Sitting in my office each day, typing out stories that no one has read yet, I do. And that adds pressure. I feel pressure to finish and get published as quickly as possible, so that all this effort will mean something. I want people to read my work and hopefully come closer to God. I want to accomplish His work and please Him.
And I’ll admit – though this doesn’t sound spiritual at all – I want to get paid. I love my part-time job and I feel like God is telling me to stay put and keep writing. But that doesn’t mean I don’t worry about the financial implications.
It looks like getting published will solve all these problems. But the other night, God reminded me of the truth.
I AM HERE.
In my post, ‘Waiting, Self-Doubt and Heroes’, I talked about people in the Bible who have had to wait – Abraham, Joseph, David and Jesus included. Yet while I recognized that waiting is normal, even an honor, I still felt like I needed to accomplish some ‘success’ before God would be pleased with me. I felt like He wasn’t with me in the waiting.
I should have known better. Actually, I did know better – in my head. Sometimes it takes a while longer to trickle down into my heart.
Almost a week ago, God dropped this one on me: “I am here”. And now I feel so relieved. God is here now. Not when I get published, convert a friend or do some other good deed. He is beside me in the present. In the waiting. And if my heart is in the right place – seeking Him – then He is already pleased.
The implications are enormous. The pressure is off; I don’t need to rush. I can let go of my frantic drive to accomplish something and embrace His peace. And it’s good.
With my previous mindset, I was limiting God. I didn’t think He was working because I couldn’t see it. So I strove to get myself to a place where God would use me. And I ignored the fact that God’s work is often unseen, and that it is always happening. Even in the waiting.
So now I’ll ask for His help to remember His truth: He is always with me and is always working. And I’ll pray that He keeps showing me areas where I need more reminding.
Hey all! I’m excited to announce that I’ll be going on a blog tour over the next six months or so, starting on Friday. I’ll keep up with my regular posts on this blog, and also put up the links to my guest posts. There will usually be about one guest post a month. But to kick things off, I’m bursting out of the gate with four guest spots in the next four weeks.
So get aboard the blog tour train and check out my guest posts, starting with Ada Brownell’s blog on Feb 28. Get excited!
You are wasting your time. No one will see or appreciate your work. You’re failing.
Even though I haven’t been consciously thinking those discouraging thoughts, they’ve definitely been on my mind over the past few weeks. Self-doubt has been infecting me. Quietly hovering on the edge of my subconscious, a general feeling of failure and foreboding has been like that sticky black goo that covers Peter Parker in Spiderman 3. Strong, dark, evil, and hard to get rid of.
Part of it is my addiction to affirmation. God’s weaning me off it, and this novel-writing venture is certainly stretching me. It will be a very long time before an agent, editor or reader tells me, “Good job!”. In the meantime I must plot, research, write, read, re-write, edit, edit, edit, re-write and so it goes on.
To put it simply, the waiting is frustrating. Alone at my computer, sometimes I feel insignificant, unworthy and foolish.
But then God reminded me of something I should have known all along: everyone has to wait.
Abraham stayed childless for decades. Joseph served time first as a slave, then as a prisoner. David was chased from cave to cave. Even Jesus spent years building tables and chairs. I’ll bet they were all tempted to feel forgotten, useless or alone. Yet when the time was right they founded nations, ruled empires and saved the universe.
The book of James opens with the words, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds”. (James 1:2 NIV, emphasis mine.) Pure joy? That’s right. Because God is teaching me perseverance; giving me maturity. Same as He did for them.
It’s a little humbling. Suddenly I almost feel proud that God is asking me to wait. I’m sharing in an experience that all the greatest men and women of faith have gone through. It’s an honour, really.
And so is God’s reminder in Psalm 139 that I’m not alone. Even when it’s been just me and my computer all day, God’s actually paying pretty close attention.
O LORD, You have searched me
and You know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
You perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
You are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
You know it completely, O LORD.
Psalm 139:1-4 NIV
How about you? How do you feel when you’re stuck waiting? What do you do about it?