Two writer buddies and I are driving to Edmonds, WA for a writer’s conference this weekend. We leave Friday morning and won’t be back until Monday evening. I don’t know what I’m looking forward to more: the conference, the four days exempt from making dinners and washing dishes, or the nineteen hours (give or take) of uninterrupted adult conversation while we travel to and from WA. For this mom, the opportunity to step away from the grindstone will be a blessing; the conference is a bonus. 😉
Despite my passion for (and struggles with) the craft of writing over the last fifteen years, I’ve only been to two writer’s conferences, the second of which I attended about seven years ago when we still lived in Nebraska. My very first conference was a five-day affair at the Gordon Seminary campus in Massachusetts when my now ten-and-a-half year old was only 18 months. While I might have been dealing with a lingering case of post partum depression, it was the writing insecurities and comparative-itis that plagued me to the point of tears. There I was, in my late twenties, crying in the bathroom like I was a hormonal teenager—and mind you, when I cry, my face shows its blotchy remnants for at least an hour afterward.
“Are you missing your little girl?” one well-meaning attendee asked as we passed each other on the campus grounds.
I gave her a polite smile through my blurry vision and continued on. Little did she know her innocent comment brought on a fresh tidal wave of tears—this time tears of guilt! For I did not miss my daughter…but maybe I was supposed to? Yet here’s the thing: not only did I know Braelyn had both sets of grandparents doting on her, but I also knew I’d see her again at the end of five days. And when you’re a stay-at-home-mom, on call 24-7, you don’t sweat five days (at least, this mom didn’t!).
No. I was crying for more selfish, self-pitying reasons. I felt frustrated with my writing abilities (and incapabilities), my writer’s block (some will argue it doesn’t exist), and the high expectations I had put on myself to perform (expectations I couldn’t attain).
Plus, I had compared myself to the other writers in my group and come up short. Very short.
Comparative-itis. I think it plagues more of us than we know.
I still wrestle with that disease sometimes, along with the one that says “I’m not good enough,” and the equally debilitating “I’m not creative enough.” But God has been at work in me over the last ten months—molding me here, tugging me there—and I trust I’ll experience freedom from these deadweights eventually. (If my mind could just stay out of the way much of the time, I’d experience it a lot sooner!)
Baby steps, right? That’s what this faith journey is all about. Taking a step of faith, finding God is already there to meet you, taking another step, finding He has yet again provided…
I stepped out in faith earlier this year when I felt He was asking me to start this blog. And I stepped out once more in August when He nudged me to sign up for this upcoming conference. Yes, it takes faith for me to willingly surround myself with other, more accomplished, writers, and it requires me to rely on God’s strength to stand fast against the insecurities and feelings of inadequacy that threaten to block my creativity.
My prayer is that I would apply what He has been teaching me and rest in confident assurance that I’m exactly where He wants me at this stage in my life. Any future success I might have in my writing career has more to do with God’s timing than on my own talent as a writer. And the prominence and abilities of other writers don’t factor into my future at all. So no comparing, Laurie!
This weekend I’m leaving my Inner-Critic at home with Self-Doubt and Inadequacy. They can play their little mind games over a wallow of pity without me.
This weekend, I pray it’s just me and God (and two treasured writer buddies) out for a time of fun, rejuvenation, and inspiration.
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses… For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 New International Version (NIV)