My seat on the panel was on the end. Two chairs over, sat Nancy Rue, one of my favorite authors as a child. The man next to me had cried that morning after reading my poetry--a situation I was not expecting. I was grossly unqualified to sit next to these professionals, and as teens asked their questions, I mulled over responses, never feeling like I had a good enough answer. I offered my prospective a couple times, but I knew that every other person on that panel could provide better insight.
"How do I stay focused on God if everything starts to go well."
This teen's question made me look up from my knees. As he finished explaining his fear of losing sight of God during success, I began to fidget in my seat.
I don't know why I felt like I had the knowledge to answer his question. My success was by far the simplest of the panel. My name meant the least in the industry. My portfolio was the smallest. But, I still rose my hand and gave an answer.
"I thank God for the little things now, before I hit the real 'success.' I want to get in the habit of being thankful now, while I'm in the process. Journaling my prayers helps me to remember to thank God for my words, even if it's something like, 'Thanks, God for the two hundred words I wrote today'."
Whispers and murmurs rippled through the seats next to me. The man I'd made cry leaned over to Nancy Rue, "Did you know she's just a teenager?"
I sat back in my chair and grinned. The answer was honest, a lesson I know I'd learned the hard way. The response wasn't meant to impress, but the authors' reaction to my answer was an encouragement. If these professionals had already faced bigger success than me, and they agreed with me, then I could be encouraged. Ultimately, my confidence comes from God--in fact, that's the topic I spoke about earlier that day, but it was also nice to know I and some of my role models were in agreement about thankfulness.
God allowed me to write 259 words last week, and I thanked Him for them. Over the past three days, I've written over 1,000 words. I thanked God for those too. The Psalms that declare thanksgiving don't offer a specification on what they are thankful for. David and the other authors were simply thankful.
To keep me focused on what God, I'll thank Him for all the little things, the few words, the stubborn characters. This also keeps me focused on Him now, when I wish I could write more than I'm able.