Tuesday, September 3, 2013
They That Wait by Wondering Heart
Words that pierce my unpublished heart: "I just signed a contract. The publisher wants my novel. I won the contest. I never wanted to be a writer, but God wouldn’t let me go."
I’m happy for those authors, I am. I know how frustrating the writing life can be, and by God’s grace, they’ve reached their goal. But each time I hear those words, my hope flakes like paint on a beach house abandoned by the shore. After too many years, I can’t voice the questions anymore, but they’re there, hanging in the silence between me and my Savior.
Why, God, why? When I feel the call to write so keenly, why do the doors remain closed? When I’ve longed for that moment, prepared for it by studying the craft, writing and rewriting, submitting my work to critique groups as I should, why do others cross the line while I lag behind?
When I hear those words, I offer my congratulations. It’s the right thing to do, even if doubt drenches me like a summer rain. I understand it’s a long process, and I know if something is meant to happen, it will in His time. I’ve been told so often, the phrase has lost its encouraging edge.
However, the question is no longer when but if. Does God really want me to write, or have I misinterpreted my own desires as His?
Like others discouraged by the process, I once decided writing wasn’t God’s will for my life. I sold writing books and threw conference recordings in the trash. Not long after, I was drawn back and promptly quartered. Critiques were returned bathed in red. Judges’ comments arrived with barbs that hurt worse than a cortisone shot to the spine. Once again, the questions rose. I developed a rebellious attitude and said, no more! And once again, I was conscripted, and I found myself an indentured servant to a career that drives me batty and to a God I love, but whose plan befuddles me.
To those of you experiencing this angst, I’m sure you’re expecting encouragement at this point. But we’ve heard it all, and our heads know it even if our hearts are confused. The truth is none of us knows if we’ll experience that moment of conception when we sign our name on that line, and then, at the end of the publishing gestational period, we’ll hold our baby in our hands. To avoid the heartache, we can quit the business, even if we can’t stop writing. We can say no, Lord. It’s too much. We can’t take the pain anymore.
But if we find the call irresistible, we need to move forward with the understanding that if God did call us to this life, He’ll use our work as He sees fit. So let’s settle in for the long haul. This may take many more years, my friend. Press on. Keep the faith and keep writing. God may use us in ways we never expected.
Have you ever felt like Wondering Heart? Have you ever quit writing? What, if anything, made you start again? Comment below and let's start talking.
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Wondering Heart's journey is similar to that of others in the field. At a young age, she felt the call and throughout her childhood, she wrote short stories, cheesy poems, and a better version, of course, of her favorite movie. The opportunity to focus on writing on a full-time basis arose during her adult years, and since that time, she has written articles and short stories, won one contest, almost won another one, and calls the rest a learning experience. She is a member of ACFW and has volunteered on occasion for the organization, and Christian Writers Guild.