By Tammie Fickas
Early Tuesday morning my phone vibrated with an incoming text from a friend congratulating me on being a finalist in a flash fiction contest. A whoop of surprise burst out before I could stop it. I quickly found the email that congratulated me on being chosen and relished the excitement.
Later in the day, while I was still savoring the news, I found myself thinking that finally I had some validation as a writer. Just as quickly came thoughts of why what other people thought of my writing was so important to me. I started to question where the treasures of my heart were stored.
Winning contests and having people like your writing is not a bad thing. God has given us this talent, and I don’t think He minds that other people recognize us for a job well done. My question for myself was more along the lines of why this little success was so thrilling to me. Did I want to win so that God would be glorified? Or did I want to win to show people how good I am?
Validation is a funny thing. It’s not unnatural for us to want to be good at what we do. If we write and people never read our stories, blogs, books, and articles, then we can’t accomplish what God has given us to do. So, we need to make sure we’re learning and growing our skills, as well as sharing our work. It becomes a problem when we live for those ego strokes instead of knowing we’re doing what God has called us to do.
I’ve found some ways to counteract the headiness of our success.
- Remember to thank God as part of your celebration. This is a no-brainer, but it’s easy to get caught up in the happiness and forget that we didn’t do this alone. God is still the author of our success and our failures. He deserves the credit since without Him our words don’t have the weight they do.
- Be humble. The hard times and failures come just as easily as the successes. Keep your wits about you and know that the next time it could be you on the sidelines. Taking your wins gently can help you weather your failure better. This one win, whether a big one or a small one like mine, doesn’t mean you’ve arrived. It just means you’ve done this task very well.
- Pray. Our strength, hope, and talent come from the Lord. He should be our guide on this journey. When we continue to reach out to Him, we are better equipped to handle what comes next, be it an award or a rejection.
Validation is a heady thing. It can pull us off track if we’re seeking it from the wrong things and people. As long as God is proud of what we’ve written and declared it good, we shouldn’t need anyone else to do that for us. We are enough and our writing is enough if it comes from a place of humbleness before the Lord.Validation is a heady thing. It can pull us off track if we’re seeking it from the wrong things and people. #ACFWBlogs #writing #writingtips #pubtips Click To Tweet
Tammie Fickas loves a good story. A former columnist for the Broken but Priceless magazine, she also has an essay in the anthology, God’s Provision in Tough Times. Tammie loves Jesus, her daddy, her sassy cat, Wilson, corny jokes, and encouraging people to step out to experience abundant life.