Contest Angst – A Novel Idea

I’m fairly new to the writing contest circuit. I sent in my first entry in May 2009, and since that fateful day, I’ve entered four others.

I realized today, I did something incredibly right in those first few entries. I didn’t look for the announcement date. My life stays so busy on a regular basis, I hardly thought about the contests until I received my “thank you for entering, but…” or, in complete shock, received the “congratulations, you…”.

Needless to say, ignorance is bliss.

On my most recent contest, I looked at the anouncement date. Twice. Maybe three times, but really who’s counting?

I prefer the pleasure of cluelessness.

The entire day, I waited – staying near the phone, checking email like an OCD twitch. Nothing. Then the congrats for others online started popping up, in my category. Whooosh! Disappointment…and an immediate backlash of questions like “What was wrong with the opening page? Were my characters interesting? Believeable? What about the plot? Did it sink like an Irish potato?”

Very bad for the self-esteem.

But then…

A still small voice reminded me of a very powerful phrase:

“And we know all things work together for the good of them who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

Even this. Even now. All means all.

And in the grand scheme of things it should take up an inch of my life instead of a day. (really, it’s JUST a contest) God’s called me to write. I itch to do it, to weave characters into plots that somehow grow into stories. I’m stuck.

With or without a contest win, final, or placement at all.

In this very moment, God is redeeming me, conforming me to be like his Son. In my victories and my defeats. But in all truth, the way we handle our disappointments attests to the depth of our faith. How well do we know the Father who loves us? How well do I trust the Father who loves me?

My heart-answer comes out in the way I respond to something as small as a writing contest to something as big as the death of a loved one.

In the big or the small, God is Lord over all, so held within his confident embrace I can hope, heal, rejoice, weep, and …try again.

I’m so glad my success in His arena is not based on me, but on His perfect self. And if I remember that, no matter the circumstances, I’m always a winner – because He loves me.

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