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Posts Tagged ‘success’

Starbucks got pretty fun yesterday. A few of us pulled out the ear-buds and acted like real people, trading jokes, stories, and turns watching laptops. It was pretty awesome. It filled a need in my heart for community–something I feared I was sacrificing when I decided not to attend grad school in Virginia.

And after I had returned home, Sister Kate showed up. We went for an unexpected walk, catching up in about twenty minutes. All of it strengthens me. And I needed some strengthening.

Last night I also attended a Good Friday service. Contrary to the somber affairs I had been accustomed to, this one was lively. It was full of upbeat music and positive thoughts–focusing on the glorious words, “It is finished.” Rescued. Christ’s death rescued me. Living a story full of heartbreak, thrill, adventure, danger, and success that would make a novel jealous, I am fully grateful for that rescue. Christ is my knight in shining armor. The One Who says I never have to be alone. Hallelujah.

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I spent about five days trying to get myself out of the latest writing jam. Reviewing where my characters had gone and would go, writing notes and outlines, chatting with said characters at all hours, re-reading relevant parts of my last novel. And finally there was only one place to go. So I wrote the section and am picking up speed again. Let’s hope the road blocks get fewer and farther between.

Have you heard that phrase, “Make your job your dream and you’ll never work a day in your life”? Personally, I think that is a statement full of lies, with more potential to discourage discerning hopefuls than to encourage them. See, marriage is a dream but one I know will be full of hard, hard work and occasional hurt. Friendships are worthwhile, but I’ll cry over every one that matters. Kids–oh my, they do make life fulfilling, but they take a crazy amount of work. Why should a dream job be any different?

There are days and weeks when doing my job feels like the sweet dream it was meant to be. But there are many more days. Days of plot line hurdles and writers block and negative reviews. Days of staying up late to meet a deadline and saying no to going out with friends to meet yet another deadline. Days to rewrite blocks of work and sore backs from leaning over a laptop. Days of doing law homework in-between speaking engagements and friends never knowing where in the world you are. Days of scraping together fifty cents for a hot apple cider and of wondering where the money will come. Days of cold calls. Days of facing fears. Days of failure.

See, little does the statement about the dream job know: success would not feel like success without those days. Without the days when I applied for other jobs because the dream just wasn’t panning out. Days when I nearly quit. Days when I chose to stick to the dream because it was worth the hurt.

Next time you think about your dream job and consider all the work that will go into it, remember: it is that hard work which makes the dream sweet. It’s not a dream, it’s not a life, if it’s not worth fighting for.

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Life is a competition. At least, that’s how we seem to act–especially us over-achievers. We attempt to find our worth in our accomplishments, in how we rank ourselves in our culture or how our society ranks us. Now, we really should try to do our best in life, but it is a lie to believe that our worth comes from how talented we are.

Those who chose to live in the spotlight find an extraordinary pressure from even the most well-meaning of observations. As an author/speaker I know this to be true. If we are not the biggest fish in our pond, we panic. And when we move into a bigger pond, we panic again.

It’s a standard we cannot live up to. Trying to ‘earn’ our way into worth simply will never succeed. There is always a bigger fish, a more talented person, a more famous entity, a mistake that slipped in past all our careful plans. And if we judge our worth only on our accomplishments we are going to be really frustrated and broken in life. As I have matured I have learned to let go of this false perception–though it still slips in from time to time. I now recognized that my worth is found in God’s incomprehensible love for me. It gives me an incredible freedom.

If I write, it’s not to prove that I’m the best juvenile fiction writer in Bangor or Maine or the US… it’s because God gave me a love of writing, I discover Him in it, and I enjoy and find purpose in the labor. If I speak, it’s not just to pay bills or show the world that I am involved in ‘ministry’ as the modern church understands it. For there is as much value–if not more–in the daily lives of real people displaying Christ before the world as there is in my book touring. No, if I speak it is because I am compelled to, because I value others, and because I have a message that needs to be spread.

I need to remember that life is not a competition. I do not need to, I should not, measure my worth or ‘success’ by comparing myself to others or by listening to the praise/criticism of others. If I am pursuing and following God’s will for my life then my life is fulfilling for that very reason. Perhaps in accepting that, we can all find a bit more joy in our labor.

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