When I was small, I used to take comfort in the possibility that I might, one day, become a genius. I think it was L.M. Montgomery books and Little Women, mostly. All these spirited girls brimful of imagination and snappy conversation, bursting out onto a world waiting with held breath (and corsages of beautiful roses) for their genius to emerge and shine on everyone gloriously.
Now I am (pretty near to probably) grown up, the harsh realities of my own inadequacies remind me constantly: no genius here. I've always known it, I think, but you know. When you are twelve you can dream.
Just lately, when I seem to see my own infallibility lit up around me like Las Vegas, I've come a little closer to understanding what the genius dream was all about. I think. And what life is showing me is that this genius thing was not so much a desire to be really brilliant at something, but a desire for people to think I'm really brilliant at something.
(Did I really just type that out loud? Ouch.)
I see the threads of this thought pattern hanging around even now. I compare my work to someone else's and, instead of simply being impressed by their greatness, I wish I was as good. Or someone offers an opinion that contradicts mine and I shrink into insecurity and decide my opinion must surely be the inaccurate one. Or I take a plunge with some creative endeavour or other and no one says it's good and lovely and wonderful and... was that really the only reason I was doing it?
That's why this word from Amy Carmichael's Rose from Brier came like pure, cutting poetry to a soul such as mine:
Let not thy peace be in the mouths of men.
We stand or we fall to God alone. I think this must become my catch-cry. Let not thy peace be in the mouths of men.