Friday, 24 June 2016

No competition. No comparison.

No one else can write what you can. No one else has lived the riches of your life. No one has felt your joy and pain. No one else has had the same experiences. No one else is you. God has made you completely original.

If we compare ourselves with others we risk losing our way - In life. In writing. In who we are in Christ.

As a primary school chaplain I sat beside a girl who was clearly stressed. Let’s call her Ellie. Ellie laboured over a test paper, head bent, lips pursed. I looked at what she had drawn. A rectangular prism. As neat as anyone would expect from a girl her age.

But suddenly she let out a cry of frustration, grabbed her eraser and rubbed hard at the prism. ‘It’s not perfect! It’s not good enough.’
The teacher came over. ‘That’s okay Ellie. It doesn’t have to be perfect.’
Ellie ignored her and rubbed with such force the page ripped. Then she screwed up the piece of paper and threw it across the room. ‘I’m not doing it,’ she screamed. ‘Don’t you dare let anyone see that!’

The teacher looked at me, wide-eyed, wondering what had just happened. When everyone went out to recess I sat with Ellie until she calmed down and told me what the problem was. Her parents paid for her to do this exam. She couldn’t stand the thought of disappointing them. She said her cousin is so clever she skipped a whole year level of school. She told me about her relatives who were brilliant at school and exceptionally gifted. They are now in very high positions across the world, making lots of money.

It got me thinking. Sometimes I look at other authors and I get scared. I am afraid of not reaching my potential and disappointing my Heavenly Father who paid so much for my life. Other authors are making big money; they have their books in ‘high up positions’, they seem to be achieving and successful and making an impact. They are known outside Australia. They are extraordinary.

Yet does this make me and what I do of any less value?

Ellie may not be extraordinary like her relatives, but she is kind, caring and compassionate. She takes the time to notice life and love those around her. Except when she is so stressed she is rudely screaming at a teacher and throwing paper across the room. I’m sure her parents would be saddened that she puts this pressure on herself and that it affects her in such a way.

And my Father God is also saddened that the achievements of other authors make me feel this way. That it makes me feel less. Makes me feel inadequate. I end up stressed, questioning what I am doing, questioning my value.

It helps to look to the One who made me. The One who knows it’s not about what I do, but who He has made me to be. Writing is just an expression of who I am. It doesn’t change my value. What I write stems from the unique person God has made me to be, with all the intricate details He has created me with. No one else has my personality, my background, my life experience, my appearance, my abilities.

I need not feel threatened by the achievements of others. When I do feel threatened I am not able to encourage or build up others. I am in self-preservation mode and lose sight of the big picture. I am more likely to miss loving God and loving my neighbour the way God wants me to.

Maybe I am not writing for the masses and making a huge, noticeable impact, but here, in my small space, God is using me to make a difference in the lives of those around me. And that is enough because that is all God asks of me. Any other expectations I have put on myself because I have looked at others, not to my Father God.
Yes, I need to do my best, but God doesn’t expect me to do any more than that. He delights in who I am, just as I am. I have nothing to compete for. He already won the victory that counts. I don’t need to be perfect. He is. I don’t need to be extraordinary. He is.

And I just need to be His.

May you delight in being His today.



Jenny loves writing inspirational Christian fiction for young adults. She is the wife of Rob Glazebrook and the mother of Micah, Merridy, Clarity and Amelia. They live in the country town of Gundagai with lots of pets. Jenny is the author of 7 published novels including her Aussie Sky Series. Jenny is a primary school chaplain, enjoys inspirational speaking, and is passionate about sharing her writing knowledge and experience and encouraging others in their walk with Jesus.
To find out more about her and her books you can go to www.jennyglazebrook.com

19 comments:

  1. I love your heart to honour God, Jenny, and to use all the gifts God has given you in all their uniqueness to bless others. Thank you for being you! I particularly noted your paragraph about the things we are likely to miss if we are threatened by others--so true. It reminded me too of a quote from Rob Bell: 'Someone in you is the you who you were made to be. We need you to be you. We don't need a second anybody--we need the first you.'

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    1. Oops! The quote should read: 'Somewhere in you is the you who you were made to be. We need you to be you. We don't need a second anybody--we need the first you.' My apologies.

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    2. Thanks Jo-Anne. I love that quote! Going to write it down and sit it on my desk.

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  2. Pride is such a deceptive beast inside us, isn't it? We've all felt like Ellie many times and will have days like that. But just as you've said Jenny we need to recognise who we are in Christ and how much He loves us. As you point out all of us have a role to play and we shouldn't be measuring our worth on such things as recognition and book sales.

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    1. Yes, as soon as I feel I've conquered pride I realise that is pride in itself : ) Only looking to Christ takes that dangerous focus off self.

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  3. Excellent thoughts we all need to take to heart! I love your books, Jenny and have been recommending them wherever possible.

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    1. I am so blessed by your support, Mary. Thank you!

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  4. This is so encouraging, thanks Jenny.

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    1. Glad you were encouraged, Susan. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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  5. Thank you for reminding us of the value and power contained within our unique experiences and for encouraging us to persevere in sharing that.

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    1. I look forward to seeing what God has given you to write! I know that what God's children write gives a glimpse not only into who a person is, but into who God is.

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  6. Just beautiful Jenny. Thanks :)

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    1. Thanks Andrea. I think what I love most about your books is how much your own humour and joy shine through - and I know that whatever you write, the character God has given you will shine through the characters you create. Looking forward to what you come up with next.

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  7. Just beautiful Jenny. Thanks :)

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  8. You have no idea how much I needed to read this today! I'm a lot like Ellie... sometimes I get so worried I don't do anything at all. Thank you so much for your post.

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    1. Glad I'm not alone, Melissa. May the character God has given you shine through your work and may you have joy in who He has made you to be! Thanks for taking time to respond. It's encouraged me : )

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  9. Thanks Jenny. I find the comparison trap only too easy to fall into, and really appreciate your encouragement here. God's love for us is enough - now to remind my pride... Thanks for sharing your heart, and God's wisdom :)

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