Confession: I Want to Be an Expert
Especially if you spend much time writing and/or promoting online, you run-into plenty of advice about building yourself up to be an expert in your field. Authors suggest one can become an expert – a leader – in almost any area and this mastery can bring you a profitable business or a following or maybe even fame amongst your peers.
It sounds silly summarizing it into a little paragraph like that, but if you’ve seen it then you know. This is what people are selling.
To any wannabe blogger or podcaster, the message is consistent: YOU can be the authority people come to.
For those of us who have a subject area that lands closer to ministry than sales, these messages cause confusion and angst. Do I want to be the person people come to when they are looking for an honest but uplifting message grounded in Scripture? Yes.
But dare I suggest my voice rises above the countless other Christian, female, internet voices to establish me as an expert in my field?
I’m not even sure what my field is.
The problem is as I go about my daily life, trying to figure out how I can best provide for my family AND still be a present and involved mother in their lives, the Internet voices are suggesting I can have it all.
The Internet voices recommend I create passive income so I can still be at my kids’ games. That I establish a following by regularly baring my soul, offering free but useful content, and selling my charm and insight along the way. The Internet voices come from all directions – my twitter feed, my Facebook scroll, and the examples of countless Internet celebrities/authors/success stories featured regularly on television.
The Internet voices are loud.
Actually, it turns out, to create a name for yourself requires years of sacrifice. It demands less sleep, more money, and a splash of genius. It requires discipline, irrational hopefulness, and an incredible support system.
I’m not saying it’s impossible.
I’m just saying it’s not easy.
Ask the experts who’ve made it and they will tell you.
Meanwhile I’m over here wondering if maybe regular-old-nobody is what I might become, and possibly that’s exactly what my kids and husband need me to be. Maybe, seasonal-farm-help is a decent gig, because it works out great for me and for my dad plus allows me to pay for the theology classes I want to take. Could be substitute-teacher is ideal for our family because my hours are the same as my kids but I don’t have the endless hours of grading which full-time teachers have to bear. It’s possible that simple-family-life is my destiny and the best thing for all of us in this season of parenting.
I confess I often have been drawn into the lure of being an expert, a guru to whom people might turn.
And maybe someday in some capacity that will happen and it will be useful to me and to others.
But I need to find the allure in the beauty and practicality of living out my vocation as mom and wife and household manager in this season. Because really when it comes to my family, I’m the expert. I know how everyone likes their PBJ sandwiches, where the underwear drawers are, and the passwords to all the logins. I yell too much, take the wrong tone with my pre-teen, and can’t balance the checkbook to save my soul. But I’m the master of apologies, knowing where they’re hiding candy, and reading bedtime stories.
I need to take my own advice: Spend less time worrying about possibilities the future holds. Focus on life today and how I’m supposed to love the people right in front of me.
I mean, I am the expert around here after all.