When I was in 6th grade, I won the Reflections writing contest for my entire school. My dad may have had to run me in the front doors of my school to turn it in just before the deadline, but I won! This was the first time I remember thinking, "Maybe I could be a writer someday." And also the first time I begun to push my dreams to the side for a more "acceptable" career path.
Time went by, and I started preparing for college. In high school, I had jotted down a few pages of creative writing here and there and even came up with some ideas that would one day form the foundation of my book today. But I couldn't give these scribblings my full attention; I had to focus on getting my college degree so I could get a "real job".
10 years later, I still have no idea what a "real job" is. I don't even use my college degree in my current role (what a slap in the face). But I still have that dream of becoming a writer. That has never faded. Yet my self-doubt flares up like a chronic disease that won't ever let me fully embrace my dream.
I opened a Christmas gift from my husband a few years ago - a laptop. I instantly started bawling. My entire family stared at me like I was crazy. I wasn't so much the laptop, but the fact that he believed in me when I would hardly dare to believe in myself. He told me he got it for me so I could write my book. (BEST HUSBAND of FOREVER award, am I right?)
He believed in me, so why couldn't I? I will never forget a conversation we had not long after that Christmas. I said something about my writing, and he told me he was proud to be married to an author. I blushed and said, "Well I'm not actually an author yet, I haven't been published so it's not official." What he said next floored me.
"You ARE an author. Just because you haven't been published yet, doesn't mean you're not an author. You've written a book, and that makes you one."
Such a simple concept that had eluded me my entire life. We don't have to wait on the world to tell us who we are or what we are capable of. Why did I need a fancy publisher to tell me I'm a writer? I had spent years on this book, and still, I didn't consider myself one. In fact, I'm STILL not to the point yet where I can talk about my book and being a writer without some level of embarrassment, as if it's still not a valid career choice. How messed up is that?
We choose what we become. I believe God has given each of us a unique gift, and the free will to choose what to do with it as long as it honors Him and we seek His will in it. We don't have to wait on society to give us a label or "permission" to be something we've always dreamed about, we can just go ahead and be, because we already ARE.
If you love to sing and have only ever performed at a local bar or maybe just in front of a few family members, does that mean you're not a singer? No! If your art hasn't been displayed in a museum, but you still paint every chance you get, does that make you any less of an artist? Absolutely not! We shouldn't rely on society to tell us when we've made it; when our hard-earned, passionate work is worth something. If it brings you and others joy, it's worth everything.
What area of your life have you been waiting on the world to validate for you? Friend, please don't wait any longer; you have everything you need, right inside of you.