When I compare this Fall with last Fall, there’s so much difference, it’s hard to explain. Last year, I had one disappointing circumstance after another. When I look back, there was only one or two really “good” things I could point to that brought me joy.
I was frustrated. When things don’t go the way we’d like them to, we feel unsatisfied. That was the story of my life last year.
Why am I bringing this up? Because I had an incredible six weeks this Fall. Beginning with the end of September when I went to ACFW, and through the whole month of October.
This last weekend was OK. It wasn’t spectacular for me, although in some ways, it should have been. I saw friends in person I’d only seen online the last couple of years. Friends that have gotten closer because of working together with them.
I’ll be honest. I expected to do better in a particular writing contest. I’d had glimpses that my entry was probably pretty good. It won a couple of 1st place awards in a small contest a month ago. It made the finals of another small contest, although I just found out it didn’t win. In other words, there are three finalists. One of them is the category winner. I wasn’t the winner, but, I was happy to make the finals. That’s never happened to me before.
In last weekend’s contest, I didn’t even make the finals. It was a slightly larger contest, with more entries, plus they combined my category with another. When I heard that, I knew it spelled the death knoll for my entry. Because I write historical. Anytime you put historical in with contemporary, it will never win. Most contests wouldn’t think of having a category with contemporary put up against historical.
I was a bit surprised by my attitude in some ways. I was irritated. A close friend said she prayed for me most of the night because I’d felt my entry was disqualified because of the category merge. Bless her heart. I probably needed it.
I’m doing an attitude check, and you get to see it. My mind knows that I’m not entitled to anything, let alone everything. My heart longs for encouragement and recognition. Why? I believe I’m being tested again in rejection. I’ve been healed, but this irritation is a residual effect.
So––I release my annoyance. My friend was so concerned for me, she checked with the contest coordinator, who said every entry was considered equally.
That tells me it’s my bad attitude. Because I’d done well in two contests, I guess I just expected to do well in this one. But I didn’t.
I have to get over it.
What can I take away from this?
I need a check-up from the neck up. I know you win some, you lose some. Most of the time, I don’t win anything. The fact that I got two 1st place finishes in October for Best Opening Paragraph and Best First Page is amazing to me. I thank God for it.
However, I have another writer friend who just keeps winning with one particular entry. I know she’s won at least three 1st place prizes in three different contests. Maybe more. Yes, her entry is outstanding. Is she a better writer than me? Probably.
I try to do what I can with what I’ve been given. That’s all any of us can do. Our measures of gifts and talents are individual and unique to us. We can develop our talents, but there will always be someone better. It’s how we handle it when it happens, which makes the difference.