Real, not Artificial

by Jan Powell

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed”

(1 Peter 1:6-7, NIV).


I like fake plants. They always look good and require little effort. With occasional dusting or a quick spray-off, I get compliments on them.

I love when I’m asked, “Is that real?”

“Real? Yes, but not living. Artificial.”

Living plants, usually received as gifts, take work. And I fail to help them thrive. After I overwater or neglect them, they wither and die. Either way, I feel guilty.  The insistence of the giver that “this plant is easy to care for” exacerbates my shame.

Right. Easy for you, maybe. Not for me.

Success with living plants requires attention.

In a similar way, I want to write things worthy of admiration. My mild ADD leads me to start too many projects and finish few. Sometimes I get stuck trying to mimic authors I admire. My poor caretaking has resulted in dead projects in my computer.

Healthy plants require the right amount of water, sunlight, and pruning. My writing needs to be scheduled, written, and edited.

I’ve learned not to envy “green thumb” writers. I’m astounded by how other people churn out thousands of words and dozens of articles and books. I start too many to finish. Others care for manuscripts like live plants with the right kind of disciplined attention.

Two inside plants rely on me. Just two. After nearly killing one, I’ve got it growing again. In a similar way, we need a reasonable number of projects to focus on.

Authenticity requires time and care. Trying to imitate a favorite writer can sound flat and false. So to remain creative and real we pull from our less-than-perfect lives to share the truth. Vulnerability leads to writing that has depth, beauty, and wisdom. Our words deserve focused care to flourish.

Life-giving and powerful manuscripts vanquish the superficial. So, we let God use our flaws and our gifts to accomplish his goals. If we pay attention to his calling, that pleases the Lord. With practice, we improve and people benefit from a real message.

Dear Lord, help me continue writing and growing. Keep me authentic. Amen.


Jan Powell, a graduate of the University of South Florida has two small businesses. As a writer she has worked with thirty people on forty book projects through Writing with You. Jan edits, coaches, and ghost writes for fiction and non-fiction. She has been published in The Wordsmith Journal, Splickety, and regularly contributes to Inkspirations.

2 thoughts on “Real, not Artificial”

  1. Thank you so much for your transparency. I can totally relate. Will try to take your wise counsel to heart!

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