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