Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Project at Hand

This summer, as La Porte County Poet Laureate, I perform poetry readings or schedule other poets to read twice a week at the La Porte Arts in the Park program. Recently someone praised my poetry and I caught myself saying, “It’s only poetry, a small part of what I write. I really write fiction.”

Really? Did that come out of my mouth? Yes, indeed, and it revealed a faulty attitude. While poetry is a small part of what I write and fiction is my main love, the word “only” smacked of ingratitude and brought me up short.

God used the Poet Laureate contest to finance my attendance at ACFW convention last year. Now that I’m fulfilling the duties of Poet Laureate, how can I think that it isn’t vital? What I’m engaged in now is important to the future accomplishment of my goal and deserves 100% effort. God wouldn’t have led me here, if that weren’t true. Rather than looking over the fence at the green grass beyond, I need to:

  1. Enjoy judging this year’s poetry—I don’t know what I’ll learn or what will speak to me.
  2. Befriend the new acquaintances the position affords. These are people that I would never have met otherwise. I don’t need to have a “what can you do for me?” attitude but to develop relationships that benefit all by mutual respect. The future in God’s hands.
  3. Share my joy of poetry with the audience. The highest compliment is when someone says “Very entertaining.” I should accept it with grace and graciousness.
  4. Keep plugging away at self-promotion and don’t take it personally even when the newspaper has lost the information three separate times.
  5. Continue to create fresh word pictures and ideas during a time when longer pieces of fiction are on hold.
  6. See God at work in the now. Sometimes His focus is attitude adjustment, opportunities and positioning, or lessons in faith rather than technical skill. Even detours serve their purpose. James 1:3 says that testing of faith produces perseverance. I read an encouraging devotional yesterday that said not to distrust in the dark what God spoke in the light.
  7. Humbly make use of these opportunities. Now that is a recipe for success in God’s eyes.

Take a fresh look at your project at hand. Are you “right on track” for your long term goal or on a detour? What unexpected writer’s benefit has God has provided you in your current circumstances?


  1. Nice post. God is always opening opportunities for me! My increased responsibilities within the Indiana ACFW have been a real blessing.

  2. Indeed, Darren, and a blessing to all of us. It amazes me how God blesses so many people in so many different ways through one single act.

  3. Mary,I'm really proud of you being the Poet Laureate this year! And I really appreciated this post. Whatever God uses us to do, in the mode He requests, we do with all of our might, I think I hear you saying.

    I'm a little late reading these posts this week due to some internet problems.