Posts Tagged ‘online book review’

Whenever awards such as the Australian of the Year are announced on TV on Australia Day or whenever the Queen’s birthday honours list is made public, they are often greeted with a tongue-in-cheek lament in our family.

‘Oh, dear! Looks like they forgot me again,’ I sigh. ‘Ah well! I’ll just have to wait until next year.’

While many worthy people are honoured in this way, most of us will not end up among their ranks—and that’s okay. We all can’t make it there, and some people have done extraordinary things in their lives that deserve our applause. Yet I believe all of us desire in our hearts to be honoured and respected as part of our everyday lives and it seems that’s how God wants us to treat others, too. In Romas 12:10, we read:

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honour one another above yourselves.

Years ago, I facilitated a course in our church in which one session was entitled ‘The Shame Game’. At first, I wondered how relevant this session would be for those taking part, but quickly changed my mind. It soon became obvious that many, including me, knew very well those feelings of shame, not so much because of anything we had done, but of who we intrinsically were. Whatever negative messages we had taken on board when we were younger had stuck. Even if these messages were unintentional, that did not make them any less effective. Some group members had been physically and emotionally abused, causing them to feel completely devalued and unworthy of being loved. For others, it was often some throw-away line, spoken out of anger or jealousy or even simply without thinking, that had cut deep. These beliefs had affected our behaviour in various ways—and we knew we needed God’s help to change and become more whole.

I wonder if you relate to this sense of shame many of us seem to carry? Perhaps, like me, you have found that some things more than others tap into such feelings and catch us by surprise. For example, recently I saw another author’s book strongly criticised in an online review and I felt immediate empathy for her. We both know that authors having different writing styles and that no one author is going to please everyone with his or her work. Yet it hurts when one of our ‘babies’ seems to be criticised unfairly or devalued in some way. When this happens, that old sense of shame is often not far away. Perhaps that’s why it’s said that authors need to have a very sensitive spirit but also the hide of an elephant!

Yet I’ve discovered I need more than that in my own writing journey. I’ve found I need to base my sense of honour and self-worth not on some passing writing success but on where I stand in God’s eyes. I need to remember the grace, mercy and forgiveness extended to me in love and that in God, I have been given a safe place to stand where I can hold my head high, whatever happens in life. This week, I came across the following words in Psalm 61:7:

My salvation and my honour depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

Amen and amen!

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