Concerning the latter, I had convinced myself that if only I could secure a reputable agent, the search for validation would be over. If someone in this business was convinced I had what it took to make it as an author, then bam. I’d need no other encouragement. I could soar—forever perhaps—on this one person’s belief of my worth.
Strange, but I should have recognized the falsehood of this thinking after I won ACFW’s Genesis contest in the Historical Category. For hadn’t I told myself many times that if only I could final or win a prestigious contest (such as this one!) I’d be validated as a writer?
Oh, how quickly I forget.
Last month, it was my extreme pleasure to sign with agent Susan Brower of the Natasha Kern Literary Agency.
So there. I did it. I should feel validated as a writer. And for about three days I did. No one could bring me down or convince me otherwise. If Susan Brower liked my book, then who cared what anyone else thought.
As I printed out my manuscript to give to an important beta reader, doubts about my worth as a writer poked hard once again. What if she didn’t like it? What if she said she hated my writing and my book?
That’s when I realized my doubts would always be there. I could gain a multi-book contract…and they’d still be there. I could win a handful of awards…and they’d still be there. I could make it to a bestseller list…and they’d still be there.
And the reality is, there will always be someone who will not like my writing, or my books. There will always be someone who thinks my books are not spiritual enough, someone who thinks my books are too spiritual. Someone who doesn’t like my characters or my plots or how I string three words together.
So what’s a writer to do?
What I always have to remind myself to do—preach the gospel to myself. I can’t root my worth in my writing. Or being a good mother, wife, or daughter. I can’t even base my worth on being a good follower of Jesus because I will always fall short there as well.
What I can do is base my worth in Jesus himself, and all He has already done for me. This Christmas season I can remember that Christ was born to make me worthy. He died to make me worthy. And today, He still lives to make me worthy.
“Christmas highlights the inescapable fact that no matter how hard we try, we can’t do it. Apart from the Incarnation we are left to our own bankrupt resources. But at the same time it shows us Jesus, who came to liberate us from the pressure of having to fix ourselves (and others!), find ourselves, and free ourselves. He came to relieve us of the burden we inherently feel “to get it done” and make it on our own. He came to set us free from the need to secure for ourselves the affection and approval we long for but cannot attain.”
~Tullian Tchividjian, Christmas for the Weary and Heavy-Laden
Heidi Chiavaroli writes History Woven in Grace. She is a wife, mother, disciple, and grace-clinger. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and has finaled in the Genesis contest and My Book Therapy’s Frasier contest.