Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thoughtful About . . . My Eyes on the Prize

It's a saying pretty much everyone understands, I'd think. "Keep your eyes on the prize." Keep your focus on the thing you're aiming at. The finish line. The trophy. The certificate of achievement. The check-off of your Bucket List.

Keep going. Keep reaching. Keep your aim true.

But what if you're aiming at the wrong prize?

A couple months ago I blogged about those Twisty Paths, and how finaling and winning or not in a contest was all part of God's plan. Well, with more finalists announced on Monday for another big fiction contest, the topic is weighing on me again.

I'm a competitive person. I hate losing and always have. And frankly, I was always one of the best in anything I really put my mind to. I was smart, I was good at art, I could master any subject in school, any instrument. You know the one thing I stank at? Sports. I just wasn't any good at them, but I wanted to run Cross Country to get in shape. So I joined the team. I did my best. And I never, not once, even came close to winning.

Thank heavens I had an awesome coach, one who understood that keeping your eyes on the prize didn't always mean winning. He told me that I was competing with myself, with my previous times. That my prize was knowing I was kicking my own rear end. And that when I did that, God was so very proud of me. 

So here I am in my career. Faced, again, with the reality of not making the cut in a contest. Am I in tears? Um, no. A little bummed? Sure. But as I sat here contemplating these wins, I heard that whisper again. The one that says, "Is winning your prize? Is a best-seller your prize? Or am I? Is touching hearts for Me?"

So here I sit. Praying with a soul laid bare that He helps me always keep my eyes firmly where they belong. On the prize. The real prize, and the only prize. The one that I can't put on a shelf or list in my bio. The one that lifts me up on those down days.

Him.

I want to thank each and every one of you who has ever taken the time to send me an email or leave me a comment letting me know my work has had some effect on you. Those, my friends, are how God often speaks to me to say, "See? This is your prize, my daughter. This is your proof that you're doing well, doing what you ought to be doing."

And I want to offer sincere congratulations to all the wonderful, gifted authors who are up for these prestigious awards. You have all earned this, and I know God has special plans for using it and you for His glory.

Man-made prizes have their place and I cheer loud as I can when a book I love wins an award. Especially when I know the author and know that their ultimate prize, too, is that "Well done, good and faithful servant" from the Lord.

But for some of us, the ones of us who might get a little too hung up on the glitter and glam of an earthly win, keeping our focus is tough--and necessary. And proof that the Lord knows what's best for us, even when it brings a little bit of a bummer.

4 comments:

  1. Roseanna, thank you. I needed this today, not because of contests, but because of other words that made me doubt my calling to write. And then I sat back and gave it once again to Him. Because that's where it belongs, isn't it? We do our best, we do with all our might whatever it is our hand finds to do. And then we must rest and trust, even if no one else ever claps for us or recognizes our work or our journey. It's in His hands. The race is to follow Him to the very best of our ability.

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    1. Exactly. Hard to remember on some day, but that's always what it comes down to.

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  2. Roseanna, my friend. Bummed with you- for a couple minutes - but so very glad for your reminder of perspective. Of what the REAL prize should be. Wish I didn't need the reminder as much as I do. Just need to remember WHY I'm here. Why I'm doing what I'm doing.

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  3. Wow! I'm getting a little teary here. This is what I needed to hear today & something I'm going to have to keep coming back too bc I've been puttingWAY to much pressure on myself. I'm trying to break the habit but it's not easy at all
    Im Looking at some thoughtful about archives & I can't wait to read more :)

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