Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Solid Dose of Reality

My poor fiance. . . I have really been a challenge for the last week. He really is a trooper, and I just need to say thanks to him right now for being such a great encourager to me tonight. Love you, Mighty Man! :)

So, a couple of months ago, I made the big decision to leave my full-time job and start doing independent editing and writing work. It was a step that both me and the MM believe was the right one according to the Lord's leading, and I still feel that confirmation today. While I miss my FCA family, I know this is where I'm supposed to be.

However, as with all major changes in life, I've stumbled across a new crop of challenges as a result. There have been a few obvious ones such as where my little independent self will get her next paycheck, but there also have been a few issues that I didn't expect. One major one? The blow I would get to my pride.

When I launched out into this world of independent editing and writing, I was all fired up to do what I felt I was created to do: edit the work of others, making it clear and sharp, while also writing my own projects on the side. Easy enough, right? Of course! There was plenty of market for it, and I had tons of experience! Who wouldn't want me to write for them or edit their materials?

Now, before you think I'm absolutely desperate, I will say that the Lord has so graciously provided some contract writing projects that I'm enjoying. Through a few connections, I've been able to stay busy by writing web content and helping small business owners get great text for their online projects. I really love serving them in that way, and it's been a blast.

However, when it has come to the area of editing and writing major projects like books--which is really what I eventually want to do--I've hit a few speed bumps. I sent out resumes and emails to some of the publishers that I was connected to through FCA thinking that my credentials would get me in the door, only to be informed that no one needs editors right now. Not even experts like THE Jill Ewert.

Seriously. That's how I felt! Until this week, I totally thought I was serious business! I didn't realize it, but I totally found myself thinking, "Come on! I was the magazine editor for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes! I interviewed Tony Dungy, Albert Pujols and Drew Brees for crying out loud. Doesn't anybody know this about me? I'm legit!"

Oh, sister. Take a good look in the mirror and get real.

Honestly, it was almost more humbling to realize my depth of pride than to be rejected by the publishers. I couldn't believe how highly I thought of myself and how much gratification I had gotten from my career. Now I'm realizing that just like everything else it can all change in a day. And that I'm just human.

So, over the past few days and hours, I've learned a little something. While it's good to recognize your own gifts and skills and work to maximize them, it's important to know that they don't define you. God gives you worth and value based on the fact that you are His child. Period. The gifts He gives you are to be used to bring Him glory, not to bring you false identity. If we lose perspective on that, we'll wind up depressed and discouraged when these gifts are challenged by life circumstances. And, trust me, they will be.

I think God does that on purpose so that we won't get too big for our britches and, instead, will keep Him in mind as the Giver of these gifts. It's not that He wants to level us, but that He wants to protect us from false self-sufficiency. When we start worshipping our gifts and talents (and really ourselves), we forget that we need Him at all. Then, when life throws us one of its inevitable curveballs, we get crushed emotionally and mentally by the loss of our security and identity.

The truth and reality is that God is IT. He's the only thing that doesn't change, won't let us down and remains totally and completely constant. Our jobs won't last forever. Our health will come and go. Our relationships will hit highs and lows. But God and His love will remain the same no matter what. And never are we more able to see this than when our false sources of identity are challenged. Thank God.

Today, as I snack on my humble pie, I'm trying to focus on the positives of this whole thing. Thank God that He showed me my false identity and my pride. Otherwise, I would have continued to believe the lie that my gifts and career somehow gave me value. I'm sure I'll still struggle with it as seasons change, but at least for now I'm aware of His truth and love in a greater way. Thanks, Lord.

Have a great week, y'all! :)
- Jill

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