Do you remember the Tortoise and Hare story?
It is a tale of two animals. Hare was a very prideful animal who liked to boast about his running abilities. Tortoise, on the other hand, was the exact opposite of Hare. He was very humble. Being tired of hearing Hare brag about how good he was, Tortoise challenged Hare to a race.
As all the forest animals gathered to watch the race of the year, Tortoise and Hare took off on the track. Hare sprinted out of the gate, running with lightning speed down the path. After getting a significant distance ahead of Tortoise, Hare decided to rest under a tree. He was, after all, exhausted from his sprinting! It was there that he fell asleep.
While Hare slept, Tortoise took his race in stride, slowly, but consistently running down the path toward the finish line. When he got to the place where Hare was sleeping, Tortoise paused for a minute, wondering if he should wake him. Deciding against it, Tortoise continued down his path at a steady pace to the finish line.
In the meantime, Hare woke in a frenzy. He had no idea where Tortoise was. When Hare began running again, he heard cheering, which he thought was for him. However, as he approached the finish line, he quickly realized the cheering was for Tortoise, who had just finished the race – Tortoise had won the race!! It was a victory for all the forest animals as they would no longer have to hear Hare boast about his accomplishments ever again.
Are You a Hare?
I love this story on so many levels. As a writer, I have found this story to be so true of my writing career. In one season of my writing life, I was running at break-neck speed, trying to build an audience, striving to produce, and needing to feel accomplished and successful as a writer.
Maybe you too can relate to being a Hare! Do any of these statements resonate?
- You follow several different authors in hopes of soaking in all their “magical secrets” to success.
- You have a strong desire and drive to produce a lot of content – often – to feel worthy of calling yourself an author.
- You find yourself pushing through steps so that you can earn an income from writing?
- You think writing a book is the only way to consider yourself an author and so you write words and thoughts that are not yet fully developed.
Being a Hare is what the world says you need to do to be a successful writer and it is a message that puts hustle as a number one priority.
I Was Hare
About two years into my writing adventure, I decided to take an Author class. In this Mastermind, a literary agent took the course through the requirements necessary to become a published author.
This class was very eye-opening. It gave me a massive dose of reality of the modern day publishing world. In an obvious way, this class made me realize that if I wanted to get a book published, it was less about the words I wrote, and more about who I have following me.
In other words, I needed to build my platform. And not just any platform, but a large platform.
The Type-A, striving, perfectionist side of me kicked into full gear. I started running full speed, trying to figure out how to get “my tribe.”
And so I ran – hard. Day after day I pushed myself to do “all the right things.” I followed many experts who all claimed they could show me the way. On many levels, I was Hare coming out of the start line, sprinting to the finish line. However, like Hare, my energy also quickly drained, and I found myself completely exhausted.
To make matters worse, I let my top priorities in life – spending time with God, being a present and engaged mom and wife, and having margin in my days for extended family and friends – be replaced with Hare-like striving.
I’ve done this perfectionistic, strive-at-all-cost road before and I was not going to relive it. And so, like Hare, I sat down and rested. It was in this season of slowing down that God spoke to my weary soul.
He helped me see that striving is not what He wants from me.
“Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, ‘Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me, and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?” (Mark 8:36, MSG)
And He helped me see that I was striving for all the wrong reasons.
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13: 5-6)
And so, with these truths and with a new song in my heart, I began choosing to take my hands off the wheel and letting God take the reigns.
Even though there is work to be done to build a platform, the time in which that is achieved is no longer a short-term sprint. It is a lifelong commitment to following God, faithfully walking in the calling He has placed on my life, and in a rhythm consist of God’s steps.
Friend, if you find yourself living the writing life as a Hare, I pray this post and these Bible verses inspire you to let God and His peace-filled rhythms be your guide.