If I’d been a fly on the wall at the Last Supper, I’d have got pretty irritated with the disciples. There was Jesus, reminding them about how he was going to suffer – having been betrayed by one of their number – and explaining that in future they should share bread and wine as a remembrance of him. And what were the disciples doing at this pivotal moment in human history? Arguing about who among them was the greatest.
It’s easy to tut-tut and shake our heads at their immature behaviour; but I suspect that most of us are guilty of playing the comparison game from time to time. The media bombards us with unrealistic images of how we should look, while advertisements are carefully crafted to make us dissatisfied with our lot. Before we realise it, we’re measuring ourselves against others, thinking that life would be perfect if only we had a size eight figure, a designer wardrobe and a fortnight’s holiday in the Bahamas every summer.
But this attitude can cause serious (sometimes fatal) damage to our writing. It stifles creativity and suffocates the calling God has placed on us. While it can be helpful to look at other writers in terms of developing our skills, using their success as a yardstick for our own can be counterproductive. Measuring ourselves against other writers – as opposed to learning from them – will inevitably lead to discouragement.
I guess I need to stop comparing myself and be content with how God has made me (grey hairs and all). As far as my writing goes, that means rejoicing when others are successful, commiserating when they’re not…and being satisfied with what God calls me to do. I’d love to write a best-selling novel or pen a devotional that will draw millions of people closer to Jesus; but if I never do, it won’t lessen my value in God’s eyes. I am acceptable to him just as I am.
So, as Oscar Wilde once said: Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.
Fiona Lloyd works part-time as a music teacher, and serves on the worship leading team at her local church. She enjoys writing short stories, and is working on her first novel. Fiona self-published a violin tutor book in 2013, and blogs at www.fjlloyd.wordpress.com. She is married with three grown-up children. Fiona is ACW's membership secretary.