So I dreamed this afternoon (yes, I got a nap today!) that I was younger—maybe high school or college age, some age when I was boy crazy. In my dream, I was fiercely interested in this guy who was playing guitar in a band (a bit from my real past, since I went through an “infatuation with musicians, some of them bad-boys” phase). I was interested in all the guys in the band, actually, but this one in particular. Anyway, they were playing and I picked up my guitar and started playing and I was REALLY good. The guys even stopped playing to listen and congratulate me (“dude!”). And it was just this warm, triumphant feeling to know that I had held my own with them, earned their respect, and caught the eye of “the” guy.
In analyzing this dream I think that that yearning is still a big part of me. Not the yearning to catch the eye of a certain guy romantically (I am very, very happily married), but the yearning to prove myself in the eyes of the world. Who is the world? I don’t know. My writing friends, maybe. Other women. I’m not sure. But to pick something up artistically (maybe my writing, maybe singing or something else) and prove myself, and feel the accomplishment of having done it well and earned the respect of others whose work I admire.
I have mixed feelings about this. Is it all bad to want to earn the respect of others? It spurs me on to greater achievement. But I think it would be better if I could transfer my desire for approval to God and God only. Trying to please other people will never fully satisfy in the end. (Witness my experience when my story won first place in the contest: nobody cared. Nobody said “congrats.” Even the people in my writing group were silent. Maybe they were jealous. I don’t know. Wait—I take that back—there were one or two comments from strangers who read it who said they liked it. That was nice.) My writing is never going to change the world. I like to think it might change a life, or at least a mind or a mood. But I really have no control over that. I need to make that not be my measure of success.
But if I have “pleasing God” as my goal, how do I know when I’ve reached it? Sometimes he is so silent. (Other times he is not, granted.) And maybe that would be bad for my ego, going around so sure that I am God’s mouthpiece or something. I don’t know about this.
All I know is this: God created me. God gave me both the yearning to please and the yearning to write. If I can figure out how to incorporate the satisfaction of these yearnings into my life without letting it interfere with other important things, I will be pleasing him—or at least not displeasing him.