Thursday, October 19, 2017

Day 19: Affirmations to combat Impostor Syndrome

The meaning of life is to find your gift.
The purpose of life is to give it away.
~ Pablo Picasso

Before I retired my life purpose was clearly defined by my profession: to teach.

While Impostor Syndrome did not allow me to recognize the accomplishment, I did recognize the purpose. The reason I got up in the morning was to instill the value of language. We read literature to discover truth about the human condition. We wrote essays to learn the value of clear communication. I enjoyed teaching despite feelings of inadequacy.

When the time came, I knew I wanted to retire TO something not away from education. Writing was my passion and seemed the logical next step. I had several projects waiting for my attention. I found a support group of fellow writers. I read books on a writer's life, the writing process, and how to hone my craft. I thought I was ready to move forward.

What I discovered, however, is purpose can be elusive when we're not bound by schedules or career demands. Sure, I could write a chapter today, but what if I didn't? Would anyone notice? Would anyone care? I concluded the world would not be impacted if I wrote or not.

I tried setting false deadlines. Perhaps that added pressure would instill a sense of purpose. But I could not fool myself. I knew no one cared - including me.

In the end, I chose to embrace Picasso's advice: don't write for the world - don't write for fame or money - but rather write for one single person. If sharing my words could make a difference in someone's life, then my purpose was to write for her (or him).

When I retired three years ago, I floundered. I had a few ideas for articles and perhaps a storyline or two, but no clear direction. After several months of unfocused attempts, I decided to ask for help.

My writing routine now begins the same each morning. As I sit at my desk and open the Scrivener document, I say a little prayer: Dear Lord, what would you have me write today? I then put hands on the keyboard and begin to type. I trust him to help me find my way.

Commit your work to the Lord,
and your plans will be established.
Proverbs 16:3 (ESV)

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