Why Him? Why Her? Why Not Me?


by Normandie Fischer



Comparisons are invidious.

In her recent Novel Rocket post How
the Writing Zone is a Lot Like the Twilight Zone
,
Edie Melson called comparison “a death trap for writers.” But how do we avoid
them?
Someone is always higher up whatever ladder we’re trying to
scale. And I mean always. I read that
one U.S. president wanted to be head of the UN. Recent UN decisions have made
it seem as if its leaders have an eye on elevation to the Godhead. Bestselling
authors strive to be mega-sellers. Mega-sellers want to keep their top-dog
position and be the biggest mega on the ladder.

And then there are the rest of us. My little bestseller moment
lasted just that, a moment, because it was an Amazon rating, and we all know
what those are worth. To fall off that ladder rung, all we need is someone
else’s book to garner that BookBub ad or to become a Kindle First Pick. So, no
time for polishing our nails against our shirt.

Would I like to be on the NY Times list? Would I? (Well, yes… I might as well be
honest.)
I’m sure you’ve seen the discussions about what’s selling, what
will be the next big thing, how we as writers can tap into that perfect idea to achieve writerly
greatness. We check out covers of the bestsellers and hope ours match up. We
consider switching genres to catch the rising tide on our way to fame. We
scurry around at conferences, hoping the agent
or editor of that bestselling author will think we have the same potential. We
squint at the person in our midst whose sales enabled her to buy her dream car
or the woman whose work supports her aging parents.
And we close our eyes and send up a “Hey, God, I’ll do that!
I’ll give away more than my ten percent if You’ll just let me be like her!” Or like him.
We’re not even asking to be like the mega-bestseller who has
blasted his way through a  town, corrupting others in his wake while he hits the Times’ list with every single book. Because, really, who wants
to sell his soul on the way to wealth?
And yet what are we doing? Bargaining for position, wanting
to press past others so the world will look at us, so we’ll be someone.
Think about it.
What if we could achieve that level of fame by writing one thing
when what we really want to do, what we feel called to write, is something
entirely different? What if fame is not part of our assignment?
What do I mean by our assignment? And why would I talk about
it? I mean, God can use all things
for His glory, can’t He? Why can’t He use our
words and make them great?
I think He can and does, but only if we’re doing what we’ve
been given to do.
I remember being promoted at a very young age to senior
editor over the heads of several women and a man who’d been at the game much
longer than I, and how stunned I subsequently felt at the backbiting and
jealousy my promotion incurred. I also remember living in a small village house
that was in dire need of repair—you
should have seen me, pregnant and standing on a stool to sand the ceiling of
what would be the master bedroom. Well, there was a house that I passed every
day. A green farmhouse with a green barn and lovely green pastures surrounding
it. I coveted that house. I mean, coveted
it. Every day, I’d drive by and ask God why I couldn’t have something that
lovely.
And, one day, I heard that still small voice speak to me: “I
want you to begin thanking Me for giving that house to the woman who lives in
it.”
Oh, man, I was supposed to thank God that I didn’t own it and
she did? 
Yes. I’m sorry to say I was.
So, every day I’d drive by and repeat my grudging and obedient thanks that she owned it and I had my pitiful little village house and my sanding jobs and my
painting jobs. And, finally, the day came when I actually was
thankful.
God taught me in real time about not coveting. Later,
when He told me to thank Him that someone else got a position in His courts I wanted, I started in obedience and ended in joy.
You and I may long to hold some ranking on the bestseller
list that seems to be withheld from us. But I’ve learned that God has a purpose
in it all. As long as we’re doing the thing we’re
called to do, as long as we look at our writing as a gift we’re to cherish and
nurture and help to grow into something lovely, then it will land where it
ought to land. Where the Lord we purport to trust has chosen for it to land.And we can thank Him for doing with it as He wills. Not as we will. I’m sure we can learn things from those who have made it,
but maybe our making it means
something entirely different. Maybe our journey is more about obedience and
peace. Maybe it’s more about finding joy where we’re placed than about raking in the big bucks and the huge accolades.
Think about it. Do you waste time comparing your success
to others’? Or do you try to grow exactly where you’re planted, waiting for the
new green shoots to come up every season as you touch the people you’re
supposed to touch?
Talk to me. I need to know I’m not alone in this.
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Normandie studied sculpture in Italy before receiving her BA, summa cum laude with special honors in English. Known for her women’s fiction—Becalmed (2013), Sailing out of Darkness (2013), and Heavy Weather (2015) and now Two from Isaac’s House (2015) and its prequel novella, From Fire into Fire (2016). Normandie and her husband spent a number of years on board their 50-foot ketch, Sea Venture, sailing in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico. They now live in coastal North Carolina, where she takes care of her aging mother.
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