation for their actions towards you, or even just a passing thought about how nice they look today. Tell them. It takes so little time and effort on our part–and you never know just how you could impact someone with those simple, but powerful words of encouragement.

1 thought on ““to give hope”

  1. I’m going to almost agree with your husband on this one. Almost because I believe I’ve mentioned how much I love your books… (I was telling my sister about them the other day, and I’m pretty sure she thinks I need an intervention.)

    I’ll also admit that I don’t read many blogs on a regular basis, although I have been known to binge-read if I come across an interesting one. But that said, I love yours in a way that I’ve never reacted to another blog before. I don’t know how you do it, but I never feel like you’re just filling space. I always come away from your posts thinking deeply and feeling encouraged at the same time. It’s a really rare and wonderful combination, and I definitely believe you have a special gift. Thanks so much for sharing it with us!

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