How to be meek?


When we were little, there was a framed picture over the stairs which you couldn't help seeing every time you went down. It was written in old fashioned language and curly letters where the first letter of each line was red and larger than the others. We didn't really know what it meant and it was one of those things that you were so used to, that you forgot to be curious.

 One day, Dad explained that it was a copy of something called The Beatitudes, was from the bible and gave advice about the best way to live. He said it might not sound as though people like this would lead a better and more fulfilling life but, in his experience, it was true. Then he said he would give us £5 if we learned it by heart. This was a lot of dosh, in 1975.


I don't remember if my brothers tried to memorise it but, sensing money for books and quite a few Sherbert Fountains, I did. I still didn't know what they meant, although Dad did explain them to me. But, in the way that memory verses do, they have often come to mind. And through the years, they have revealed some secrets.

The one I've been thinking about lately is the third one: Blessed are the meek...What does it really mean to be meek? I have looked it up, trying to tease out the meaning. As ever, there is a lot out there but the things that struck me were these: -

  • A meek person is not a weak person
  • Meekness is humility, especially in relation to the patient endurance of offences
  • Meekness implies mercy, quiet strength and self restraint
  • It is not highly valued in society at large
  • Jesus was the epitome of meekness
So what I'm pondering is this: In the upside-down kingdom that we embrace as Christian writers, how can we perform the essential task of promoting our work, while being meek? Putting our work out there and encouraging people to read/buy it, seems at odds with meekness. You could argue that it is not ourselves we are promoting but our writing, but as someone pointed out to me, you are your own brand. Everything you write/say/post anywhere, tells people what your personality, interests, humour, writing are like. At least to some degree, these days you can't really promote your writing without promoting yourself. If you want to generate interest in your books, it's best if you generate some interest in You.

Like many of us, I struggle with this. I want to share my writing with people but I don't want to annoy. I want to explain my work in case people are interested but I don't want to assume. However, I believe I have been given the desire to write, as others have been given the desire to teach/nurse/defend/heal people. All callings/vocations by definition need human beings to interact with. Writers need readers. And if we don't tell people about our writing, no one will read it.

I have learned a lot from watching other ACWers do promotion well, with respect, restraint, honesty and humour. I have also learned how to champion other writers. Not everyone - no one can do that - but those whose words, for some reason, God draws to my attention. The way we encourage each other is, I think, a unique and precious feature of ACW. It is rare, on the Facebook page at least, for someone to share a success or failure without others offering words of celebration, encouragement, support, advice. For me, these are all part of what it means to be meek.

No doubt God will use all our experiences along the writing road - rejections, successes, reviews (good and bad) - to help refine and polish us, if we let him. We will muck up, make mistakes, possibly annoy or offend. We are human after all. But, bound by our twin loves - God and writing - there is grace enough for all.

I got my £5 by the way.

Deborah Jenkins is the author of textbooks, educational articles and a novellaThe Evenness of Things, available in paperback and as a kindle e-book.


Her novel, Braver, will be published on 30 June 2022 by Fairlight Books. You can read more about it, and pre order here or on amazon worldwide. The amazon UK link is here


Deborah wonders aloud about the crazy, inspiring and inappropriate, on her blog, stillwonderinghere.net








 
 



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