You’ve no doubt seen the meme that’s circulated on social media showing what I call the iceberg of success. What you see above the surface is a little peak – a minute portion of the whole. What’s hidden beneath the surface of the deep is massive and represents the years of dreams, months of blood, sweat, and tears, weeks filled with training as you learn from those much wiser and much closer to their goals, and the days of tireless effort. It’s such a vivid meme. It captures the essence of many of our scenarios! The unseen, and the seen.

For me, it perfectly represents a lifetime of desire and dreaming – to become a published author.  A dream which recently became a reality. It’s somewhat surreal, and I don’t know that I’ve fully realized it’s true yet. (This one thing I do know, I wish my mom was alive, as I’d love to share these moments with her. She witnessed many of my hidden moments, and she’d be so proud of her baby girl.)

I’ve always loved to write. In fact, I wish I had a dime for every word I’d crafted into a sentence of a book report, or research paper, or article, or column during my lifetime. I’d be better off than I am, no doubt. Call me a word nerd, but it’s what makes me tick. It’s actually what makes me happy. I loved writing research papers when I was in school. I loved creative writing, too. I actually just loved the craft of writing.

That search for the perfect word or words, placed in the perfect order, to convey whatever it is I’m attempting to say. My thoughts flow better on paper than they do rolling off my tongue. And, though I can now say – with much thankfulness and humble excitement – I’m a published author, the pathway to get to this point has been a long one – decades long, though I won’t tell you how many decades! LOL! I’m no overnight success. You’re seeing the peak of the iceberg.

So often it’s true that we see a rising star in the music world, and think to ourselves they sure became an overnight success. Unlikely. I’ve heard too many stories which would contradict that notion. I don’t believe there’s any such thing – no one is an overnight success.

Perhaps they started singing as a young child or a teenager. Possibly teachers or parents or friends encouraged them to work hard at what seemed to come naturally. They may have caught a break here or there, and become a local sensation at a young age, but it wasn’t without effort and encouragement. They invested in their dreams. They looked ahead and worked toward the possibilities they could see.

These successes may be making a more public appearance and their name may just now be appearing on marquis and newspaper headlines, but chances are, they’ve been doing what they do best for many years, seemingly unnoticed. I think that fits me, too. I’ve written ‘on the job’ for decades. Former supervisors recognized my gift with words, and were able to use it for the betterment of the organizations I worked for – and that’s okay. It gave me practice, and confidence, and helped me fine-tune my gift. It wasn’t until I retired that I was fully able to do what I’ve known forever I was to do – just write! And, I’m loving it!

God gifts each one of us with different abilities and desires. He wants us to nurture those and cultivate our gifts so we are better able to serve others. If your gift is singing, just sing – for the glory of God! Raise your voice in praise. Bless those around you every chance you get, whether you’re singing at your local church or at the county fair. Use your gift.

If your gift is word crafting, get busy. Don’t make excuses. Just write. And, work hard to improve your skills. Perhaps you’re an extraordinary baker, and people rave over your creations. Keep fine-tuning those recipes, and work hard to refine all the variables. There’s a place for you to shine in this world…do it. Reach for it.

Remember this familiar Sunday school song from days gone by?

This little light of mine,  I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Hide it under a bushel, No!   I’m gonna let it shine. Hide it under a bushel, No! I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Won’t let Satan blow it out,  I’m gonna let it shine. Won’t let Satan blow it out, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Let it shine til Jesus comes, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine til Jesus comes, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

How are you using your gifts today? Are you shining? Or are you still in the ‘underwater’ stages, pouring your heart and soul into developing your gift, working hard to improve, watching for opportunities and for the doors God may be opening for you? Are you stepping out and becoming recognized for your gift which has been hidden beneath the surface for so long? Are people beginning to take notice?

No matter where you’re at on the journey, keep it up. Know that with effort and persistence, you’ll reach the point where you’re gift is fully recognized, above the surface. You’ll no longer be plugging away, unnoticed. What you’re investing now, hidden from view, is worth the effort you put forth as God continues to mold you and teach you and prepare you for what He has in store. Don’t give up!

One of these days your perspective will change as you rise above the surface and rest on the peak of success…but never forget the passion and persistence that propelled you to that point.

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