As Autumn segues into Winter all becomes bare, barren and bleak.

Grass scrubby and yellow-patched, lifeless, worn and torn.

Loosened leaves now drift disconsolately on the ground.

Signs of death outweigh signs of life and vitality.

 There is little inclination to look enviously upon our neighbour’s gardens as we may have done a few months ago.

The grass is not necessarily greener on the other side. Yet how often we look askance at our own patchy lives and look with longing, if not concealed envy, upon the lives of others.
If only… haunts our nights and days.
Restlessness ensues and deep dissatisfaction invades. Surely life was meant to consist of more than This?

My life has mirrored those leaves of late ~ feeling like a dry, barren, lifeless husk with some faint semblance of colour, life and vitality within, yet fragile as a crunched and withered leaf.

Though I take heart at those times when creativity sparks more as wobbly wick than steady flame, that a bruised reed he will not break and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out.

It is all too easy to feel dried out inside when we are ill, weak and weary. Pain leaches life and vitality.

Then our art, gifting and writing can seem as arid as leaves on cold ground. Dead. Lifeless. Surplus to requirements.

As Christian writers who believe we have a calling, anointing and equipping to produce a fitting piece of work for the glory of God, how do we (or should we even attempt) to judge what we do?

Is there any value in checking out other voices in one’s area of interest, ability and expertise? Perhaps excellence observed may stir a call to excellence within us?

It can often work that way; only sometimes envy, jealousy or discouragement rises instead.

A step back is required. Re-evaluation.

After all, this isn’t about you, or Them, or me either.

It’s not about talent, success, lucky breaks or the lack thereof.

No. This is about God. Period. His will, His ways, His purposes, His plans are all individual and unique like we are too.

God’s anointing and gifting are custom-made to fit our personalities, interests and abilities.

There is no shortage. As writers/bloggers/poets we have a large lake of literature into which we may only dip timid toes as we observe the brave and bold ones cresting the waves or swimming confidently before us.

Yet who’s to say what impression our own efforts will leave upon the sands of time? 

“We ourselves feel that what we’re doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop” ~ Mother Teresa

You and I may feel we’re just paddling listlessly in shallow waters, but we still make a ripple if not a huge splash.

Believe me, my friend, your output is not lost in God’s eyes. He sees and applauds the effort in all areas, the faithfulness, prayers, sacrifice of time and energy.

You are not invisible to Him in your seemingly small corner and any work surrendered to Him is multiplied at His hands, for one person plus God is a majority.

And God will use every crumb you produce. He’ll ensure you get noticed, your words and thoughts will reach their intended audience ~ be it a handful or thousands.

And He’ll bless it all abundantly from here into eternity.

Your part ~ and mine ~ is to brave the chilly waters and dive in, knowing His arms are ready to catch, support and hold us safe.

That other artist/writer/blogger/poet/colleague you admire and aspire to be won’t look, work, sound or express themselves like you. They won’t have the same history, background or experiences of life or faith.

You may as well compare chalk and cheese, apples and pears, soft and hard.

It’s the differences we enjoy. It’s the differences that make them fit for their purpose.

So you can ‘go compare’ other things if you wish, (including markets and meercats) but please don’t do that with your writing, gifting, talents. That way lies sadness and madness.

Comparison is the thief of joy and who wants to lose any joy? I know I don’t.  

It is really hard for me to let my own words sink in and truly believe and receive them. My background made negativity and insecurity a way of life for many years.

Now, I am determined to seize whatever blessing God has got for me. And that means not allowing myself to become derailed by discouragement or cut short by comparisons.

I want to breathe easy, inhale and exhale grace, live free from insecurity, anger, jealousy, bitterness and resentment. 

But I cannot do any of that without seeing the danger zones and making sure I live as close as possible to God’s will for my life, seeking a daily supply of His grace, refreshment and strength to keep me ‘lively’ for His purposes.

Will you join me? Only you can do the best job of being you by God’s grace.

We can encourage one another on this journey.

You are already special, loved, chosen by God to do great works He prepared for you to do.

You count ~ far more than you’ll ever know.

You matter ~ to God and to others.

You are beyond compare.

**Confession** ~ This has taken me a few weeks to write due to several health challenges. And as I was preparing the draft for it I read several beautiful blog posts on a very similar theme. Oh dear! Immediately, negative thoughts invaded peace of mind. What could I write after reading THIS?

God answered with these words which I hope and pray will bless you too:

it doesn’t matter what someone else has written, however good it is. The important thing to remember is this ~ your way of expressing yourself, writing style and reachable audience is unique to you. And there is more than enough room for multiple voices. Each one will say or do things differently but in the way i intend them to. Your task is to remain faithful to that calling“.

Linking here with Jennifer and Emily