Recently, I spoke with the editor of a newspaper, and asked him if his paper would be interested in a guest column. If all went well, perhaps he might consider publishing more of my work. I found myself unexpectedly surprised when he said, yes, they might be: send in some things and let him read them. I don’t know what I expected—for him to growl and say they didn’t accept anything from an imbecile? Several years ago I sent in a short article, and a former editor promised to read it. I called back several times, and he said he just hadn’t had time to read it. I finally got the idea that he didn’t want to hurt my feelings by saying it wasn’t good enough. Perhaps that fear of it happening again caused me to have low confidence in the present situation.
My writing has improved since then. Getting a college degree tends to make a person a better writer after all those term papers. However, some pesky thoughts are crossing my mind. My degree was in Christian Studies and not journalism, although I did take some journalism classes. Maybe I’m not good enough. What if there are errors in grammar and punctuation that will give my ignorance away? What if the content isn’t appropriate for the paper? These thought centering on myself gave way when I remembered a conversation with an acquaintance of mine. She started out with a fledgling nonprofit and a board of directors, and they build it into a thriving organization with around 13 branches. I admire her greatly.
“I always keep in mind that I must decrease and He and the organization must increase. It’s not about me at all,” this wise woman said. “I’m just a servant bringing His help to others.” Those words brought my mind and heart back into focus.
My writing has gotten better because the Holy Spirit has been helping me. I pray over everything I write, and it just turns out better than if I do it alone. I can feel it as it happens, that burst of clarity and creativity. So if the words I write are under His influence, then does He want to bring them to this newspaper? That puts it in a different light. The pressure is off. I just wait and see what happens. If my writing is accepted, I simply do the best I can with their criteria. My job would be to pray, write and get out of the way with my emotional anxiety, for
“He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30) I believe that is what John the Baptist concluded about Jesus.