By Mark Azzara
Richard Rohr, an oft-published author/psychologist/Franciscan priest, once wrote, “The issue is almost never the issue.” I got confirmation of that with regard to a novel that I’ve been writing since …well, let’s just say it’s been a very long time.
I thought that writing a novel was all that I was doing. I was struggling to get every word and every sentence right. No, make that perfect. I thought that was the issue: Perfecting my novel.
But the Lord showed me I was writing it partly to prove to myself that I’m valuable. I was shocked – because that truth was so obvious once it was revealed.
I had to stop writing for a while – until I remembered that I’m not valuable by virtue of what I do, but that I am valuable, period. Since then I’ve resumed writing but now the goal is more purely to create a story that’s of value to the reader.
A bedridden quadriplegic friend of mine is connected to five machines and she can do only one thing on her own – love those around her. In doing so she reminds me how valuable I am. She is tempted to think she’s worthless – and who would blame her? – so I make darned sure she knows that she is one of the most valuable people in my life.
If this woman, who can do virtually nothing, is valuable, so are you – regardless of what you do or don’t do, regardless of whether you “succeed” to your own satisfaction or that of the world.
Anyone who doesn’t know his/her innate value risks being destroyed by failure or criticism, whether it comes from an employer, someone in your family or circle of friends, a church or other volunteer organization, or any other individual – which, in my case, would mean an agent, an editor, my readers, or those who envy and/or resent me.
Just as important, we must learn to ignore anyone, including that inner critic, who demands that we prove how valuable we are through what we do.
It helps to remember that those who try to devalue you most likely are doing so because they have little or no sense of their own self-worth. They’re cutting you down so they can feel better about themselves by comparison.
You are valuable. Period. Hold on to that truth. It will save your life, just as it has saved mine and continues to save it. And make sure you share that message with others and then watch it save their lives, too.
All God’s blessings – Mark