Live for the applause of nail-scarred hands. ~ Mark Batterson

As an author, it’s easy to get caught up in the quest for more reviews. How long did it take for a book to get over 50 reviews? To cross that important 100-review threshold? And how many stars are those readers giving my books? What is my average star-rating? Plus what are readers saying? Will their reactions help me get more buyers…and improve my sales rank?

It’s too easy to get sucked into the numbers game. To stalk Amazon for my rank. To find my peace-of-mind bouncing around with the ups and downs of a silly (and mysterious) algorithm’s calculation. To let my mood roller-coaster along with latest rating of my book…or the unfortunate fact no one has left a review in weeks.

Suddenly, I’m living for the applause of semi-anonymous people online. And don’t even get me started on the crazy stats of other social media outlets. How many likes, comments, and shares did my latest post get? It’s enough to make me want to pack my bags and run for the hills outside cell and Internet coverage.

But what if no one bought my book? What if no one liked it? What then? Would the writing of it have been enough?

Yes. I’m in business as an author and that means turning a profit. Being smart. Earning more than I spend on advertising, editing, and cover designs. Studying the market and delivering a product they will buy. And yes, those ranks and reviews give me valuable information as I adjust my publishing strategy.

But I also write for a higher purpose and God’s opinion matters most. 

I recently came across the opening quote from Mark Batterson: “Live for the applause of nail-scarred hands.” Jesus didn’t care what about the popular opinion or try to please those with the loudest voices. He simply went about His Father’s business on a daily basis. Teaching. Healing. Serving. Loving. And doing it all day after day all the way to the cross…and beyond the grave.

All that to say, I’m evaluating my business by a new metric. Did I write the story God inspired me to write? Did I reflect His truth accurately within the pages? Will the journey my characters go on inspire and encourage readers? Have I been obedient? And have I been a good steward of the resulting income in a way that makes my Master proud? 

When I finally I approach the finish line of my life, I desperately want to hear Jesus’ applause. When all is said and done, I just want to hear Him say “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

What about you? What applause do you hear daily, weekly, or yearly? How important is that feedback to your mental and emotional well-being? If you only lived for the applause of Heaven and those nail-scarred hands, what would be different?

Living For the Right Applause
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