The grass isn’t always greener

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

10 thoughts on “The grass isn’t always greener”

  1. Joy,

    I absolutely loved this. The only thing is. I saw a couple of places where it could have stopped and instead of being one long piece it could have been about three. This is not meant to be a harsh criticism. It's just that you had so much in it, and I wanted to stop and savor it.

    1. Thank you, Anne. I see what you mean about its length. It may have stretched a bit in the compiling as I added and tweaked over a few weeks. Maybe shorter and spread out is the way to go? I really appreciate your constructive criticism. Sometimes, despite a lot of editing, it can be hard to know when to stop! Xx

  2. Joy, this spoke to me loud and clear and I found myself emotional as I read it. You said exactly what was on my heart and you said it beautifully; I know Exactly What You Mean about reading someone else's words and wondering why I should bother with my writing when it's already been said, and said (in my eyes) so much better than I could say it.
    I think you are right when you say that there is room for all the different voices, different takes on the same subject. It's just sometimes hard to believe, isn't it? We are called to be the body of Christ and even though I know that I might be an elbow (and isn't life difficult if your elbow doesn't work?) I look at the wrist, or the knee or the thumb and I wish that I was like them.
    You do your thing (and you do it so, so well) and they can do theirs and I'll do mine. We'll complement each other instead of comparing ourselves, shall we? We'll cheer each other on instead of wishing we were all the same.
    Well, that's my plan, anyway!
    Thank you so much for this beautifully honest, vulnerable piece. The angels are smiling and I am quite sure that God is speaking through you to all of us. We should listen.
    Bless you.

    1. Helen, I was really touched by your prayerful thoughts in a similar vein recently and each time we read of these things it is to be hoped that the message will finallly hit home ~ we are enough, we count, we are important in the whole scheme of things and each has a part to play.
      Yet I also know your wistfulness over how well another person carries out their particular role and how easy it is to feel 'less than' another. I wholeheartedly support your action plan. Yes, let's cheer and encourage one another, give compliments without worrying whether we receive any in return and avoid the deadly trap of comparisons! You do your own sweet and lovely thing, others do theirs and I do mine. All part of God's great and glorious plans for our own lives and to promote the work of His kingdom. Blessings and love, my fellow writing friend. Xx 🙂

  3. Thank you Joy for sharing this – I have often found myself doubting/questioning myself, in awe of others, worrying my way/my words are not good enough.
    Sometimes when I read your words Joy, I feel as if you are speaking directly to me, as if you've heard my doubts and you're responding to them (reassuring) – heard my questions and answering.
    That has to come from God – don't you think? I feel in my heart that it does and it's incredibly comforting.
    You have a wonderful God given gift and you're using it (I believe) in just the way God intended you too

    God bless you lovely friend

    Kimmie x

    1. Thank you, KImmie. I'm so pleased this resonated with you too! Yes, we pour out words and they can feel as light as trickle or heavy as downpour. It can be hard to judge their effect or worth. We are probably our own worst critics! If God has taken this offering and blessed others in the process then I am delighted by that. We pray; we ponder; we type. And He uses it all somehow. Your gifitng won't look like mine, nor mine like another's. Having faith and trust in the uniqueness of our anointing is part of the way we gather courage enough to share it. God bless you too, lovely, encouraging friend! Xx 🙂

  4. This is beautiful! I had a long comment but it got deleted. I just want to say thank you for your faithfulness to this piece and for your words here. They reached where they were meant to. I struggle with this and it's not been pretty. Thank you!

    1. Hi Amber. Thanks very much for stopping by. It's lovely to meet you! Sorry to hear Blogger commenting has been a nuisance. Thank you for persevering and leaving a sweet comment anyway! It cheers my heart to know this message needed to be said. Comparison is a struggle for all of us at times. Blessings 🙂 x

  5. This. "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?" usual.

Your words matter. I'd love to hear from you.