I wasn't chosen as a top ten finalist in the song/artist competition I entered last month (details here). The list was just released a few hours ago. I'm disappointed. Over the past few days, I had timidly dared to entertain a few secret visions of a certain kind of success. You know, bright lights, cheering crowds, ego strokes, recognition...
I went for a long walk just after the news came, trying to decide just how I felt about it. I tend to go numb when my hopes for a particular thing are dashed - to protect my heart from experiencing pain, I suppose. This time, I wanted to push through that and really feel, regardless of how much it might hurt.
My first impulse - another defense mechanism, no doubt - was to knock the competition and the organization behind it; that it wouldn't have done me much good to win anyway, that the judges lacked the depth to appreciate the intricacies of my songwriting, that it must have been fixed, etc... Almost immediately, I had to acknowledge that those thoughts were petty and unkind and above all, untrue, so I dismissed them as baloney (not to be confused with bologna, mind you...).
I was tempted - really tempted - to allow myself to indulge the too-familiar little voice that had been hissing poisonous words of worthlessness, ineptitude, and failure since the news came; that it was sheer foolishness, utter audacity, to even think that what I had to offer had any value at all. And on and on and on...
But I chose not to entertain that little voice for long; a more persistent, infinitely more loving and kind and genuine Presence gently insisted on being heard. And I listened!
Even though my dear Father chose not to spell out the entire plan as I walked amid the healing beauty of this season tonight, He managed to convey to me that my inherent value could not be altered by this or anything else; that there was indeed a method to His madness; that the gifts He'd seen fit to give me had a purpose, and that He had promised to finish the work He'd started in me.
And so I'm grateful - for all of it, the whole experience. It's adjusted my perspective, allowed me to see some things more clearly. And that's a precious gift.