Popularity and Influence Aren’t the Same Thing

Earlier this year, I launched my author website. I did so because my first website, Earl Grey and Yellow, contains only Christian-focused content. I created it as a personal hobby blog without future pursuits in mind. It served as a therapeutic means of expressing myself after sustaining a serious back injury that ended my ability to run.

I designed my author website to be broader, covering more about life as a writer and providing commentary on a wider variety of topics. This would allow me to appeal to readers not looking for specifically Christian content.

While I am a Christian and a writer, not everything I produce is overtly faith-based. My faith informs what I will and won’t write about, but I wanted to increase my reach. I chose a website including my name for when I start publishing books (eventually). It also helps me point people to my work on other platforms like Medium.

A couple of weeks ago, I was working my way through a devotional plan called Adamant by Lisa Bevere. The overarching purpose of the plan is to help readers anchor themselves to God’s truth instead of drifting along in a changeable culture. She posed an important question, one that laid bare something I needed to address:

Do you want to be popular…or do you want to be influential?

Well, dang. That question hurts on so many levels. As a writer, of course I want to be popular. But I also want to be influential. Bevere followed up her question with further explanation.

“Popularity and influence seem similar, but they’re very different. Popularity requires you to follow the masses or tell them what they want to hear. But influence invites you to stand on truth apart from the crowd.”

-Lisa Bevere

Apart from the crowd? Of course. That is the higher call of Christ on our lives.

I had given little thought to the difference between the two. But as I read on, I realized I had to make this decision in order to move forward as a writer. While every writer wants a lot of readers, popularity could come at the expense of straying from my purpose—glorifying God. Without laser-focus on my purpose, I could risk being popular but not influential for the Kingdom.

Stopping to think about these things proved to be an opportunity for growth. It’s settled. I want to be influential, whether that means a small sphere of influence or a huge following. I want the way I live my life and use my creative efforts to drive the merit of my influence. My aim is to encourage and bless people, whether or not the content I write is specifically Christian.

The work is my responsibility. The outcome is God’s. I trust Him to connect me to the audience He means for me to have. I trust Him to inspire me and guide me as I continue to build a life as a writer. He is the Architect of my plans. I will build as He leads.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16, ESV)

With Love and Gratitude,

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