Sunday, February 19, 2012

"You Have No Idea . . ."

I just finished teaching at a writer’s seminar, where I got to connect with many friends that I only see once or twice a year. One thing that I love about this seminar is the opportunities to connect with writers that I originally met as beginners, when I critiqued their manuscript or they took one of my workshops.

This year I had the fun of spending some time with a friend that I critiqued last year. We have kept in touch all year and recently celebrated over her first published story. Knowing that we might not get time to talk once the seminar began, she helped me set up for my first workshop so we could catch up a little. She told me how much last year’s critique had meant to her.

“You believed in me,” She said, “You have no idea how huge that was for me.”

Having someone who didn’t even know her say, “You’re a good writer. You can do this!” gave her the courage to attend a big conference a month later and start submitting her work.

What this precious friend doesn’t realize is that her thank-you was equally as huge for me. I often catch myself doubting if my writing, teaching, and attempts to help other writers really make a difference. That night, as I tackled my usual pre-workshop fears (What if no one shows up? What if I fumble over my presentation?), God used her words to remind me that what I did mattered—that even when I felt lost in a sea of successful writers, I was impacting others.

When our goals don’t seem to be working out and life is spinning in a direction that we didn’t sign up for, it’s tempting to think that God has us on hold—that He has decided not to use us for any great purpose after all. That moment in the empty workshop room reminded me that God has a way of using us when we aren’t looking. He used my I hope this helps her comments to show a new writer that she had something powerful to say; then He used her gratitude to send the same message back to me.

If you are struggling over whether you make a difference, just know that your life is much more impacting than you realize. While you wait for God to send you a reminder, why not take the time to thank someone who have you courage, confidence, or strength when you needed it most. It’s possible that she really needs to hear, “You have no idea how huge that was for me.”

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