I am so delighted to have won TWO honourable mentions (with the third short story I entered also selected as one of 35 finalists) in this wide-reaching contest that attracted well over 1,000 entries, awarding only 12 prizes. And in my delight I’ve been sharing the news everywhere, many friends and associates rejoicing with my giggling joy.
I mean, who’d know if I didn’t tell them?
It’s encouraging to me to be recognized by such a popular, international contest (judged blind, my name not appearing on the entries). The money I received wasn’t significant, nothing like the Grace Irwin prize offered yearly by our own Canadian organization, The Word Guild. But gaining recognition in these types of contests tells me that I’m on the right track–and every writer needs that sort of encouragement. I hope that my advertising spurs on other writers in my circles to enter contests or send out pieces for publication, even older work like the stories I submitted. We need to get the word out that writers are appreciated and being read.
But I wonder where the line is between sharing of news and prideful crowing?
My husband and I have been reading Proverbs together in the mornings lately, and that book is chockfull of warnings against pride, such as:
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom (11:2).
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall (16:18).
One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honour (29:23).
My sister assures me that feeling proud is correct (as in the dictionary definition: “much pleased [exultant] . . . having proper self-respect”). I know that in my heart I don’t feel the sort of pride that elevates my own opinion of myself above others (as in the biblical story of Lucifer); rather, I give the glory to the God who created me and affords me the opportunity to write at this time in my life.
But even if my internal attitude is good, does my broadcasting come across to others as boastful? Maybe it is boastful. As Proverbs says:
Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of a gift he does not give (25:14).
These warnings demand self-reflection. My goal is humility, wisdom, lowliness in spirit: How does this interface with my sharing wonderful news that has the ability to cause envy in others? (I know this ability experientially, as nothing can rile up my covetousness like the publishing successes of others!)
How do I avoid becoming a cloud without rain? How do I better give of my gift?