And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. - Philippians 1:6
Today I am writing my final post for Lane of Roses. I have spent the last year writing devotionals for this ministry, and have loved the whole experience! When prompted to share about my time with LOR, I immediately knew what I wanted to say:
My favorite part about the Lane of Roses Writing Ambassador experience has been the editing process! You might think this sounds a little weird...who likes editing?! If you read on, I think you’ll see why.
Before joining the LOR team, I had been writing on my own blog for about 4 years. But writing for yourself is a little different than writing for a team. When you write for yourself, you get to choose your deadlines, your topics, or if you really even feel like writing that day. In addition to setting your own parameters, you also do your own editing.
Despite the convenience of doing your own editing, anyone who writes often knows that you need an outsider’s perspective if you want to really grow as a writer. This is because we are limited in how we are able to see ourselves. We have biased opinions, we have an ideal vision in our mind, and we don’t want to challenge ourselves too much. At the same time, we can be incredibly critical of ourselves, which isn’t always the best approach for flourishing.
At Lane of Roses, I would submit a draft, and another writer on the team would be assigned to do a peer review. At this stage, one of my teammates would read the piece and give me feedback on what I did well, and areas that could be improved or were unclear. This peer was given instructions on how to give me this feedback in a way that was encouraging and empowering, in contrast to the critical voice that we often have inside our heads. Through receiving feedback like this on over 10 of my written pieces, I was able to recognize some of my strengths as a writer!
Many of these strengths were things that I thought I was maybe doing well - but was really just guessing. To have others point it out and affirm the strength really gave me the confidence that I needed in my writing abilities - a confidence that could not have come from writing in isolation!
After the peer review was completed, a LOR staff woman would then read the piece for Biblical accuracy, spelling and grammar, and additional feedback. Again, this person was great about giving all feedback in a graceful and constructive way. At the same time, I was able to really be challenged to think about my writing in a way that my own biased lense just wouldn't have given me the clarity to do.
I think this is actually a great picture for life. How often do we enjoy receiving feedback? How often do we like to have our hard work or passion projects put under a microscope, only to be searched for flaws and the occasional “I like this part.” It isn’t always comfortable going through editing in life. But God puts us in community with one another so that we can become better versions of ourselves, for our good and for His glory.
We aren’t perfect, but we’ve been uniquely designed with strengths that can help build the Kingdom of God and leave the world a little more loved. But we need others to affirm those strengths sometimes. Despite our strengths, we all have a lot of growing to do - but if we isolate ourselves, we won’t have the gift of vision that God gives our peers to be able to challenge us and help us grow. God is doing a perfecting work in us - making us more and more like Jesus every day, and if we can walk in community, God will use those people to aid in His refining process.
So if I could take away one little gift from my Lane of Roses experience, it is the mindset shift that editing (in writing and in life) is good. It is great actually! And I hope that I will always be able to surround myself with others who are willing to point out my typos and the times when I’m not quite on track, while also embracing and lifting up my strengths to make me more like Jesus, and a little less of a rough draft. And I hope that, just like in the Writing Ambassador program, I will be brave enough to give the same kind of caring feedback to others - pointing out what makes them strong, and helping to mold them into the best version of themselves - for their good, for my good, and for God’s glory, as we all become a little more like Jesus every day.
Thank you Lane of Roses!
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Image above from Katherine Walton - https://katherinemei.com
Want to keep up with Kelsee as she moves to the next step in her journey? Follow her on Instagram @detangledandfree