Hope Beyond the Just

musing-girl-silhouette-1122905-mLast week, I met another creative who said, “I’m just a beginning writer.” I understood what he meant, of course, but I wondered about that little word “just.”

How many times do we use “just” to describe ourselves, not realizing that in the process – we are embracing shame.

“I’m just a beginning writer.”

“I’m just a housewife.”

“I’m just the receptionist.”

To be authentic persons, I believe we should eradicate this use of “just” from our vocabulary.

None of us are “just” anything and when we put ourselves down, we throw ourselves into the trash bag of a “less than” mentality. Any type of emotional trash bag will suffocate us.

“I’m just” is another way of stating, “I’m not enough.” Not rich enough. Not smart enough. Not accomplished enough.

And when we shame ourselves, we become our own judge by comparing our worth to another person.

God never shames us. He never says, “You need to be like that person over there.” Instead, he promises he has a good plan for our lives, for each of us, based on who he created us to be.

Sure, we creatives strive to learn more about writing and become best-selling authors. That’s one of my goals. But even if that never happens, if my words touch ONE heart, if even one person finishes my books with a lesson learned or a nugget of joy intact – that’s success.

Being a housewife, keeping the home operational and raising the children is one of the highest forms of work because it influences the next generation. Just a housewife? Not possible. Wouldn’t it be more uplifting to say, “I am so privileged to be a housewife.”

Anyone who works in an office knows the receptionist is the first line of defense. This important person schedules the daily activities, keeps everything going smoothly and greets customers with a smile. He or she may not earn the salary of the person in the corner office, but just try operating a business without a front office person. “Just” does not begin to describe the value of an efficient and welcoming receptionist.

So instead of thinking of ourselves as “just” anything, let’s look in the mirror and say, “Hey there, Wonderful! God has a good plan for you today, and you’re the only person in the world who can do it. You are enough. March forward with hope for an even better future.”

©2015 RJ Thesman – Author of the Reverend G books http://amzn.to/1rXlCyh

Image attributed to www. sxc.hu.

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3 Reasons to be a Freelancer

At a writers’ conference I recently attended, another writer asked, “Why should I be a freelancer? The return writing pencilon my investment is terrible. I work hard and make no money. Is it worth it?”

If you look just at the ROI, the answer is, “No. It isn’t worth the sacrifice, the time or the struggle.”

But for those of us who are Christian freelancers, three reasons keep us going.

Building credits. We continue to work as freelancers, because with every acceptance – we earn publishing credits. Those credits begin to pile up as we keep writing and as we never, never, never give up.

After a few years, we can honestly say we are published writers and give examples of publications that bought our words. When we become novelists, those credits prove that we can do the work and help us earn that signed contract.

Building relationships. One of the best returns on our investment is that we build relationships with editors, publishers, agents and other folks in the writing business. Over time, we know a cadre of people who ask for our work and want to work with us because we’ve proven ourselves to be credible and productive writers.

These are the people who will eventually endorse our books, write reviews and tell other publishers about our work. We build those relationships and then one day, we attend a writers’ conference and personally know the faculty. We feel as if we really belong to this select group of talented folks.

The Message. Working as a Christian freelancer does not bring in an enormous income. In fact, I know few freelancers who don’t have another source of income – either another job or another person in the home who has another job.

But it really is all about the message.

We write because we hope that somewhere out there, someone will read our words and be curious about this Jesus we love.

We hope that someday a person will send us an email with a thank you message, “I found my eternal home because of what you wrote.”

And we write because God has asked us to use the creative gifts we have to spread the message through cyberspace.

So that is why I am a Christian freelancer. Throughout the last forty-some years, I’ve built a lot of publishing credits and learned my craft. I’ve made some fantastic friends either online or in person. And I’ve shared the message of God’s love to people all over the world.

But for me, there’s one more reason to be a Christian freelancer…I just love to write.

©2013 RJ Thesman