Recently, a friend wrote me an email. She was confused. She wanted to know if the waiting and the rejection could be God’s way of telling her to quit writing.
This isn’t uncommon. A lot of Christian writers question whether God wants them to quit. I know I’ve been there. But then I read verses like this:
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
And it makes me think God cares a lot less about what we’re doing, and a lot more about our hearts in the midst of it.
In the years leading up to getting an agent, and then the long months before I got a book deal, I occasionally wrestled with the question, “Should I quit?” And through copious amounts of prayer, I realized that God wasn’t asking me to sacrifice my writing. He was asking me to sacrifice my dream.
The writing was just what I was doing. I could do that to my heart’s delight. But my dreams? Those had a hold of my soul way more than the physicality of typing words on a computer. And God wanted me to give those dreams to Him.
So I did. Over and over and over again.
I didn’t stop writing. But I surrendered my hopes and my ambitions. I literally had to say, “Lord, I know I’m called to write. But only You know if I’m called to publish.” I put it on the altar and I asked that He would be my goal. That He would be my prize. That He would be my consuming passion. Not an agent or a book deal, but Jesus.
That was my prayer. Every morning. I wrote. And surrendered. Wrote. And surrendered. More times than I can count.
You want to know what’s amazing?
God answered that prayer. I got to this crazy insane place where I started praising God for the waiting. Because that waiting was bringing me to my knees in a way I never would’ve been had I not passed through it. That waiting drew me into the very lap of Jesus. Where He truly did become my consuming passion. And the joy I experienced was off the hook.
So when my friend wrote me that email, God reminded me that maybe I need to start surrendering again.
Because His plan for me is
publication. I got the agent and I got the book deal. But on this side of both, as amazing as they are, I can say, with 100% certainty, that they aren’t what ultimately satisfy.
Sure, it’s fun and exciting. When I got an agent, I was on cloud nine for a week. When I got a book deal, I was on cloud nine for another week. But then what? Life resumes and I’m left wanting more.
I used to think, “If I could just get an agent…” or “If I could just have a book on the shelf….” then I would be validated and fulfilled and good to go. But it’s a lie straight from Satan.
Because now I’m thinking, “If could just get good reviews…” or “If I could just sell this many copies…” And I find myself filled with insecurity and stress and doubt because God’s given me the desires of my heart and somewhere along the line, I’ve lost focus.
Somewhere along the line, I want more. Great reviews. Great sales. And it’s like this insidious monster that needs to be fed.
But you know what?
It will never be full.
It’s such a lie. Just like it’s a lie when the businessman thinks that next promotion will bring fulfillment. Or the lady thinks losing five more pounds will bring happiness. Sure, for a time it will. But what about when the excitement wears off and there’s another promotion to chase and another five pounds to lose? We’ll always want a little bit more. It’s like chasing the wind.
So as I responded to my friend, I knew God was asking me to get back to that place. Where I was waiting and facing rejection, but praising God in the midst of it. That place where my satisfaction, my identify, my everything is grounded in the unshakable foundation of Jesus Christ. Because the publishing industry is not going to satisfy. Not like we think it will before the book deal.
We all have an Isaac. All of us have that one thing we hold too close to our hearts. It could be an agent or a book deal or good reviews or great sales or a husband or a child or promotion or a number on a scale or whatever.
God’s asking if we love Him enough to put our Isaac’s on the altar.
Let’s Talk: Do you fall into the trap of thinking that if you could just get an agent or a book deal or a certain sales number, you’d be happy? If you’re not a writer, what is it that you’re chasing? Might God be asking you to surrender it?
Yesterday, I read a post by Jody Hedlund about the inevitable identity crisis that happens after publication. I think this crisis is so popular because as writers, we’re tempted to make publication our “end prize”. But man, if that’s our “end prize”, we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment.
Congratulations to Keli Gwyn! I used a random number generator to pick the winner of my super duper early book giveaway and Keli won! I hope you enjoy, Keli!