Yesterday, I read an online news article that a man named Robert Galbraith had published his debut crime thriller novel, and it was racking up great reviews from many celebrated critics.
Since I've got two thrillers on the market, of course the article snagged my attention right away. Who is this guy, and how did he gain so much notice with his first book?
Reading on down, I stumbled across the fact that Robert Galbraith is simply a pseudonym for none other than J.K. Rowling, author of the multi-million selling Harry Potter books. She had managed to keep the pseudonym a secret, and said in an interview that writing as an "unknown" was an "incredibly freeing, liberating experience."
On one hand, I can see her point. She's so well known as the author of Harry Potter, that trying to come out with anything in any different genre with any different sort of audience would be a hampering experience.
On the other hand, the green monster of envy rises up in me and bleats (yes, my envy bleats), "I wish I had even a teaspoonful of the talent that Rowling has." She writes a wonderful series of books in one genre, then turns around and seemingly without making much of an effort, becomes well-known for a completely different genre altogether.
While the rest of us struggling authors strain our brains and read our rejection letters and growl at the one and two-star reviews that inevitably come in, Rowling rides the crest of the wave of success, even under a different name.
So. While I was wrestling with my green monster yesterday after reading this news article, flashes of memory began to sprinkle around me.
Once when I was playing a lovely song on the piano at church, and when I was finished, I looked up to find a man at the back literally choking on tears. "Beautiful," he told me later. "God's given you such a gift."
Once when a fellow camp counselor came to me sobbing because of something she'd heard someone say about her, and I offered to pray with her. "You don't know how much of a blessing that was," she said after we'd opened our eyes.
Once when I was swimming in a pool, and a young girl fell into the deep end. "Help!" her mother screamed from the edge. I waffled my way over as quickly as I could and pulled the girl out. She immediately started choking up water and sobbing. Her mother wrapped her daughter in her arms and looked at me over her head. "Thanks," she said.
Once when I'd baked cookies for a neighbor...
Once when I'd washed somebody's windows....
Once when I'd written a note of encouragement...
Etc. etc. etc.
The thing is, none of these things I did because I was talented or good at it or wanted to toot my own horn. The thing is, the person on the other end of the action needed something, and God used me to help meet that need at that point in time.
It's not so much about the things you do.
It's a lot more about how God uses you to do those things.