Mistaken Identity

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By Deborah K. Anderson

Have you ever discovered that you’re not who you thought you were?

I did recently, and let me tell you, it can be a frightening experience.

A few years ago, I received an e-mail telling me I was a finalist in a novel competition. Being the optimist that I am, my eyes shifted. Okay, what’s going to happen to me now?

I know I shouldn’t behave in this manner, but it seems like whenever I receive good news, well, something bad happens soon after. I’m still trying to trust God in this area.

In fact, He’s one of the reasons I made it to the finals to begin with. Before entering the competition, I prayed, “God, I don’t care if I win or not, but if you would bless me to final. . .”

So God had answered my prayer. Right?

I should have been elated. Don’t you think?

When they announced the winners, though, and I wasn’t one of them, guess who got a sour attitude laced with major disappointment?

As I moped over the news, my husband, with his uncanny wisdom and unique ability to know when to deliver said wisdom, said to me, “Honey, you did tell God that as long as you placed, you’d be happy. Remember?”

Don’t you hate it when someone plays the “I Remember” game, throwing your words back in your face? I mean, I knew the man was right, but in my humble opinion, what did that have to do with anything?

I flipped my hand. “I know what I said. Is this supposed to make me feel better?”

“Well, you should have asked God for more if you really wanted to win.”


“I’m just telling you. That’s all.”

After being married for twenty-nine years, I knew “that” wasn’t all.

He started to walk away, but then stopped.

I told you the little lamb chop wasn’t finished with me yet.

His meaty hand pointed a finger in my direction. “You know what your problem is, Deb?”

I jutted my chin and spoke like a heroine from a historical romance novel set in England. “Tell me, what is my problem?”

“You’re afraid of success, not failure.” He jabbed his finger in the air for emphasis. “That’s what your problem is.”

Suddenly, the room grew quiet, and so did I-a rarity.

He held his stance. “It’s true, isn’t it?”

Go away. Leave me alone to wallow in my misery.


My royal attitude evaporated. “Okay, fine.”

“But why, honey? God’s given you a gift.”


I didn’t know why, but it finally hit me that I have been sabotaging myself. All this time I’ve blamed other things for impeding my progress. Don’t get me wrong, other obstacles have crossed my path, but the other problem has been me. Yes. I said it. Me. (I am woman; hear me roar.)

This divine revelation left me with much to think about. I’ll have to learn to trust God in this area too.

Original version published in CFOM, December 2010.

Deborah K. AndersonDeborah has written stories for Focus on the Family, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and numerous other publications. She is a member of TWV, ACFW, CWG, SCBWI, and YALITCHAT.ORG. She recently completed a supernatural suspense novel for young adults. You can contact Deborah at: DAnderson955 at aol.com. Visit her blog at: www.deborahkanderson.com.

Comments 0

  1. Your words hit too close to home! I, too, do not want to confess my fear of success, but the truth rings loud and clear within my heart -I can’t deny it. God has surely blessed me with the gift of writing – it is embedded deep in my soul. I am to use it to His glory, and remind myself consistently: “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”
    2 Tim. 1:7

  2. Amen to that, Stacy. Another verse comes to mind. “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.” 🙂

    God bless you, and thanks for stopping by!

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