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Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Rich (04/26/12)

TITLE: Giving Up the "Atta-girls"
By Margaret McKinney
05/02/12
~2nd Place


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My sordid confession: I want to be rich.

Not rich in money. I have cried over too many pictures of starving African children to want more money. Besides, according to the Global Rich List, I am disgustingly wealthy.

My desire for riches goes deeper and is woven into my flesh, laced together with my pride in a sinful little package.

I want praise. Accolades. Notoriety. Fame. I want to be the best and win the most; to be the person PBS calls to give her expert opinion for a documentary: “Renowned historian My Name has this to say about the Mycenaeans…” I want the Attagirls, as many as I can get.

Such wanton desire is a far cry from Jesus, “who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!”*

He has set the example for me, and I have flouted it.

Far from giving my expert opinion on PBS, I am a stay-at-home mom, have never had a paying job, and spend most of my days picking up Legos and socks that have no partner. I know that in God’s eyes I am doing the work He planned for me and that it’s important work. But that doesn’t matter, because it is thankless work that's thin on praise.

I have a novel to my credit, and in the beginning I honestly wrote it from sheer joy. The story sang to me and I responded, never dreaming it would go anywhere. Two years later I see it published, a sight which should cause me to swell with the good kind of pride.

My true feeling? “I used a subsidy publisher instead of a traditional publisher, so it doesn’t really count.”

Why am I so focused on the accomplishment of the thing rather than the joy of my gift?

The book is lovely, but in a market with eight million friends, it is nothing special. It will win no contests, it will not “break out”, and it will not become a household name. And I hate admitting that this grates me, tears at my heart, and tempts me to hang up my writing hands for life.

If I can’t excel and be the best, why should I even try?

God says: “Because it’s my gift to you, and by golly, it’s fun.”

My flesh says: “But why can’t it be successful? Why can’t I WIN?”

And I realize that God will probably withhold that success from me, possibly forever, but at least until I learn that success shouldn’t be my goal.

Isaiah 43:7 says, “Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” **

I have not been writing for the riches of His glory, but for my own.

Shame.

Irony, that I can’t even allow myself to give up writing, but according to His will, must write on for the pleasure of it and not for renown. To take the rejections with a smile, and continue to plot and spin and form the words He has given me, just because He says to.

It’s a silly little problem, really, when I could be poor in accolades but rich with His gift.

*Philippians 2:5-8 NIV
** Isaiah 43:7 NIV

Accept Jesus as Your Savior Right Now and be Certain of Eternal Life.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Marina Rojas05/05/12
I love this confession-writing! It is thought provoking, mind-bending, and causes the reader to think of their own sin (that preferably would stay hidden out of sight). Praise God for this writing, it is well written and shows that riches are in the eyes of the beholder.

Good job!
CD Swanson 05/05/12
What an honest and through provoking entry. So many of us can relate to this confessional. I too am guilty of looking at the "big time number one selling authors" and think, "hmmm that must be such a great feeling." But, then realize God gave me a gift for His pleasure to fulfill it on His level...not mine.

This spoke to me very loudly and on so many different levels.

Thanks for your honesty and for this lovely powerful entry.

God Bless~
CD Swanson 05/05/12
What an honest and thought provoking entry. So many of us can relate to this confessional. I too am guilty of looking at the "big time number one selling authors" and think, "hmmm that must be such a great feeling." But, then realize God gave me a gift for His pleasure to fulfill it on His level...not mine.

This spoke to me very loudly and on so many different levels.

Thanks for your honesty and for this lovely powerful entry.

God Bless~



Cheryl von Drehle 05/06/12
Nice tone to this story... honest and confessional but not self-deprecating or whiny. That can be a hard voice to capture and you have done it very well.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/08/12
This story punched me right in the gut. For I too want and sometimes think need those atta-girls. The song from Fame runs through my head every so often. "I wanna live forever, Fame Remember my name. I think most of us can relate to that on some level. Once my minister asked what would you think if you were to find out your only purpose in life is to smile at the check-out girl at the store. Oh the rumblings in that church, we all wanted to be more. But by following God's prodding and smiling at a clerk could cause a ripple effect beyond our imaginations. Your piece reminding me that whatever purpose God has planned for me, if I obey, he will turn it into something spectacular.
Theresa Santy 05/10/12
Nothing is more beautiful in the eyes of the Lord, than one's heart layed out on the table, bloody and still pumping.

Magnificent entry. Congratulations on your placing, but you'll be getting no atta-girl's from me.

Okay, just one: Atta girl!
CD Swanson 05/10/12
Congratulations and God Bless~
Danielle King 05/10/12
I'm not sure what an Atta girl is but it seems to fit somehow. So a big congratulations on your placing for this open and honest entry. Atta girl!
Danielle King 05/10/12
I'm not sure what an Atta girl is but it seems to fit somehow. So a big congratulations on your placing for this open and honest entry. Atta girl!
Donna Wilcher 05/10/12
Congratulations! Well done!
Sandra Renee Hicks 05/15/12
Hi -

You write because we need to read what you express.

I sure needed to read this today...only GOD knows how much.

Thank you for continuing to press on with your writing gift!

Our labor is never in vain in our Lord!
Tina Hoffman05/22/12
I loved this article and I love you without even knowing you! You win in my book. :)
Jan Ackerson 05/26/12
Margaret, I'm going to feature this excellent article on the Front Page Showcase for the week of June 4. Look for it on the FaithWriters home page--and congratulations!
Michael Edwards 06/05/12
Margaret, I just posted your article for the showcase. I had not read it before but it is great. I agree with a lot of the other comments. Thanks for reminding me of what my focus needs to be. Doing Gods will and not mine.
God Bless, Mike Edwards