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Ecclesiastes 4:4

Last night, this verse spoke directly to my heart.

Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless-- like chasing the wind.

It is something I needed to know. For so long I have struggled with mixed feelings about seeking recognition or publication of my work. Something deep inside me has held back, and I have not known why.

I have seen what other people do, and I have thought that I should do that, too, and I have tried to do it, but it hasn't worked. Other people get a lot of recognition and attention for the things they create, and I get almost none.

But I have a desire to create and publicize beauty. Whether it's a photograph or a story of my own, or a poem or a painting of someone else's, sharing what I find beautiful gives me joy, and I believe it is good to God, and makes the world a better place.

Perhaps this verse was not written for me, because I am not the person who wants more money, more things, a higher-paying job. But when I read it, it gave me a sense of freedom. It no longer matters to me how much attention or recognition I get, because what I do is its own reward. And the creative work that is not its own reward, I no longer want to do.

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