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Posts Tagged ‘college student’

If you were ever a college student, you’ve probably had the nightmare. You know. The one where you forget about class, arrive late, walk in on a test, and realize you know none of the material. If you’re like me, you wake up from that recurring dream with sweat beading down your forehead. Maybe grades are not your tense point. Still, I’m willing to bet you have had a similar dream.

The nightmare is no longer about college. Not for me. It has moved on to writing. I guess that’s a sign I have been doing my job a long time. Or that I am heavily invested in it with my time and my emotions. Probably both.

I dreamed last night, with great amounts of panic, that I had left several empty paragraphs in a published book. There were even author’s notes to correct the emptiness, making it a glaring flaw. This might not sound so terrifying to you non-writers out there, but I wince as I read grammar mistakes in previous editions. Let alone EMPTY PARAGRAPHS!

Can you tell someone is nervous about The Lure of Lemons?

Nightmares aside, the book is actually coming along. I’m still far behind my deadlines, but solid progress is finding its way to my mind and into the novel’s pages. Maybe my dream-panic is premature. I’ll never be quite that sloppy. Yet mistakes will happen. That terrifies the perfectionist in me.

Art is not about perfection. I refuse to allow my fear of grammar mistakes, spelling errors, plot-line issues, deadline misses, and total failure (I could go on) to stop my writing. To stop my passion. To stop the good work that is done with these books. No. Nightmare, go back to the depths from which you came. I will press on.

 

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I know this post is long, but I hope you’ll find it worth it.

I’m 21. I have three books published and a fourth in production. I have memorized 2/3s of the New Testament, made sweet friends in Indonesia, lived in South Carolina, and gone on two major book tours. I’m putting together an album for recording and dabble as a worship leader. I am the founder and leader of Rebirth Publishing, Inc. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Management. I have escaped all of it without debt. And I thought I knew myself…

But since graduation I have realized just how little I actually know about myself. I know a whole lot about what I can do, but not a lot about who I really am. So, like the perfectionist student I am, I have poured the last few months into a character study–not of Pallen or Marcus or Cressa from Mark of Orion. No. This is a study of my own character. And with each new learning, I celebrate a victory that leaves me feeling a good deal more fulfilled.

First, let me say that I think labels are probably some of the worst things in the world. If you had ever tried to sum me up as ‘Lyme patient’ or ‘college student’ or ‘Christian’ or ‘publisher’ or ‘writer’ or ‘musician’ or ‘homebody’ or ‘extrovert’ you would have missed who I really am. To give you a glimpse of just how much I don’t like labels, check out this personal entry:

It is easy to believe labels are fulfilling.

 Not just the ‘popular’ label. Those of us who know better than to believe that success will fulfill us find other labels to put our stock in. Like the ‘loved’ label; the ‘happy’ label; the ‘work-a-holic’ label. After so many movies full of people finding their labels right alongside their soul-mates, we have begun to believe that if we could just find our label, our movie-moment, our montage of effective work and budding love alongside the perfect soundtrack, then we could feel fulfilled.

 Only, labels aren’t actually fulfilling.

 Not ‘hipster’ or ‘rock-star’ or ‘author’ or ‘healthy’ or ‘wife’. Labels in and out of themselves can never, ever satisfy. All they can do is make us feel bitter that we aren’t happy after attaining them or devastated that we cannot achieve them. Labels are a deadly lie.

So why does the girl who rejects labels find joy in figuring out that she is not only a perfectionist but also 1) passionate and 2) innovative? Aren’t those labels too?

To me the difference is that I can’t achieve to be an innovator. I just am. When I see a problem, my first instinct is to scrap the old system and create a new one. I can’t force myself to be passionate 100% of the time. Often I wish I could turn it off. Only, passion is part of who I am. If I offend you, believe me: it hurts me more than it ever can you. Because I care. And if I can make your day brighter, I’ll do my very bestest. Because I care with all my heart. It’s passion. I can control it, but it will forever be my default setting. And, yep, I want my new innovative system that I passionately care about to go perfectly. But those things aren’t based in what I can do or in the success of my efforts; they are based in who God made me to be. The core of who I am is not ‘author’. Perhaps you could say that I am a storyteller. Each song that I write, each book that I craft, each conversation I have revolves largely around stories. But even if I had never published a book, I would have been–I was–known as a storyteller. It is an attribute, not a label.

You see, sometimes trying to live up to the labels can be really devastating. I won’t forever be a ‘young achiever’ and, as much as I love that label, it can often do more harm than good as I achieve for achievement’s sake alone. I may not forever be ‘worship leader’ and that’s okay too. The ‘traveling artist’ day may pass; the sickness may fade; even the book writing may fizzle out. And if I all I was was an sick, book-writing, traveling artist I would be in a LOT of trouble when the day of change came.

So instead of setting my sights on a list of un-fulfilling and really frustrating labels, I want to discover who God made me to be. I’ll gladly accept the attributes that God created me with, but I am very ready to be done with the labels I set for myself or others set for me. Take heart, my friends, and revel in your uniqueness. It was designed that way by the greatest Storyteller ever, the God Who knit us together.

Psalm 139:13

13 For you created my inmost being;

   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

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Bible Quizzers have this phenomenon. When it gets close to the end of the quizzing year and we are studying for hours a day, we dream quizzing (which is pretty typical when you are doing a lot of studying). What is unusual is that when we see a digital clock, the first thing that comes to our mind is not the time, but the Scripture verses associated with 11:11, or whatever the time may be. This is now becoming a writing phenomenon. Today I was being dutiful and reading my Western Civ textbook, when I came across a word that triggered a character name that triggered a story. Of course, I had no interest in doing homework after that. I could have just sat down and typed away at my novel. I take great satisfaction in knowing that in exactly 13 weeks, I will no longer be a college student. I will have the time to work on my novel (let’s hope).

My mad dash to complete my homework has paid off. I anticipate getting several days off around Thanksgiving. Bring on the festivities!

Today I am thankful for:

1. Imagination. It lifts my spirits and teaches me about myself and my God.

2. Homework mission completed

3. More Christmas music

4. A little time off

5. Sister Julie’s arrival tonight

6. Anticipated pie-making tomorrow with my sisters

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