They got it, but I didn't.
I didn't mention who or what, but I bet a name and situation came to your mind when you read that sentence.
You see, we can all view life kind of like a competition.
They get the promotion first, so we put them down to heal our disappointment. They are prettier than we are, so we feel the need to make ourselves look better. They have the talent we want, so we criticize to make ourselves feel better.
We think that we have to compete in life to get what we want, and if they get it first, then we lost. And that can leave us feeling a whole lot of broken inside.
Girls, it's easy for us to do this, isn't it? It's easy for us to compete and strive for a level of perfection that we will never achieve. The perfect job, the perfect house, the perfect face, the perfect husband, the perfect dream. But when she gets it first? Look out.
Instead of continuing after what God has set before us, we get distracted by all the things that glitter. All the things the world says we must compete for.
But you know what, beautiful soul?
Life is not a competition.
And you are not competing against anyone.
You're not competing against your neighbor, your best friend, or the pretty girl you run into at the grocery store. Do you want to know why?
Well, let me share with you three areas we tend to compete in the most...
1) Pain is not a competition. Every single person you have ever met has faced some form of pain in their life. I know that you, reading this right now, have faced pain. Because sin is in this world, there will always be pain. There is no way to avoid it. Jesus never promised us a life with no pain. He only promised that through the pain, He would walk with us. But you know how it feels when you feel a little bit guilty over your pain? Maybe you think your story isn't as difficult as someone else. Maybe you think your pain isn't as deep as what that other girl has faced. So you feel guilty about your pain because you're constantly comparing it to others. You don't share your pain then, so it stays bottled up inside where it can never be healed fully. Or maybe you're on the other side of this. You've faced unimaginable pain and it has made you bitter. Pain has a way of doing that to a person when it is not taken to your Healer (Psalm 147:3). Through your glasses of bitterness, you hear the stories of others and you wonder how they have any reason to be complaining when you have suffered so much worse. Whatever side of this you are on, please hear me out. Pain is real. Pain is meant to be fully felt, so it can then be fully healed. If you continue to compare your pain to someone else, you will not heal. He wants you healed, sweet friend. Your Jesus wants to reach in and heal the deep and wounded places of your heart. And you know what else? He wants to use your pain as a testimony to help others through their pain too. So share your pain, share your story, be real. But don't let pain become a comparison game and a competition.
2) Beauty is not a competition. Has the world ever made you feel inadequate? This world has a way of deceiving girls into believing that their bodies and their faces have to be perfect. They give us this standard to live up to that we could never possibly achieve. This causes us to look to one another and compare. Why can't I be as pretty as her? I need to workout more so that I can look like she does. Why does she have to post all those flawless selfies? We fume on the inside over their beauty because we've convinced ourselves that we just don't measure up. We tell ourselves that our hair is too thick, our nose is too big, or we have too many freckles. On and on the list goes as we stand in front of the mirror and criticize every part of ourselves until we have nothing left. And when we have nothing left, we criticize them too. We criticize the girls we feel we are competing against to be the most beautiful. Lovely ladies, may I just take her chin in my hands for a moment and assure you of something? You are absolutely, amazingly, stunningly gorgeous. Because the God who made you? He shines within you, and He made you beautiful. "For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well." (Psalm 139:13-14) You are beautiful, just as your sister in Christ next door or down the street is beautiful. Nothing can take away your beauty, because your beauty does not just come from what you look like on the outside. Your beauty comes from within.
3) Success is not a competition. Maybe this one is the toughest of all, right? Maybe this one is where it stings most. Because when she gets the promotion, the husband, or the dream you've been praying for, it all can seem just a little unfair. After all, we prayed for those things and instead she got them! We feel that her success or her answered prayers are a threat to our own. But the honest truth? Your success is not measured by their's, nor does your success depend on their failure. Here's the thing: we were meant to live in community. So all of this striving, this competing, this comparing, that we do every day to each other...none of it is how we were meant to live. Because the beautiful thing is that God has a perfect and good plan for your life that is so much better than anything you could imagine. So He doesn't want you to compete with someone else for the live He has for you. He is asking you to live out the story He is writing in your life that is so unique to you, it's crazy beautiful! And what He really wants is for all of us to join hands and walk together. To wave the white flags, stop the striving, and just celebrate life together. When she is in pain, to cry with her. When you think she looks more beautiful, to tell her what you love about how she looks today. When she gets the promotion or the dream, to celebrate and have a cupcake in her honor. Because the exciting part? Your celebration is coming too. And it's going to be greater than you ever imagined.
Let's stop competing, and let's join hands as we walk life together, shall we? ♥
Ah, where do I even begin with this book?
Today I'm going to be sharing with you my brief review of my dear friend Livy Jarmusch's brand new novel, "The Coronation."
First of all, if you love fiction and whimsical tales of adventure, suspense, and royalty, then you are going to love this book hands down. And even if you don't like those things? Read The Coronation anyway, because afterwards you will like them!
When I was younger I used to read fiction all the time. I even wrote fiction all the time. However, as I got older, I drifted more towards non-fiction books, writing and reading them. Maybe it's because I just don't have a whole lot of time for reading anymore. Either way, I find it harder to find fiction books now that keep my attention and I don't read it a whole lot.
Well, not with The Coronation.
I was a part of a group of girls who got to be one of the firsts to read the novel and give my input. From the first chapter I was hooked. Literally, I could not stop reading. I would stay up until 12:30-1:30am just to finish another chapter, and then I would get up early to read again! :)
I was captivated by the tale of this royal family and the lovely fictional world of Tarsurella. I loved every single character and thoroughly enjoyed the way Livy went back and forth between the views of each of the characters. It brought a fresh, new dimension to the novel and really brought each character to life. Princess Hope was probably my favorite of the royal family characters (but how can you really choose?!), but Vanessa was probably my favorite character overall. A spunky, passionate, young woman who is visiting Tarsurella, Vanessa is the greatest addition to this book, in my opinion. I related to Vanessa so much anyway just because everything about her personality reminded me of myself!
From suspense, adventure, romance (done very tastefully), humor, and inspiration, this novel really does have it all. So many times I felt like I was actually a part of the story. Livy just captures you into everything about the world of Tarsurella. And maybe what I loved most was the way Livy shared her faith throughout the entire story. If you are tired of wasting your time reading meaningless novels just for fun, and you want to read a novel that is thrilling, inspiring, and encouraging, you'll want The Coronation. Livy shared so many incredible lessons throughout the book. Lessons on forgiveness, trust, guarding your heart, and so much more! I am completely obsessed with this novel! ;)
Okay, with that I'm going to end so I don't continue until I give away all the spoilers! Just get the book for yourself. I know you will love it! Check it out on Livy's blog: www.livylynnblog.com. Or purchase it directly here:
Have fun stepping into the whimsical fictional world of Tarsurella! ♥
Writing has been my life, my love, and my voice since I was a little girl. I couldn't imagine my life without being a writer.
Looking back on the past decade of my writing journey, I have learned so much. God has taken me so far and He has given me so many wonderful people to inspire me and help me in my journey. Nothing in life is meant to be done alone; we were created for community. Because of that I believe strongly in my heart that I want to give back to other young writers the encouragement and advice given to me over my journey as a young writer.
So when my dear friend, Livy Jarmusch, asked me to write a blog post sharing my writing tips, I was so excited! This post is a part of the blog tour for Livy's brand NEW book that just released, "The Coronation"! If you haven't already, go check it out at her blog: www.livylynnblog.com. :)
And now, without further ado, here are my top ten writing tips for young writers...
1) Read. Yes, indeed, this is very, very important. I've been reading even longer than I've been writing, pretty much as long as I can remember. But reading and writing go hand in hand. Reading great books teaches you how to write great books. Reading is a way of inspiring your writer's heart. So if you have a day of no inspiration, or a day flooded with writer's block, just sit down and pick up a book to read. Read, read, read. Some great authors who have inspired and influenced me are: Ann Voskamp, Leslie Ludy, Lysa Terkeurst, and Bob Goff.
2) Just write something. It can be so easy to get distracted from our writing or feel that we need to be perfect to write. So we spend hours outlining our book, planning our characters, or constructing the plot. And while those are good things, sometimes we let them get in the way of just writing. The thing that makes you a writer is writing, so you should do it every day! Be consistent with your writing. It doesn't have to be good. It just has to be on paper. Set aside a specific amount of time each day that you want to work on your writing, and write even if you don't think it's any good!
3) Get connected with other writers. As I said earlier, we aren't meant to do things alone. God created us for community! He wants us to encourage and help each other. Create a writing group with other young writers from your church or school. Join a writing community on Facebook. If you're a blogger, network with other bloggers. Help each other out! When you're a part of a community, you can gain advice and encouragement from more experienced writers. And you even have the opportunity to give back advice and encouragement to writers who aren't as experienced as you are.
4) Do it afraid. Okay, so, something you may or may not know about me is that I am honestly terrified of sharing my writing with others. Yep, it's the truth. Writing is my life and what I know I was created to do. But sometimes our greatest joy and our greatest fear collide to help us discover our greatest calling. That's writing for me. You too? Then, sweet soul, pull up a chair and listen close. If God has called you to write, you are meant to do this. He has given you a pen for a reason. If you let fear stop you from this adventure, you will miss out on so much. It may be scary to show others your writing. It may be scary not knowing what they will think. Be brave. Be brave and share your words anyway. It's going to turn out amazing. ♥
5) Write for Jesus. With all of my heart I believe that if you are not writing for Jesus and His glory, you are writing in vain. He has given us specific talents and gifts to bring Him the honor and glory He deserves. If we write to gain glory for ourselves or to bring attention to ourselves, we are missing out on the most important part of writing. With every word you type, use it to speak the love and truth of Jesus. Let Him be the reason you write.
6) Separate editing from writing. Ouch. This one hits home for me. Here's the thing: I am a perfectionist in my writing. Which means that if I don't think something sounds perfect, I sometimes don't write it. Being a writing perfectionist is tough and it is enough to stop some writers from even writing at all. You see, writing is messy and imperfect...and so beautiful. Words don't change and touch lives because they're perfect, but because they're perfectly flawed. As a reader we aren't looking for something perfect, because sometimes we just want something to assure us that you don't have to be perfect to be beautiful. So when you're writing, don't edit. Just write your words. Let them flow. Don't stop because the words don't sound perfect. There is a time and a place for editing. There is a time to strive for excellence in your writing. But that is after you've already written. Edit later.
7) Find your unique writing style. There are so many different things you could write! Do you prefer creating stories and developing characters? Would you rather write your heart out in an article or a devotional? Do you like creating beautiful sentences through poetry? Whatever it is that you love to write the most, write that. And write lots of it. But what scares you the most to write? Because I want you to write that too. You might not discover your unique writing style or writing calling until you've written what scares you the most. I grew up writing stories. Creating fiction novels was my thing. But when God called me to step out into the scary world of writing non-fiction and articles, it was hard! Yet it was there that I discovered the type of writing I love best. So write lots of different things! And in the process you will figure out exactly what you were meant to write.
8) Start a blog. If you are serious about your writing and growing your writing platform, I encourage you to start a blog. My blog has been a source of so much joy and growth for me in my writing. I wouldn't be where I'm at today in my writing without having started this blog. It was essential for me, as well as a dream come true. Having a blog not only gives you the opportunity to have your writing read by others, but it allows you to grow and develop as a writer. And your blog could be about whatever you want! Maybe you enjoy cooking and you want to have a blog dedicated to cooking. Or maybe you love stories so your blog could include short stories you write each month! You might love writing articles like me, and dedicate your blog to sharing God's truth and love with others. Let your blog reflect who you are and who God has called you to be as a writer.
9) Don't live for compliments. Another ouch for me. Because I'm afraid of what people will think of my writing, sometimes I live for their compliments of what I wrote. Hearing that other people loved what I wrote, makes me love it. If they don't love it, then I don't. And here's why that is wrong: Because not everyone is going to love your writing. Your writing is not going to be for everyone. I've heard it said before that if you live for compliments, you will die from rejection. Decide in your heart that you are writing for Jesus. Live for His applause. And love what you wrote. Your opinion honestly is what matters most. If you love what you wrote, it doesn't matter who else does. Now, the other side of this is that it's totally okay to accept constructive criticism! If you can't accept advice and criticism as a writer, you are not going to grow. It may not always be easy to hear, but you should always listen to advice with an open mind. You can't listen to everyone's advice of course, but you should be willing to learn and grow.
10) Pray. The first thing I do when I sit at my laptop to write, is pray, "Father, write through me today." You'll do your best writing, when you first give it to Him. Develop a team of dedicated prayer warriors who would love to pray over you and your writing project. Cover your writing in prayer and let God do the hard work. :)
Keep writing, dear writer. The path ahead may not always be easy, but it is always worth it.
If you are interested in advice or encouragement as a writer, I'd love to talk to you and share with you, just fill out the contact form here on my blog! I've also written a guide just for writers that can be found at my website: www.isabellamorganthal.weebly.com
Isabella Morganthal (20) is a homeschool high school graduate who loves Jesus with all of her heart. She is a drummer, writer, creative arts director, and modern-day abolitionist.