Thursday, July 13, 2006

Christy Reflections

Winning a Christy Award is a nice thing, and I truly appreciate it. But it also and inevitably causes me to reflect.

On the one hand there is much made of it, and on the other, it hardly matters at all. On the one hand, it's a nice affirmation of my writing from people who have some sort of credibility when it comes to evaluating such things. On the other, there are accomplished writers who have yearned for an award like this for years, and when they go home not having won it, they are struck with discouragement and depression that may last for days, weeks, maybe even months. Suddenly they feel that they cannot write, that not winning is a condemnation of their abilities and identities as writers.

All of which gets me thinking about the vulnerability of a confidence derived from our own good performances or from the recognition of others for them. That sort of confidence is only as good as the last performance or recognition. What if our next attempt at performing goes haywire, or the next response of someone is critical and condemning. Then what?

True confidence, I have learned, comes not from what we think of ourselves or what others say of us, but from knowing and believing what the word of God says about us: that we are completely accepted in the Beloved; that He already sees us as perfect and holy and we cannot make ourselves any holier than we already are. Our holiness comes not from anything we do, but from our being in union with Him and having his righteousness. A righteousness given to us by grace... Believing and contemplating those truths are what make us truly confident -- not in ourselves but in our relationship with Him.

I've heard people accept awards like this and say there are others who deserve to win it more. I disagree. I think the Bible is pretty clear about the fact that none of us deserve anything at all. These awards, when all is said and done, come because God chooses to give them, not because we've written a good book. He may grant them for blessing, because He knows we have the capacity to receive them without thinking that we did something to earn them, or he may grant them for other reasons -- sometimes to show us that these things we are so sure will make us happy and satisifed and fulfilled ultimately fall short.

The best thing about this award is that I see it not so much as an affirmation of my ability (which He gave me, anyway), but of His hand in it all. Of the fact that a year or so ago when I was struggling through the end of Shadow Over Kiriath, not at all sure that the book was working in any way, I had only the fact that I had sought the Lord's guidance in writing it, and knew that He has promised to guide those who have remained faithful to his word and who come to Him and ask. By extension I can apply that to the present book, which is also in that nebulous, awkward, ugly, not quite formed stage, and know that He will make it beautiful and meaningful in His time. Not because of anything in me, but because I'm trusting Him to do it, and He keeps His promises. The Christy award, for me, is a symbol of that.

For who regards you as superior? And What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it (ie, had earned it)? I Co 4:7

In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end. Otherwise, you might say in your heart, 'My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.' But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth... Deut 8: 16-18