Christian celebrities, small businesses and the yuck with it – Part 2
Welcome back – if anyone is still with me. 🙂 I’m cracking up that yesterday I posted a small ebook basically. Holy long. That’s what happens when I don’t blog for a while. The brain just collects.
So Part 2 today is for all us! (part 1 – start there). We are the consumers! Each and every one of us get bombarded with messages everywhere we turn and it can get overwhelming.
These ideas to ponder are for those of us that are following Christ – we have to be discerning, grace-filled, compassionate and wise in our responses.
You’re the Filter
This seems obvious – but you get to choose! You are the ultimate filter for your brain, home and family. There are probably some very compelling sales folks out there and trusted voices on social media. I have some of those in my life that when they post a book or a resource – I pretty much get it or put it on my list. Because I trust them. Just don’t ever forget that you are JUST AS SMART. And YOU know yourself and your family better than anyone. Start practicing how to let information fall right off – almost like rain on something water proof. If you are good in a certain area – just keep scrolling. If you are in need of some inspiration or encouragement in one area – stop and consider it. Do your research. Filters also apply with your friends and loud voices like mine.
When one suggests, “You should get this!” Simply say “Ok, thanks! I’ll look into that. that sounds like a good one.”
I feel like God will make it clear which area and which book you and your family need during which season. You heart will guide you – lean on the Holy Spirit.
Start with Him
I’ll never forget the MOUNDS of baby books. I was laying up one night with my Ella as a newborn and rocking her and tears streaming. Desperately trying to figure out what I was doing wrong as a new mom. I had EVERY baby sleep book on the market next to me and I glanced over to see the dust on my Bible. It was a moment I’ll never forget – I must start with HIM! I fall into this trap still today. Relying on others before Him. I must rely on my own heart and prayers and that He can guide me! I can certainly glean wisdom and support from others but am I treating God like my last resort or my first stop?
So my friend Lindsey (long time readers – you know Izzy! our sitter) – she runs the First 5 program now at Proverbs 31. Whenever we get together, her absolute LOVE of the word truly inspires me. It doesn’t make me feel guilty or jealous – it challenges me to study more and learn more for myself. Lindsey (because of her seminary degree) is like a mad dog hunting for gospel-centered writing and teaching. She has encouraged me to keep my filters up and be discerning. NOT JUDGMENTAL or critical or rude or outspoken – but as I choose what blogs to read or books to pass along or sermons to soak up – just listen. Is that in line with scripture? Do I believe that is true? Look it up! Over time, you’ll start finding some authors or speakers or pastors that you trust that feel right to you.
Humans, They Are Humans
Here’s what I have discovered about everybody I have met in this little world from Lysa TerKeurst to the first-time author – they are human. They have feelings. They make mistakes. They try their best. We can certainly get our inspiration, encouragement and hope from them sometimes – but I know for me and for many of my friends – our deepest desire is that you put your hope in Jesus. Humans will fail us every time. I believe we often hold leaders to a standard of perfection – we’d never wish on ourselves.
Marketing is Not Bad
So, you are a target. You, Christen women, are a huge target. In a GOOD way. Marketing isn’t the devil – it’s a way of getting incredible messages to women who will change the world. I have been in one bazillion marketing meetings (ok I exaggerate often too) – and they are not what you think. They are not slimey people saying, “Ok – how else can we steal their money? What is the best way to sneak in and trick them into this program?” Here is what the conversation looks like…
Lysa’s team for Made to Crave (rough example): ‘OK team, we have untold thousands of women who have been battling food for their entire lives. The enemy wants them stuck here. How can we get this message to them so they are free? How can we say it in a way that doesn’t feel like a diet book – that they understand God can work in this?’
Jeannie’s team for Parenting the Wholehearted Child (rough example): ‘There are moms hating their job right now. They think it’s all up to them. How do we find them? How do we reach them in a way – so that they know there is freedom found in grace? They can do it different?”
You see SO MANY OF THESE FOLKS are exactly who they say! They love Jesus, they have prayed and cried and fought through these projects and messages to get to your heart. Not just for INFO sake – but for heart change. They aren’t after your money – they want something FOR you. If you see someone sharing it – they might have a marketing team or a friend like me helping them. I try my best to filter my “sharing” to books I truly love or to friends I personally know. I want you to continue to trust my word and that I won’t recommend anything I wouldn’t use or love for our family. However, I might let you down or lead you astray. That is possible and why your filter and discerning heart is a critical piece of the puzzle.
For example, I know and love and support Courtney Westlake.
Are all people honest and pure? I wish. This is why you are the consumer. You are smart. I believe this. This is why I truly don’t stress about sharing so much – because I believe you are capable of filtering the information. If you need a great cross – you’ll get the cross. But if you don’t – keep on scrolling sister. If you need a family worship CD – I want you to know about a great one. Partly because I believe in Casey and MOSTLY because I think having God’s truth in your home is worth it. How do you know who to trust? You’ll start getting a feel? Over time, there are bloggers or authors I do not know – but over time they just consistently post or write things that I connect with. I begin to trust them and connect. There are some that make me raise an eyebrow and I DO NOT GET ON THERE and start bashing or let them know. I simply unfollow. It is not up to us to be little detectives and “out” folks that we feel aren’t doing right. Let’s just move on and support people we trust.
Consider Who Your Dollar Impacts
Lindsey has also challenged me to think about where my dollar goes. As I buy a CD or bracelet or shoe or anything – who is getting that money? There are SO MANY companies that are being socially responsible. They are giving back and serving at the same time. There are tons of fair trade companies – one of my favorites is Karama Collection.
Grace and More Grace
I can speak personally and tell you that I had NO IDEA how much work it would be to sell my first book. I had a contract and you are expected to sell a certain number in the first year. And that is some serious pressure that lingers daily. It is hard to let that go – it’s like a little annoying devil on your shoulder that taps every day for you to do more, post more, find another way to get it out there. So, give some grace to the person that is marketing the stew out of their stuff – because you never know what’s going on behind closed doors. It could be pressure from a publisher. It could be financial pressure. We never know. If it bothers you – you are the consumer! You get to scroll on or unfollow. And if it’s your friend and it feels “off” – the best thing you can do is take them to lunch and say “how are you doing with all of this? how can i help?”
Your Best Option
Here is where we have the most power. What we support and share. If you love something personally – a product or book or anything from a small business has PERSONALLY impacted your life in a small way or big way – SHARE IT! Isn’t it way more compelling to hear that from a customer vs the seller of the product? Of course I’m going to tell you to buy ABC Scripture Cards. However, it’s way more powerful when a young mom posts it to her page: “These cards are saving me – my kids are getting truth in their hearts and so am I.” That just allows other moms to see the value and it spreads the word. So, instead of spending your time talking about what you don’t like – share what you do like because YOUR PERSONAL testimony will go so far. No one cares if you are famous or if you have 4 twitter followers or zero. Your endorsement matters.
PS. I love our surrender cross by Rad-Joy.
Assume the Best
So, the Jen Hatmaker line of clothes/earrings came up and I just had to laugh. There is going to be a LARGER army of girls wearing the ole feather earrings. Listen – I have some. I love them. And I LOVE Jen Hatmaker. I don’t know her really – I’ve stalked her on numerous occasions in an attempt for friendship. She’s wise to keep her distance. I would cling to her tight. Lol. Anyway, my first reaction was to be judgy and skeptical and almost roll my eyes (which probably is rooted in jealousy). I didn’t watch the video. I just scrolled fast. But then here’s what I did – I assumed the best. Do I know the entire soul of Jen Hatmaker? No. What do I know? I know that she is one of the most generous humans on the planet. Everything she does – typically goes back to giving back and serving those in need.
So, it truly thrills my heart that she is a wise business woman. People are obsessed with her and will buy all of that. And you know what? The MORE MONEY coming in for Jen Hatmaker will only bless others for God’s glory. And frankly – if she used it all to bless her family – great! They are precious people – I know this because I watched every episode of their HGTV thing. We are tight you see. Then, get this! I went to look it up and wouldn’t you know – there’s a video about how she’s hired vulnerable women transitioning from shelters to make her products. They are making her leather goods empowering women that are emerging into society again. Assume the best.
Assume the best for all the marketers – big and small.
What if their hearts were in the right place?
What if they were doing their best?
What if they were trying something new and it might fail?
As the consumer – you hold the power with your wallet and your voice. You decide who inspires you and what work (products, books, etc) are worth of passing along. However, the NUMBERS don’t make something successful. Some of these bigger brands and authors mean BIG marketing budgets – so don’t count out the small guys just starting up. Don’t just follow what’s huge and all the rage. Get behind whoever God is leading you to support with your resources.
Lift each other up.
Cheer each other on.
Spend more time promoting others than yourself.
I am FOREVER grateful for all of you. For how you’ve helped me spread the word of my products and my book. I mean it. You have blown me away and I am so very thankful.
I love your voice, generosity and authenticity! This was a great reminder!!!! Thank you for writing this.
thank you tracy! i appreciate it.
This is just brilliant. Both parts of the series, but this is my favorite. It really empowers us and reminds us of our own personal responsibility to support the people we know, love or trust – and forget about the ones we don’t. LOVE it and LOVE you. You are such a light – shining truth and love and compassion and generosity.
right back at you sister. so glad we met through all of this.
I started listening to it a few years ago when Howard Junker recommended it. I especially love the discussions of the story afterwards, it’s kind of like getting to sit in on an MFA seminar with a couple really talented people.
Assume the best is my favorite. What a different type of light we’d bein the world if we all could do that with friends, family and husbands even! Then go on and extend to Jesus-loving authors and product developers. Wow. What a reminder.
I need proof of your feather earrings pronto. My brain cannot imagine it.