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” (Ephesians 2:10).
“In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy … being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:4,6).
“Now may the God of peace … equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever” (Hebrews 13:20-21).
“We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience” (Colossians 1:9-11).
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24).
Meet the Author
Wife, mom, and latte junkie, Tina has won more than a dozen writing awards, including FCWC’s 2013 Writer of the Year. She enjoys writing nonfiction and speculative fiction while helping clients optimize their lives through her online coaching business, Divine Encouragement, LLC. Inspirational speaker and mentor with Word Weavers International, she loves to bring encouraging messages through spoken and written words. Come visit her for a virtual cup of java at divineencouragement.com and tyeagerwrites.com.