FAME!!! Success!!! Accomplishments!!! Accolades!!!
Isn't that what we all seek, really if we are honest with ourselves? I know that when I started this journey, I had the whole success thought in the back of my mind. But of course, I'm writing for God.
So I thought that if I worked hard enough, everything I do will be a success. I don't know how to do things just in halves. Whatever I do, I do with my whole being. It doesn't matter what endeavor I undergo. It's all or nothing for me. When Tom and I dated, I was all in! He was it for me. It didn't matter how long we dated. When I became a wife I gave it my all (whatever that is, I mean, really). Once children came along, I tried to give it my all... but children train you up to show you just how little you really know. As an instructor, I would be crushed if I felt the lesson was not a success – i. e. it didn't go the way I had planned it. When it came time to homeschool, I once again threw myself into the project with all the passion I could muster. It goes the same for writing. It's all or nothing.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that
needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth
(2 Tim 2:15)
As I try to make a success of the writing thing, it strikes me. I look at the world and I see people who are at the top of their game. They have the fame, the money, the look. In short, they have a everything the world would tell us makes a person a success. What I don't see is the hard work, the sweat and guts and tears they have poured into their craft to make a go of it. I don't see how many times they have tried and have gotten knocked down only to start again.
I focus on the outward. Oh yes, I want what they got
(you feel me? I feel me, I mean – a movie deal would be great).
What I focus on is my part of the deal. If I only go to all the right venues and sell lots and lots of books, I'll be a success. I mean, that's what we want, right? I don't focus on the heart. I don't focus on Thy will, Lord. That part I conveniently forget because it might mean that my success could look an awful lot like... failure.
And then what would people think of me?
After all, my worth is in how many books I sell, right? WRONG! Over and over again I learn that it's not the outward that God is looking at, but the heart. If I go to a venue, sell nothing, I come home with a pretty crappy (sorry) attitude, let me tell you! So, what's the lesson here?
Don't come home with a lousy attitude? No. That's not it either. One of my favorite scriptures (and as a reminder it is on the front of my laptop so I remember it all the time... sure!) is this,
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and
supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known
unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall
keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
(Phil 4:6,7 KJV)
I kind of like it in the NIV too.
Do not be anxious about anything
but in everything by prayer and petition,with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God and the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your
minds in Jesus Christ.
Once again we are dealing with the heart matter, and once again I am reminded to not give it my 'best shot'. I will fall terribly short of giving it that. My best shot isn't going to give me the success God wants me to have. I have to give it all my heart and think – as I smile at the person giving me a disgusted look upon reading the title of the first Cooper family novel Love the Lord your God with all your heart – 'Not my will, Lord, by thine.' And I have to remind myself of a very important lesson I always have to relearn, over and over again.
I. Am. An. Instant. Success.
Even before I was born, God deemed me to be loved, cherished, and successful. It doesn't matter how many books I write or sell. All that matters to God is my heart, on whether I say, 'Your will, Father'. Then I can come home and laugh and dance and tell everyone that I've had a marvelous day and that I've met wonderful people, who needed a reminder that God loves them. Because I sure needed that!
God really wants to cram this into my head, it seem, because this subject comes up over and over again and I'm so thankful to share it with you. Bear with me as God works it out in me. Or don't. Entirely up to you. I have this block when it comes to comprehending that my success is not as the world would see it. My entire life has been about doing well. It is so hard to focus on thankfulness and humility. Because a humble heart is one that is surrendered to the Lord.
If you came up to me and asked what I do, I'd have to tell you that I'm a wife, mother and teacher. A writer? you ask. Wow. Now that is something I never thought I'd be. But through God, all things are possible.