I pick the most inopportune times to have personal epiphanies and convictions. My thoughts lately have focused on the importance/use/purpose of talent. I decided to tuck my thoughts into a cozy corner of my blog so that I might have a (semi-)permanent reminder of them.
Tired and vulnerable to such things, I began a useless comparison of my own writing to someone else’s – I’ll never write like her. I’ll never have the magic she does, the twist of words, the gentle magic of imagery. This corrosive wave of envy lapped up over the shores of my own self-confidence and began to eat it away. (Though I have been on a journey to destroy my self-confidence – or at least the notion of it. That, however, is a different story.) I held the product of my talent up to someone else’s, compared them, and found mine objectively wanting.
I skipped a few more steps down that shadowy path and slapped a label reading “failure” on my forehead. (Metaphorically, because I enjoy overusing metaphors. (One of the several reasons my writing suffers, coincidentally.)) The next few steps that I eyed speculatively were “cast self on the floor in despair” and “give up writing altogether.” I’m lazy (another one of those reasons), so I did and plan to do neither of those things.
Fine, so I’m not the best writer in the world, nor even am I the best writer among my peers and friends. So what? I’ll survive. The problem is that I (like so many other people) have a craving to be extraordinary. I don’t want to be good. I don’t want to even be impressive. I want to be amazing. Unfortunately, however, the ability to lie convincingly to myself did not come along with the desire to be extraordinary.
I’m not extraordinary and, barring two things (one: a direct miracle of God and two: dedicating the rest of my life to the pursuit of improving my writer – the former assuring results, the latter only possibly doing so), I never will be. Ahhh, the things that inspire my progress this NaNoWriMo season.
Today’s takeaway: you’re not special and don’t try to be.
Wait, no, that’s not what I was going for. What I’ve come to realize in tandem with the distressing certainty that I’ll never be an extraordinary writer/singer/painter/mathematician/literally anything is that it doesn’t matter. Even if my talent was extraordinary, it would never be big enough to fill the gap of wanting I have.
What I’m lacking is larger than anything I could create.
But that is also irrelevant. (I like having irrelevant thoughts that lead me to actually important thoughts.) My talent (unextraordinary though it is) is for a purpose and it’s not for satisfying myself or making me feel accomplished (even though it could never do that either). I write (and think and read and do math and stand on my head) for two related purposes: to love others and to serve and glorify God.
Maybe if I cultivate my talent I can do that better. Maybe something I write will serve another person and through that, bring glory to God. Perhaps simply enough, my trying and failing will show the God of all my days that I love and desire to obey Him. Whatever the case, I am satisfied.
I am unextraordinary – perhaps if the title were handed out based on the skill of the person in their trade, “writer” would not apply to me. In all likelihood, I will never accomplish anything noteworthy in the field of writing. If I’m never content to rest in my talent, if I never see a piece of my writing published, if no one ever tells me that a piece of my writing has moved them, made them laugh, made them think, I am yet satisfied.
My small and broken talent is for the One who gave it to me, the One who gave me courage to pursue it, the One who gave me love to share it with others, the One who gave me faith to remember from Whom I come. It’s all His – He is extraordinary, and it is that truth which I cry aloud.