Let me tell you one of my absolute favorite reasons for attending writers conferences. Not only do I get to hang with my awesome friends whose minds work a good bit like mine, not only do I get to take classes from really smart people who become awesome friends, and not only do I get to network with awesome industry professionals who encourage and give me guidance,
I get respect.
I’ve got a few bylines, great connections, and a job in publishing which means people approach me as a professional. Newbies ask me for advice and they want to talk this motherhood-writing-publishing-loving Jesus gig with me as if I know some secret they don’t.
Here’s what I know. I’m not all that and a bag of chips.
I’m a harried mom who has never really learned the art of simply playing with my kids.
I’m a stretched writer because I want to fulfill my creative endeavors and pay my bills.
I’m a published author because of grace and maybe a little raw talent, but mostly a whole lot of right place at the right time.
Yeah, definitely not as together as I’d like to appear.
Two Saturdays ago I taught an online class about finding time to write. I had tried and true tips, funny anecdotes, and good connections to pass on to these writers.
But this past Saturday afternoon I cried hot streaming tears so hard and so fast, my daughters rubbed my shoulders and told me to just take my computer into the bedroom and close the door and work.
Because I had run out of time to finish edits to my never-existing satisfaction and my morning had not gone as planned and it’s the first week of summer and I’d gotten up early every day to work and I was so, so tired.
When I spoke with my editor she gave me some beautiful advice. “God doesn’t want your perfection, Lindsey. He wants your excellence.”
There’s a difference.
Perfection doesn’t exist for flawed, broken people. We can’t be perfect because that unattainable quality is reserved for the great Creator God. What we can be is givers of excellence, strivers of offering only our best, lovers of good works that resonate with souls.
And perfection actually doesn’t resonate with mine.
So I quit fiddling for now and sent in my manuscript. And I got a lot honest with myself. I’m terrified of the expectations I’ve heaped upon this book. But all I can do is the best I have right now, at this moment.
And that might not be good enough for some people. Everyone’s not going to love this novel that’s getting birthed from a small publishing house with a lot of wise people helping me along this journey.
Sort of like, everyone doesn’t read this blog. Everyone doesn’t think I’m all that. Everyone doesn’t believe I really have it all together.
And those might be the people I’m most grateful for. Because they push me to strive beyond my “good enough” and find that place where I can be excellent. And then they challenge me to find it over and over, again and again.
But never expect perfection. That’s a death trap of comparison and joy-stealing and self-hatred.
Perfection belongs to Christ. And we belong to Him.