I have to be honest and say that comparing myself to others is something that I've done throughout my life. I find it hard to accept the gifts that God has placed within me without looking at others enviously.
As a writer, editor and musician the artistic temperament is definitely alive and well within me! I am grateful for how God has used me in the area of worship, but I am also very aware of my limitations – as well as those who are more talented. I have had to work hard to step out.
The same is true for my writing. I never set out to be a writer. I wanted to be a composer and, once I started my degree, that evolved into becoming an editor.
During my journey as an editor opportunities arose for writing and my first book came about when the publisher decided the manuscript they had been sent (which I was due to edit) was not what they had hoped for. I now regularly write magazine and online articles, Bible study notes and have four books under my writerly belt.
But those ugly sisters envy and comparison still come and do battle in my soul regularly. I envy others in the same writing field as me who have more of a 'platform' and so are better 'bets' for publishers. I've known rejection because I am not on a regular speaking circuit. For now, I have chosen to prioritise being at home for my children. I know that's the right decision for us, but it doesn't make those comparisons any easier to bat away!
So far, the books I've written I've been asked to by in-house editors. I have a book on my heart that is at the proposal stage. This one is my baby, and it is a lot harder work – both to produce and to find a publisher for!
I've come to know some novel writers through the Association of Christian Writers. It is great to converse with them, and also wonderful to discover their books. But I am also in awe of their talent, as I don't feel I could ever write a good novel.
It is so easy to sell yourself short. To believe everyone else is more talented, more social media savvy, more liable to be published. But, as I know so many other writers will testify to, we write because we have to. It is what God has called us to; it's a part of who we are.
So can I urge you, as well as myself, to intentionally forget the comparisons and celebrate the fact that God has given you the inbuilt desire to write. Yes it is hard work. But isn't it wonderful that God has planted that seed inside of us? He longs to see how we will tend it and grow it.
I have a renewed determination not to settle for second best, not to allow myself to wither under pesky comparison thoughts that cultivate apathy. Instead, I'm going to thank God each day for the gift of writing.
Claire is a freelance writer and editor, mum to two gorgeous young children, pastor’s wife, worship leader and school governor. Claire’s desire is to help others draw closer to God through her writing, which focuses on marriage, parenting, worship, discipleship, issues facing women today etc. Her books include Taking your Spiritual Pulse, CWR’s Insight Guide: Managing Conflict and BRF Foundations21 study guides on Prayer and Jesus. She also writes a regular column for Christian Today. To find out more about her, please visit www.clairemusters.com and @CMusters on Twitter.