Thursday, January 22, 2015

You Want Me To Do What? by Dora Hiers

We’re outta here! With their bags packed and camels loaded, the Jewish remnant of Judah planned to flee to Egypt. They’d had enough.

Ishmael had just slaughtered Gedaliah, the king’s appointed governor, and filled an entire cistern with dead bodies. Not only did the remnant fear Ishmael’s return, but they also worried about the king’s reaction to Gedaliah’s murder. Not that they had killed him, but back then they didn’t have Twitter or Facebook to spread the word.

The survivors begged Jeremiah for a word from the Lord. What should they do? Where should they go?
“Whether it is favorable or unfavorable, we will obey the Lord our God,” they said. (Jer 42:6 NIV)

Jeremiah relayed the Lord’s instructions: “Stay here in this land. If you do, I will bless you, and no one will harm you.” (Jer 42:10 TLB)

Say what? You want us to stay? They’d just witnessed horrific killings, and the Lord was telling them to stay, that no one would harm them? Outraged, they accused Jeremiah of siding with the Babylonians and departed for Egypt ~ against the Lord’s wishes.

Ouch. Hadn’t they just said they’d obey whether the news was favorable or unfavorable? At first, their flagrant disobedience blew my mind, but the longer I dwelled on it, I realized that whether it’s disobedience or ungratefulness, He views all sin the same. When God reveals His path and it doesn’t line up with my plans, isn’t my initial reaction usually disbelief or displeasure rather than gratitude? 

Case in point: my quest for an agent. My publisher doesn’t require an agent to submit, and since their contracts are fairly straightforward, I didn’t feel the need for one early on. Eleven books later, I would welcome career guidance and appreciate help navigating the ever-evolving publishing industry. So after prayer and research, last year I submitted my Harmon Heritage series to two well-known CBA agents, and both declined representation. OK. So God obviously didn’t want me partnering with them, but I didn’t perceive their rejections as a STOP sign, rather as a YIELD. I kept praying about my writing journey. Feeling a definite nudge to venture into unknown territory, I wrote Roping the Cowboy, my first book targeted for the mainstream market, and queried two more agents who represent both markets. Again, two more rejections. This time, I pouted. Yes, I admit. I sulked, and it wasn’t a pretty sight.


But if I'm praying for God to direct my path, shouldn't I be thrilled when He responds with either a RED or GREEN light? Was the nudge to write stories lacking a distinct faith element, but still sprinkled with grace and hope, truly from Him? Or had I mistaken His voice for my own?

I’m being completely transparent for a couple reasons. Let me just put it out there. First, I confess that I still struggle with discerning God’s will for my life and my writing. I can't be the only one, right?

Second, to encourage you that even published authors still receive rejections both from agents and publishers, and they still sting like a slap in the face. Not only that, but things start to wear a writer down. Lukewarm or negative reviews, no real down time because you're responding to emails and facebook posts or working on a galley when you're supposed to be on vacation, and the royalty statements that don't quite match the effort and time you've invested. Sometimes I wonder if it's worth it, if I shouldn't just let it all go...

But it doesn't let go of me. Because when I hit that pothole of discouragement, God rains down blessings. It may be a sweet friend who listens to me rant over coffee, a glowing review, an invitation to present a workshop because of a referral, or just hearing about someone else's problems and realizing mine pale in comparison. Sometimes, He plants another idea in my head and characters who yearn for their story to be heard, their hurts to heal, who crave forgiveness or who long for a second chance at love. Other times, He grants me a stellar word count day with peace that overflows from my heart and spills onto the page.

So, I’m still tooling down the road until God plants a ROAD BLOCK in front of me. 
What about you? Has the Lord revealed a different path recently than the one you expected to take? How did you respond?
The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty. ~Prov 22:3 NIV

You reign, Lord, in every aspect of my life. Take my hand and lead me where You’d have me go. Obliterate my fears and doubts. Fill my spirit with peace as only You can do. Amen.

****

Dora Hiers
Dora Hiers is a multi-published author of Heart Racing, God-Gracing romances. She’s a member of RWA, and her local chapter, Carolina Romance Writers. Connect with her here on Seriously Write, her personal blog, Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.


Purchase Link
After a humiliating breakup, best-selling romance author Teal Benning flees to Promise Lake to complete her current novel, minus paparazzi and flashing cameras. Suffering from writer's block and a broken heart, Teal accepts the offer of help from neighbor, Hunter Miciver.

Hunter longs to be more than the friend who picks up the shattered pieces of Teal's heart, but when Teal finds out his secret, will she see him for the man he is—a man of faith and devotion, a man who would cherish her for the rest of her days—or will she lump him into the same category as all the other men in her life, including her father?


Will Teal recognize when truth whispers her name?

21 comments:

  1. Don't you just love how God has that way of tempering the discouragement with something encouraging?

    Keep at it, Dora! Consider those rejections proof that you've chosen to persevere in your search!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes! How many of us could keep going without those occasional blessings of encouragement? And you're one of them to me. <3

      Delete
  2. Dora - I think you wrote this just for me. I grapple with knowing God's will for my writing life. Every time I think I have it figured out something happens to make me realize I don't have a clue. Either that or I'm extremely short on patience!

    I've grappled with rejection, trying different paths, and just wondering if it was worth it. Somehow I just can't quit writing.

    Thanks for being transparent and letting all of us know we aren't alone. i love your scripture references.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Writing is an exercise in patience, Terri, and definitely stretches us out of our comfort zone, doesn't it? But that just means we're more dependent on God, and maybe that's the reason for our struggles. Glad to know I'M not alone! Hugs!

      Delete
  3. Sorry, Terri, Dora wrote this for me. I'm on the last chapters of Hinds' Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. Dove tails with your post, Dora. I'm beginning to see that when the Road Block comes I should just shrug and say, "Okay, so be it. What can man really do to me? I'm on to the next thing in what God has called me to."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol, Zoe. I'm grateful that this spoke to your heart, too! I haven't heard of Hinds' Feet on High Places, but it sounds like a book I should read. It's all in our perspective, isn't it? :)
      I really enjoyed your post this week! Very encouraging, and I hope it works out for you.

      Delete
  4. Dora, thank you so much for this post! I know I stumble, wondering what God really wants me to do. Prayerfully, I am following His will. It is very encouraging to realize we are not alone on our journey. Dora, are in my prayers.
    When Truth Whispers sounds like a great book. I am going to have to check it out!
    Has the Lord revealed a different path recently than the one you expected to take? I love this question. After 10 years of going to school part time, I graduated with my Bachelor's degree in English in 2013. About half way through, I found out I love editing. So, with my degree I figured I could be a freelance editor. After several years, and getting comfortable editing, you know what God called me to do? Write! It is so different being on the other side of the pen lol. It is so much easier to see how to fix something that is already there than to write it the first time. I have three stories started, I am focusing on finishing one, and I have four young adult short stories that I wrote before my college days. They are really short, about 10 pages, and a mix between Nancy Drew and Goosebumps lol. I have no idea what God wants to do with my writing, but I feel Him leading my words and I'll put it in his hands. One recent confirmation: a recent forming of a writers' group in my area! I am so thankful for the ladies that are a part of it, (Zoe!). There is just so much to learn about this writing. But even back when I was writing the short stories, I always said, Even if it's just me that reads them, talking to God while I wrote them was worth it. Thanks for this great, encouraging post, Dora!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww! We'll stumble along together, Sally. I appreciate how God plants sweet friends to encourage us along our journey. So glad you're in my life now. I'll be praying for you, too, my friend! Congratulations on your degree.

      Delete
    2. The Lord so gave your friendship to me, Dora. Xoxox

      Delete
  5. Dora, you're an amazing author! And eleven books in four years? You've got a proven track record; any agent would be so blessed to have you. He's just preparing the perfect agent for you as you wait.

    Thank you for sharing this with us. Hugs, sweet friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope so, Angie, and believe me when I say I have this "waiting" thing down. I think He's moved on to patience. lol. Thanks for you sweet words, my dear friend. <3

      Delete
  6. Hi Dora, wow. This post means the world today. I am finally realizing what yield means. It means taking a step back and catching my breath. I wrote too much, too fast, without seeing any reason for it. And now it's time, cliche duh, , to smell the roses. I do know I'll be writing a short Christmas story, but...clearing away the cobwebs before anything else. I sure don't know where He is leading me...but the lesson I am learning is to trust Him until I get there. In the practical world...I am cleaning closets. It's kind of a metaphor, I'm sure. Love to you, my Friend! As always, you touched my heart more than you know. Xoxox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally understand stepping back and regrouping, Tanya, and oh how I hate to clean closets! lol. Mine have a tendency to spill out, whether it's towels or boxes, when I open the door. I'm glad that you're taking this time to refresh and restore your spirit, sweet friend. Love you!

      Delete
  7. Dora, thanks so much for your transparency! This post has been really helpful. A popular agent stopped showing interest after dangling the golden ring in front of my face for two years. No explanation. She just stopped corresponding. My husband was more upset than I was! But now that God has led me down a different path and I'm able to look back, I'm grateful that things have worked out this way. That doesn't mean I don't get impatient! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It stings, doesn't it? Better to deal with a little impatience now than enter into a relationship with an agent who doesn't communicate, though, right? Hope and pray you find the right fit, too, Dawn.

      Delete
  8. Dora, my sweet friend, I can't add much beyond what has already been posted, but I want to say thank you for the blessing of your heart and testimony. Love to you, and shine on!!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Dora,
    I, too, can't add much to what has already been said. I just thank God that he allowed our paths to intersect.
    The neat thing about this post is it can apply to anyone, the published author, the aspiring author (;>P) or anyone alive.
    God's Blessing to you, my friend!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As am I, RobbyeFaye! That's one thing I love about the Internet~ it allows us to connect with people whose paths might never have crossed. I'm so grateful for your friendship! <3

      Delete
  10. Great post. So important for authors of all genres to read. The blessing I've found by surrounding myself with author/writer friends is that they are willing to pick you up and help dust you off after a rejection or other heart breaking news comes in. I thank God for my writing friends and my critique partners. They remind me daily that this is a journey of a thousand miles. I'm so blessed that I don't have to walk it alone.

    I'm constantly asked how hard is it to write a children's book. Boy... if folks only knew!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maria!! It's great to see you here! :)
      I'm sure I'd have tossed my manuscript n the trash and abandoned my writing journey if it weren't for the encouragement of my writer friends. If you need me, you know where I am. :)

      Delete

We'd love to hear your thoughts! Please leave comments. We'll moderate and post them!