Have you ever seen someone excel in your area of expertise and had a defeating thought rather than a motivating one? When I was in my early years of high school I told someone that I desired to be a writer one day. This boy told me, “you’d better marry a doctor so that you have some money.” What a blow. The nerve of that boy. But I’d been raised right. My parents taught me 1) to not tell just anyone what I wanted to do when I grew up because people don’t understand and most don’t have ambition, they didn’t want me to have to test my resolve against comments like the one this boy made to me. 2) Comments like these were to motivate, not disintegrate, dreams and desires. 3) They taught me that I can do it.
Another strange thing I did in high school, when someone told me they wanted to be a writer, I would act extremely disinterested and change the subject. Something inside of me got jealous and annoyed. Writing was MY thing, they couldn’t have it! As much as I knew that many writers, not just myself, would come out of my generation, I had this strange feeling and reaction and wasn’t quite sure why I couldn’t get over it.
These are stories of my short journey as a writer. I’ve added a new story today that I wish to share. My mom sent me a link to a blog she thought I might like and I just read the post she directed me to today. It was long and beautiful and instead of thinking “this is amazing, I could write like this” my thoughts went more like this, “this is amazing, why am I even trying?” And the moment the thought entered my mind I knew it was wrong, that it was a lie, that it would only defeat me rather than lift me up. But the thought was there and as I continued reading I felt more and more like crying because I am not at this blogger’s level of writing expertise.
Have you ever felt “what’s the point?” in something you actually excelled in? Something that you are talented in, more so than your peers, but less than the experts who are 30 years older than you? I feel that way at this moment which is actually making this dreadfully much harder to write than I had anticipated.
Thought: why do we admire those who have achieved whatever it is that we determine as “success” at a young age? Why is it impressive for someone to retire at 40 years old but we don’t care at all if someone has retired at age 60 or 70? If someone has graduated college a year early, we applaud and cheer and congratulate even more than we do for the college graduate who simply graduated on time. If someone graduates high school early than they must be smarter, if someone is in a management position right out of college he must be talented, and if someone makes a lot of money by age 30 they must be rich and wise. But if someone gets married before age 25 they are foolish. Why do we applaud a person for finishing school or making money at an earlier age than we do if a person gets married? And why don’t we congratulate those who do things on time rather than early? For the retiree at age 70, what an accomplishment! His diligence in saving for all those years, his hard work showing itself and he is now reaping the benefits. He worked and toiled and showed steady, consistency and he ought to be commended for his work.
Those that bypass the journey are given far more attention than those who have put in their dues, learned much, and worked hard and diligently.
But why am I saying any of this? Because these points show that we do not value the journey. We value quick results, and success (whatever you mean by that) that is achieved quickly so that we can use the rest of our lives to get on to more important things. But if YOU retired in 5 years…what would your “more important” things be?
(I gave you 5 extra lines there to take a moment and actually consider the question I just asked)
Has a man who retires at age 70 learned more than the man who retires at 40? Has the 40 learned speed, cutting corners, quick fixes, and do-whatever-it-takes? Has the 70 learned careful diligence, learning in and of itself, taking in each day as it comes, and building relationships?
While I find myself feeling less successful, less talented, not as good, and somewhat defeated in my writing at this moment, I am considering the journey that I am on. My end goal in writing is to inspire and cause others to carefully consider what I am saying. I want to minister to people through the words I type on these pages. That cannot be done quickly or in my made-up time. It must be done through the COURSE of life. I need practice, I need to learn more, and I need life experiences to help me with both of those things, and that only comes with time. And we have been taught that time is not on our side. Oh, but it is! Time is where we learn. And learning is where we grow. And in growing is where we really achieve success.
Consider an athletic game. I think of playing soccer when I was 8 years old. No matter how the game went, the game would not end until the clock said so. Whether we were beaten badly, we had tied, or we had won by a close call or by crushing our opponents. The game would not end until one hour had been completed. So whether your scoring your goals in the first ten minutes or in the last 2 minutes, it all counts and it will still end at the same time. And how much sweeter is that victory in the last 2 minutes than it was to only score in those first ten minutes?
Time IS on our side.