The Courage to be You, Bravely

6-13-sweet-pearIt’s funny how sayings stick in your head. “Be You, Bravely” was the theme for my Mother’s of Preschooler’s group (MOPS) in Dallas a few years ago and I have reflected on it a lot this week.

Whether it comes through scrolling down the highlight reels of friends on Facebook and Instagram or comparing myself to what another person has in their life, God is teaching me to be me. And me alone. The temptation is to believe that other friends have it better, are more gifted, and suitable for their work. But the truth is that we all have challenges in our lives – some obvious, some unseen. We’re all gifted uniquely for God’s purposes – fashioned according to His will.

It takes courage to be You. And no one else. It’s much easier to be busy about what others are doing, instead of taking a good hard look inside your own heart and seeing what God is doing in you. Who has he made you to be? What dreams has he given you?

Recently, I was given an exciting opportunity from a Christian publishing company to be one of three writers to submit writing for an upcoming project they are working on with a respected author. They seemed very interested in my sample writing and was hoping I would move forward in letting the author see my samples. The problem was that I thought it was going to be a co-write and soon learned that it was a ghost-write. My heart immediately became unsettled.

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image: thejellyjars.com

If you aren’t familiar with ghostwriting, you are hired by a publisher to write the story/content that is officially credited to another person – in this case it was someone quite famous in the Christian world. In ghostwriting, you take on their voice but you receive no credit on the cover and you cannot reveal it in your portfolio. You’re usually given a good sum of money in ghostwriting, too. There are pros and cons to it.

Now, many in publishing don’t see this as a big deal. There are many books written by celebrities that have been ghostwritten. However there is another camp of people that believe it is unethical/bearing false witness/deceiving. Best-selling author Randy Alcorn has this point of view. Having never been asked before to consider ghostwriting, I wasn’t sure where I stood.

I can see why writers do it as it helps someone who may not be gifted in writing to get their story told. I do know writers that ghostwrite and I don’t judge them. But in my heart, I didn’t feel it was right for me. It also wasn’t in line with my personal goals in my writing career. I talked to trusted friends and my Dad who’s an excellent businessman and received affirmation not to move forward with it.

It was hard to let the publisher know I wasn’t interested, but I felt peace. I believe it is giving me greater clarity in what to pursue next in my writing career. It has taught me above all, to be me and to stick to my convictions. To not look at what everyone else is doing, and then determine what choice I should make based on that.

There is always temptation to look back and wonder if I made the best decision, but the still, small voice inside me continues to say, “Yes. Trust me. This is not a shut door, but an open one. Keep trusting me.”

Do you ever find it hard to be You? When have you been tempted to doubt what you knew was right?

– Samantha

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