Ladies and gentlemen,
Visible progress is a double-edged sword. While it may slash through one person’s doubts, it can slice through another’s confidence. How do we, as Christians–and frankly as humans–, react to the visible progress of others? Especially because, so often, only one person out of all the world seems to make writing progress at any given time?
You may think I exaggerate. I wouldn’t know, but I do know what it is like to find someone new on the scene and feel like I’m suddenly stripped down to a blank page after previously being so confident I looked good on paper!
NB: Feelings aren’t always reliable, and NB stands for nota bene, or “note well.”
There isn’t a simple answer. There isn’t a quick fix. I will, however, try to address a few things–this included–because of a suggested topic sent in to me via Facebook. (Questions or suggested topics are very much welcome.)
How do we react? Intellectually, mentally, and sometimes physically. Often poorly, responding with self-criticism or jealousy. Sometimes angrily, acting out against some of our own crosses–and Christians do have crosses, every day, according to the Gospel of Luke (9:23).
The truth may be that we are frustrated to begin with and seeing another book out, another blog up, or another mind whirring with optimistic success grinds us back down to the dust and ash of reality. You know, where that friend will probably find himself after a rejection letter or a three-day (or three-month) dry spell.
On the other hand, sometimes I can get upset with only a moments notice. Sinners are like that.
But we do not need to mark successes or compare ourselves with others. We do not need a timetable or deadlines. What we do often need is to recognize whether we are living under the law or the Gospel, whether we are bound to sin and need forgiveness, and whether now is the time to be strict and disciplinarian with ourselves or remind us that Jesus is perfectly ok even if we never write another word. In fact, He may come again before that smug Facebook post actually has a published book to match it.
And maybe Facebook posts are just that way. I fear I have a writing tip for you: get off Facebook or at least limit its use. So often it’s use deteriorates into spastic surges of interest, dotted with regrettable comparisons. Of course, you can find me there under Mary J Moerbe, at least until I learn my own lesson. 😉
Let’s aim to give ourselves, as writers, a break today! Writers don’t write every second. They’re allowed to rest too, for seasons and eventually forever.