Meeting a successful writer.
I was privileged to meet Jeff Goins last week, around a table with other artists and discuss what was on our minds.
We dived into the question, “What if you feel you are not good enough?”
Jeff explained after his success as a blogger, speaker and author of several books, he still is plagued by self-doubts. His own successful writing career has not wiped the slate clean of his own doubts. He is unsure if his writing is good enough, or will anyone read what he writes, or will a publisher like his writing and publish his work.
“No one has it all figured out.” Jeff Goins
Jeff discovered a statement that has become prevalent in his own writing. “Be who I am.” The need to try so hard ends up with the wheels spinning around and eventually not getting anywhere.
Now I Become Myself
by May Sarton
Now I become myself. It’s taken
Time, many years and places;
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people’s faces,
Run madly, as if Time were there,
Terribly old, crying a warning,
“Hurry, you will be dead before–“
(What? Before you reach the morning?
Or the end of the poem is clear?
Or love safe in the walled city?)
Now to stand still, to be here,
Feel my own weight and density!
The black shadow on the paper
Is my hand; the shadow of a word
As thought shapes the shaper
Falls heavy on the page, is heard.
All fuses now, falls into place
From wish to action, word to silence,
My work, my love, my time, my face
Gathered into one intense
Gesture of growing like a plant.
As slowly as the ripening fruit
Fertile, detached, and always spent,
Falls but does not exhaust the root,
So all the poem is, can give,
Grows in me to become the song,
Made so and rooted by love.
Now there is time and Time is young.
O, in this single hour I live
All of myself and do not move.
I, the pursued, who madly ran,
Stand still, stand still, and stop the sun!
Our identity is in Christ.
We trust others to give us an identity, to give us value on who we are. We are in the process of finding ourselves. The key is to become ourselves, as God has designed us.
In the Cure for the Common Life: Living in Your Sweet Spot, Max Lucado writes, “Stand at the intersection of your affections and successes and find your uniqueness.”
“For everything comes from Him and exists by His power and is intended for His glory. All glory to Him forever!” (Romans 11:36 NLT)
Lucado writes, “Everything comes from him…and exists for him. We exist to exhibit God, to display his glory. We serve as canvases for his brush stroke, papers for his pen, soil for his seeds, glimpses of his image.”
What do we do with our Fear?
And so what do we do with this fear? This fear that is not so unique? This fear that can overwhelm any of us, even the accomplished? This fear that sneaks in unexpectedly and has the potential to thwart everything we are about and called to do?
Jeff says, “Write in it.” We are to be in the fear. We are to not ignore the fear or push it away. Quite possibly, even embrace the fear.
I see it as we are to hold onto the fear, take it by its hand and declare, “I will walk with you Fear. I will take you with me. But you will not overcome me. You will not overtake my thoughts or abilities. I will do my calling with you beside me.”
How many times do we try to push the fear away and yet it creeps back? Fear is not to control us or overtake us. We are not to live in the spirit of fear. But when fear is creeping alongside and whispers we are not good enough and we never will be, let’s embrace it and take it with us.
On the day I faced my mother’s mental illness and I had to take a stand of it no longer controlling me and my actions, I took steps. I faced the situation. I faced her. Head-on.
Was I afraid? Oh yes! I had decided at one point during the day, not when I woke up and not even when I got the call from the sheriff, but in the midst of stepping out in faith, she needed to go to the hospital. I was afraid. I was shaking and often, shook uncontrollably.
But I did not let the fear control me so it dictated what I should do or needed to do. I took the fear, and God walking right beside me that day, with many angels watching over me and leading me throughout the day and did what needed to be done.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 NIV)
Fear is not to control us.
God tells us in His word over and over again for us to not fear. I believe we are to not let fear control us. We are to not succumb to the world’s fear. God declares He will strengthen us and help us. He will uphold us with His righteous, strong and perfect right hand.
In what better hands can we rest in? Can we trust in? Can we give our confidence in?
When we worry we are not good enough, we may be playing the comparison game. I’m not as good of a writer as she is because she’s already published a book.
I’m never going to be as good as that person because they are so much better.
Has God called you for a specific task? Then He will give you the ability to accomplish it.
“God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God Himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with al the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to Him forever and ever!” (1 Peter 4:10-11 NLT)
Today I accept my fears of I am not good enough. Today I will allow those fears to propel me to be better at my craft and practice, practice and practice.
And when my task is completed and fear is still beside me? Today I will not allow the fear to control me. Today I let God give me the strength I need…just for today. Just for this moment. Until the next day when I need His strength. Until the next moment I need to call on Him.
What are you afraid?
Will you choose today to trust God, in whatever you are afraid? Are you afraid to let go? Are you afraid watching your children make choices that are not good for them? Are you afraid to move forward but you know God wants you to, has called you to step out in faith?
Father, may we live in obedience to You and Your word. May we not let Fear control us and stop us from doing Your bidding, Your calling, Your heart’s desire for us. May we learn to take Your hand, take the Fear and embrace what You have for us during this one moment. Walk us through this one moment. And then give us the Faith to know with complete assurance, You will take us through the next moment and the next and the next. We lay the Fear down at Your feet. Take it Father. Amen.
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