Such a Fraud

by Marcia Lee Laycock @MarciaLaycock

Dealing with the Impostor Syndrome

Neil Gaiman once attended a gathering of some very important people. “I felt that at any moment they would realize that I didn’t qualify to be there,” he said. Later he chatted with another Neil who felt the same. “They’ve made amazing things,” he said. “I just went where I was sent. Mr. Gaiman replied, “Yes, but you were the first man on the moon. I think that counts for something.”

Many writers, and I include myself in that number, feel this way at some point – inadequate, even hypocritical. We know the struggle we’ve had to get to the place where we can call ourselves writers. We know there are many who have accomplished more, writers we would consider far beyond our level, and we sometimes feel that even our best work just isn’t good enough. I think this is the same ‘syndrome’ that hits people who are applauded for doing some kind of heroic act. Often their first thought, their first words, are, “I’m no hero.”

This can be a serious barrier to creativity. It is the same barrier that blocks many believers in Christ. We are taught that we are dust, that we are sinful, that we just don’t measure up to the holiness of Christ. All true, but we are also called children of God (John 1:12), a holy people (Colossians 1:12) and priests of the kingdom (1 Peter 2:9). The dichotomy is sometimes hard to sort out.

My husband once addressed this in one of his sermons dealing with positional sanctification and experiential sanctification – we live in the world and therefore live with our failings and our sin, but in the moment we accept Christ as our Saviour we receive the Spirit of God and are made holy and yes, perfect in Him. “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Hebrews 10:14). Experientially, we don’t live in perfection. But positionally we are “perfect … as (our) heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

It is important as believers and as writers of faith that we understand the difference and live our lives in that balance, with humility and grace. Someone once said that humility is confidence properly placed. Confidence comes from knowing who we truly are as sons and daughters of our Father. It is properly placed when we recognize who He truly is.

Believing we and the work we do has value because of our connection to Christ releases us from all the uncertainties and false humility that keep us from doing the work we are called to do. In Christ, we are released to do God’s work for God’s kingdom.

Satan’s scheme is to keep whispering that we aren’t good enough. When we hear that sibilant voice, we would do well to swat it away and remember the truth: God values us and what we do. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).


TWEETABLES

Such a Fraud by Marcia Lee Laycock (Click to Tweet)

Dealing with the Impostor Syndrome~ Marcia Lee Laycock (Click to Tweet)

Remember the truth: God values us and what we do.~ Marcia Lee Laycock (Click to Tweet)

Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor’s wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was also short listed for a Word Award. Marcia has three novels for middle grade readers and four devotional books in print and has contributed to several anthologies. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. 

Abundant Rain, an ebook devotional for writers is available on Amazon. It is also now available in Journal format. 
Her most recent release is Celebrate This Day, a devotional book for special occasions like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving. 

Sign up to receive her devotional column, The Spur

Let the Gorillas Come

by Marcia Lee Laycock

It’s somewhere in Africa. A young woman sits cross-legged on the ground, surrounded by tall grass. She has been told to sit very still. She can hear snuffling noises and now and then a grunt. When the massive head of a gorilla pokes out between the grasses, she is tempted to leap up and run. But she sits quietly. The gorilla approaches, moves around her, touches her hair, sniffs her shoulder. She remembers the instructions she was given: “No sudden movements. Keep your eyes on the ground.” 


She tries not to think of what those massive hands and arms could do to her. She tries to relax her shoulders. Slowly. Another gorilla approaches, then another. They investigate her, sit close by grooming one another before slowly ambling away. The young woman lets out her breath and smiles. She knows she has just won a great victory over fear. The adrenaline coursing through her body makes her laugh out loud.

Writing coach Natalie Goldberg wrote -“A writer must be willing to sit at the bottom of the pit, commit herself to stay there, and let all the wild animals approach, even call them up, then face them, write them down, and not run away.”

There seems to be an underlying belief among many Christians that writing about what is painful and ugly in life is somehow denying the goodness of God. That is not what the Bible teaches. Psalm 12:6 (KJV) says – “The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. “Tried in a furnace of earth.” That doesn’t sound pleasant to me. “Purified seven times.” That sounds like struggle and anguish and pain that has been forged into what is pure and wholesome.

Madeleine L’Engle once said – “It is not that what is, is not enough, for it is; it is that what is has been disarranged, and is crying out to be put in place.”

We do not write about the dark, the things born of despair, in order to glorify them, but in order to put them in their place and to recognize that there is something more, something infinitely better – there is redemption of all that is ugly and evil in this world, because of what happened on a cross at the base of a hill in a tiny country then called Palestine.

1Cor. 4:2 says – “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” I believe we have been given a trust as writers and we must be faithful to it. To make our lives of use to others we must be willing to touch those parts of ourselves that are universal, both the evil and the noble. It is when we are able to reach that level that we will produce good work, significant work, perhaps even life-changing work.

Bruce Cockburn, the Canadian song writer and poet said, “you’ve got to kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight.”

This is the work we have been given to do. May He find us faithful. 

This is the work we have been given to do. May He find us faithful.~ Marcia Lee Laycock (Click to Tweet)



Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor’s wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was also short listed for a Word Award. Marcia has three novels for middle grade readers and four devotional books in print and has contributed to several anthologies. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. 

Abundant Rain, an ebook devotional for writers is available on Amazon. It is also now available in Journal format. 
Her most recent release is Celebrate This Day, a devotional book for special occasions like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving. 

Sign up to receive her devotional column, The Spur

When Writing is Like Riding a Horse

by Marcia Lee Laycock

I’ve always been horse crazy. It took many years of begging before my mother let me learn how to ride a horse and many more after that before I owned one. I remember the day I woke up and looked out my bedroom window and saw Cheyenne grazing in the field. I almost pinched myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.
Cheyenne was a big Paint gelding. I had to stand on a box to saddle him. I used a stack of hay bales to mount. And I shook like a leaf the first few times I did it. It wasn’t that I was afraid, it was more that I was awestruck. This was a real live horse, who needed to be fed and groomed and cared for in all kinds of ways and he was now my responsibility. But then I’d put my foot in the stirrup and settle into the saddle, the reins held firmly, and with a slight movement of my hands and legs I could direct that huge animal. Cheyenne loved to run and I loved to let him. It was then I forgot all about the responsibility and just let the thrill of riding course through me.

Sometimes I still shake that way when I begin to work on a new writing project, especially a book. The task is so daunting, so huge, so important. It often leaves me a bit awestruck. I can’t help but think of the serious responsibility I have as the keeper of the gift of being a writer of faith, a writer in God’s kingdom. But then the keys begin to clack and the words begin to flow and I forget all about the responsibility. I just let the thrill of creating course through me.

I remember watching a blues singer perform on a small stage once. The man was a master of his art. He played and sang as though he were controlling a strong animal. He captivated his audience and he gloried in it. At one point, he started to nod and then he smiled. Then he laughed out loud. It had all come to together. The instruments, his voice, the eagerness of the audience. It was one big “Yes!” and he knew it.

Many have quoted that famous line from Chariots of Fire where Eric Liddell says, “When I run, I feel His pleasure.” Sometimes when I write, I sense His laughter. When I’m in the moment, in Him, tied to Him through the words that are pouring out, it is like nothing else matters. It is one big “Yes!”

I think perhaps this is what Paul meant by “in him it has always been “Yes” (2 Corinthians 1:19) – an emphatic, triumphant, laugh in the face of evil, shouted from the rooftops, “Yes!”

When we are in Christ, doing what He has called us to do, loving Him and loving the work, it will always be a joyous “Yes!”

TWEETABLES

When Writing is Like Riding a Horse by Marcia Laycock (Click to Tweet)

It wasn’t that I was afraid, it was more that I was awestruck.~ Marcia Laycock (Click to Tweet)

Eric Liddell says, “When I run, I feel His pleasure.”~ Marcia Laycock (Click to Tweet)

Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor’s wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was also short listed for a Word Award. Marcia has three novels for middle grade readers and four devotional books in print and has contributed to several anthologies. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. 

Abundant Rain, an ebook devotional for writers is available on Amazon. It is also now available in Journal format. 
Her most recent release is Celebrate This Day, a devotional book for special occasions like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving. 

Sign up to receive her devotional column, The Spur

Lesson on a Cruise Ship

by Marcia Lee Laycock

My husband and I recently returned from a cruise. It was a great trip, for the most part, but there were some things I found irritating. I often felt we were made to feel that we weren’t quite worthy of being on that ship.

One day we decided to go to an art auction. If you attended, you were automatically entered into a draw. I was a little excited when I won a gift bag. There was a watch in it that had a rather large price tag on it. That was nice. But then I realized there was also a $100.00 gift certificate included. I’d spotted something I liked in one of the boutiques. With the gift certificate I could easily afford it. So yes, I got a little excited.
Until I read the fine print. The certificate was only good at one of the high-end jewelry shops. It didn’t take long for all of us to realize that I was not going to be using that gift certificate in that shop. By the time I left, the well dressed clerk was looking condescendingly down his nose at me. I felt a little like I’d been trying to steal something by the time I left.

Then I had a closer look at the watch. It had scratches on the buckle and a stain on the wrist band. I know they say you shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, and I really did try to be thankful, but I confess it left me with a bad taste in my mouth, especially when I later saw it “on sale” for $24.95! It felt like they were saying I wasn’t worthy of receiving something of true value, so, here, take this second-hand fake bobble and be happy. It wasn’t a nice feeling.

Think of my experience in terms of our readers. Do we give them something of value, something of true worth? Do we respect our readers? If we give them watches with scratches on the buckle and stains on the wristband they aren’t going to be very happy with us. They probably won’t finish the book they started and certainly won’t look for any others we’ve written. Our readers want and deserve quality writing, writing without typos and grammatical errors, novels in which the reader is captivated by the characters and swept away by the setting.

Learning to do that takes time and practice. There are no short cuts to producing great work. We owe it to our readers to take the time and effort to give them something that is truly worth the money and time they will invest in it.

After all, our readers are made in God’s image, being groomed for God’s eternity. He values them as though they were a “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God…” (1Peter 2:9).

If God values everyone so highly should we not also? Should we not always give our best to our readers?

TWEETABLES

Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor’s wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was also short listed for a Word Award. Marcia has three novels for middle grade readers and four devotional books in print and has contributed to several anthologies. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. 

Abundant Rain, an ebook devotional for writers is available on Amazon. It is also now available in Journal format. 
Her most recent release is Celebrate This Day, a devotional book for special occasions like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving. 

Sign up to receive her devotional column, The Spur