I followed her advice, even though my writing wasn't very good (and still isn't up to the level I someday hope to achieve). I have always been so ashamed of my writing process, of looking at my work and knowing that it's not as good as it ought to be. But lately, my perspective has begun to shift. Instead of seeing failure, I see potential. I've begun to recognize progress instead of focusing on the things that aren't coming along as nicely as I'd like.
I have found a peace here, but I also recognize a danger. The peace comes from *embracing the process and all that it has to teach me. The danger comes from a very human inclination to fall into self-satisfaction. I have no desire to join the ranks of those who have comfortably encamped in the realm of mediocrity; who have settled for the thoughtless plaudits of a world that honors glamour more than solid worth. Approbation from others isn't my goal. If it was, I would have halted my quest for improvement a very long time ago.
I simply want to be better. Not better than you, or better than they are. I want to be better than I was before. Of course, approval from others does play into this. There are a few people who I desire to please, because their approval means that I have begun to achieve my goal. These people are the discerning ones, the wise ones, the people who don't dish out mindless praise with soup ladles. But on the whole, the approval that truly matters is the satisfaction that settles into my spirit when I look at the work of my hands and see that I have done my very best, that I have learned or achieved something new, and that God has blessed my offering.
Lately, I have become increasingly alive to the reality of Emmanuel, God with us. The idea that God is here, in the middle of my often-messy process, completely astonishes me. But since I know that He is present, I have realized that it is wrong of me to disdain my day (or month, or year) of small beginnings. His presence sanctifies my efforts, and it is only by embracing Him here and now that my work will become truly worthwhile.
What is my goal? Perfection.
Will I be able to achieve it on this side of heaven? Maybe not.
But honestly, I'm not very worried about that. I simply want to give God a broader canvas on which to paint His glory. As my skill increases, I will be giving Him a greater and better space with which to work.
Someday, His beauty and my achievement in the skills He has given me will reach a perfect unity
In the meantime, Emmanuel is here in my process, graciously working despite my flaws.
*The links are to other posts I've written on some of these topics.