The longer I write, the less faith I have in my talent. In my youth, mentors taught me to believe in myself. Teachers encouraged me to write. I founded my esteem on the quick-wilting laurels of affirmation. Humanistic praise rings so sweet in the ear, yet dependence upon it poisons the mind.
Since others defined me as “talented,” I ventured into the world of writing conferences. Compliments sculpted my ego into a thin glass spine. I strode in with an erect posture, unaware of how fragile my self-confidence would soon prove. I expected publishers to welcome my work with the same approval teachers had offered.
Let’s just say things didn’t go as I had expected. Publishers didn’t coddle me with the sunshine-laced praises of elementary mentors.
Ego properly shattered, I limped to my room. Crawled into a fetal position. Bawled. I no longer believed in myself. I doubted the talent with which others had defined me.
After a snot-streaked, prayerful cry, the Lord stood me back up. Reminded me to follow the call. I resolved to continue writing, keep trying to pursue the work God set before me.
But, the question had etched itself as a skipping album in my mind. Its haunting words would play over and over in my head for years to come.
Am I good enough?
For years, I strove to extinguish my doubt by improving my skill. I went to many workshops, conferences, and writing retreats. Learned a wealth of new craft insights. Enjoyed priceless fellowship with other struggling writers. Each season, I faced that haunting, insidious question. The temptation to give up dogged my heels. I strove harder to emulate the techniques of successful writers. I hoped polishing my craft would bring success and confidence.
Then, I heard best-selling authors admit they’d heard the question, too.
One day, I cried out to the Lord, “I’m not good enough!”
You’re right. I’m glad you realized that. He responded. But I AM.
Now, I place little faith in fleeting matters of talent and success. Why settle for them? I’m intimately connected to the most creative source in the universe. He’s not merely adequate. He trumps all insufficiency, owns the patents on our gifts, eliminates the very concept of failure.
I still hear the question sometimes. The enemy isn’t the creative one. He re-uses his original strategies. Pride. Discouragement. The temptation to believe fulfilling God’s purpose depends on whether I’m any good.
Scripture confirms none of us are any good. “There is no one who does good, not even one” (Romans 3:12). Thank God we don’t have to stake our confidence in ourselves.
The Lord encourages us to offer him our best. He calls us to serve him with excellence. If called to write, we should attend conferences and hone our craft. When doubts arise, we must stake our faith in something greater than our own effort, however. The Lord alone holds the right to define us and to determine our calling.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians2:10).
What helps you fight discouragement and doubts? Leave a comment.
Tina Yeager is a wife and mom first, then serve as a life coach, speaker, and author, so she understands the challenge of juggling roles. Besides a daily latte, what keeps her going is her hope of inspiring people.She’s been licensed as a mental health counselor since 2005 and appeared as an expert in Brandon Focus Magazine. The Florida Christian Writers Conference awarded her2013 Writer of the Year. The Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference honored herwith three awards in 2014. She won Splickety Magazine's 2015 Sci-Fi v.s. Fantasy writing contest. And her writing has been featured in several editions of Splickety Publishing Group's imprints, including Havok Magazine's 2015 July and October editions. Be inpired by Tina at www.teagerwrites.wordpress.com and www.divineencouragement.com.
Florida Christian Writers