Monday, February 4, 2013

The Ugly Duckling of a Writer

"We find all sorts of ways to take away [distract] from the gift God gave us," Patsy Clairmont stated in her talk at Women of Faith in 2007. My women's group recently watched these dvds, and I thought how timely her message was for my post today.

Before I heard Patsy speak, I was going to title this post, "Distractions: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly". The good being our other gifts from God: our family, our ministries, etc. Sometimes, when these distract us from our writing, it's a needed time to step away. For the bad distractions, I wanted to mention social media. Cringe. Yes, don't hate me, but sometimes social media (Facebook, blogs, pinterest...etc.) is a bad distraction. While it isn't "bad" in itself, when you've carved out a time to write then click over to surf your newsfeed, the distraction will be detrimental to your writing.
I wanted to finish my original post with the "ugly"--what is inside of us that distracts us from our writing: our insecurities, our laziness, our striving to push along the process to publication.

Well, God is amazingly faithful in speaking to me about what NEEDS to be said, and when I heard Patsy Clairmont speak, I realized that there was a lot more to be said about the "ugly" than what I first intended. A whole post-ful.

"It's not who you are, but what you're going to become." -Patsy Clairmont

Do you ever sit at your computer and have an internal battle against the distracting whispers of "I'm not good enough," and "what was I thinking"? Perhaps you're not a writer after all? Perhaps you are an ugly duckling, trying to be a swan? This is a deeply rooted distraction from our writing, and can send us into a spiraling chasm of fear and stagnation.

Patsy so poignantly said the above quote when referring to an example in the Old Testament. When the angel came to Gideon in Judges, the angel called Gideon, "a mighty man of power," Gideon was distracted from this amazing visitor by his own insecurity, declaring that he is no man of power because he's from the weakest clan. God is bigger though. God called him to a higher calling. He knew Gideon would be powerful, and if Gideon wasn't distracted by his insecurities and leaned on his faith in God, then he wouldn't need to be convinced by the angel in the first place.

God is El Roi, the God who sees. He sees your insecurities and disabilities, but He also is the giver of your gift to write, and He knows His higher purpose for bestowing that gift upon you.
What is so beautiful about this, is that God sees the "swan" that will come from the ugly duckling. A duckling is still learning to swim, to fish, to make it in the great big pond. But if the duckling gets distracted by his mistakes and struggles, then he can't grow to be a self-sufficient duck. What would his Father think if he continued to ignore his purpose, and focused only on the growing pains along the way? And imagine his surprise, when His Heavenly Father promised him more than life as a duck, but the beauty of a glorious swan? God has so much more in store for us than we could ever imagine! Power to a weak man like Gideon, life-changing words to a growing writer like YOU!

When we are distracted from our gift because of our own insecurity, then we are telling God that our Flesh is greater than our Spirit. We are leaning into a lie, not a promise. Ultimately, our ugly distraction becomes a broken trust in God's ability to use us through our writing.

God has great plans for us, and if we allow Him to work through us by weeding out our internal distractions and standing firm in our calling to write, then His promise to bring about His glory through our gift, will begin to sprout copious amounts of fruit! Without that internal distraction, imagine how efficiently you will grow as a writer.
 Don't let your "ugly duckling" syndrome stop you from venturing onward into the waters of His glory. Push aside the distraction.
This type of distraction is disobedience.
Might God whisper, "Obey while I'm fixing you."** Give your gift your full attention, and God will prune away those tawny feathers and promise you the beauty of a glorious swan.

**This quote is from Patsy Clairmont's talk. She is so wise! :)

Angie Dicken first began writing fiction as a creative outlet during the monotonous days of diapers and temper tantrums. She is passionate to impress God's love on women regardless of their background or belief. This desire serves as a catalyst for Angie's fiction, which weaves salvation and grace themes across historical cultures and social boundaries. Angie is an ACFW member and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.


Kathleen Bosman said...

What an encouraging post and a perfect analogy! Thank you.

Angie said...

Thanks, Kathleen! Have a wonderful day!

Julia M. Reffner said...

Wow, what a wonderful and convicting post for me, Angie. Thank you for writing this. I will need to read this again and digest it further because I know God is speaking to me through it.

"But if the duckling gets distracted by his mistakes and struggles, then he can't grow to be a self-sufficient duck."

Wow,this line just hit me between the eyes because it is where I am more often than I would like to admit and sometimes I do let it cripple me from my own growth.

Elisabeth Pettifor said...

I wanted to add something, but I can't, you were far too thorough.
I confess... I'm online right now when I ought to be writing because I am dealing with those insecurities.
If God led you to write this post for no one else, it was for me, and I thank him for leading you to write it. And thank you for following his lead.
Okay, I guess I'd better get back to work...

Jeanne T said...

Angie, what a beautiful post. Thanks for the encouragement and the exhortation. I must remember that GOD called me to write. He gave me the stories, and surrounded me with people to help and encourage me on the way. It's not all about me, but about Him, and what He wants to do in and through me. I've told many people that walking this writing road has made me much more dependent upon God--especially for my identity--who I am in him. I'm his girl, whom he delights in and loves passionately. He loved me enough to give me stories to write--for his glory and one day, for others' edification.

I needed your thoughts today, thank you, Angie.

Angie said...

Julia, I find myself tripping up on my flaws and it takes me two steps back...I've got to get it into my head that I am growing and not shrinking! HA!

Angie said...

Elisabeth, It sounds like the conviction you gleaned today only validates that you were meant to write! I am glad that God spoke to your heart through this post!

Angie said...

Jeanne, IF for nothing else, I feel like this writing journey has been for my own spiritual growth, and if publication remains out of reach, I realize that God is showing me His mighty faithfulness and love for me through it. You are so right in your identity coming from Him! May we never forget!

Lindsay Harrel said...

Beautiful thoughts, friend!

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Thoughtful and inspiring, as always! love this illustration!