I will commit everything I do to the Lord.
I will trust Him to help me do it, and He will.
Have you ever been ready to give up? Have you tried everything you know but feel like you’re banging your head against a brick wall? What do you do when the accuser tells you that your best isn’t good enough – that it never has been and never will be?
Perhaps it’s a manuscript you’ve been working on for years. You’ve rewritten it not just once or twice but many times. Still you’ve been unsuccessful in finding anyone interested in publishing it. And it makes no sense because you know it’s something God has called you to write. You’ve studied the craft. You’ve gone to critique groups and conferences trying to find that missing something. And now . . . now you’re not sure you can keep on keeping on.
That was my experience with my first book that some of you know was rejected by 42 publishers over a six-year period. If I had given up (and believe me, there were many times I wanted to), it and the eight books that followed would never have been published. I would not have founded the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference in 1983 or said yes in 1997 to directing the Colorado Christian Writers Conference.
Yes, there have been many times when I’ve doubted and when, as my friend and writing mentor Lee Roddy admonished me years ago, I’ve “listened to the wrong voices.” The accuser still taunts me. “You’re not smart enough. You can’t do this.” And that’s true. What the Lord asks me to do is so far beyond my abilities. I can easily become overwhelmed and stressed. Like dangling my little toe in quicksand, I can get sucked down into that dark place of doubt and fear. It happened again just yesterday.
“Worship Me,” I felt the Lord say. “Put on a CD and worship Me.” To be honest, it would have been easier to continue wallowing in the quicksand. But I obeyed. The darkness began to lift. Lessons I thought I’d learned and even written about in my book, Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers), came to mind.
I need, we need to …
Keep our eyes on the Lord, on how far we’ve come, and on the prize. It’s easy to allow problems and challenges to consume us and to blind us to the Lord’s presence, to how far we’ve come, and to the prize. “I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us” (Philippians 3:14 TLB) Paul wrote from prison in Rome. Paul had reason to be greatly frustrated and discouraged by the loss of his freedom. He could have questioned the Lord and concluded that his ministry was over. Instead he focused on the needs of the churches and wrote letters that continue to encourage Christ-followers almost 2,000 years later.
Cut the tapes from our past. Although Paul never forgot the person he was before he encountered the Lord on the Damascus Road, he did not wallow in the past or dwell on what others thought or said about him. Instead he embraced the truth of Zephaniah 3:17: “He is a mighty Savior. He will give you victory. He will rejoice over you with great gladness; he will love you and not accuse you” (TLB). Paul was able to preach and write about the message of salvation because of his firsthand experience of God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness.
Don’t grieve the Lord by our lack of faith. Although sometimes it may seem that He’s not listening, we need to trust that He will equip us with all we need for doing his will (see Hebrews 13:20). It’s not easy to wait on the Lord and to have Hebrews 11:1 faith in what we can’t yet see, but “God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn; he will never go back on his promises” (Romans 11:29 TLB).
Do our best and trust God for the rest. The fear of failure can paralyze us if we let it, and that’s exactly what our adversary wants. I grieve for the books that have not been published and for ministries that have been abandoned because of the evil one’s accusations. I pray for those who are frustrated and discouraged by the need to build their platform and questioning their call to “write His answer.” Friends, we must not leave God out of the equation. Instead we need to affirm His promise that He is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20 NIV).
Father, help us to believe You and not the accuser. Thank You for loving us and for being bigger than our fears. Thank You for encouraging us not to give up. We will keep on expecting you to help us. We will praise you more and more. We will walk in the strength of the Lord our God (Psalm 71:14, 16 TLB).
What promise do you claim when you are tempted to give up?
I keep an excerpt from Write His Answer
taped to the cabinet next to my desk.
When discouragement sets in,
when the loneliness of writing and the
enormity of the task threatens to overwhelm me,
Write His Answer spurs me on. I can think
of no better resource for helping a writer
maintain a biblical perspective than this book.
I’ve worked all day yesterday adding bios, editorial needs, and what they are teaching for the 19 editors serving on this year’s faculty. Wow! Thank You, Father, for their willingness to come. The page isn’t live – yet! It needs proofreading, and I still need to add the pages for our authors, agents, and other professionals – a total of 57 faculty members. I’ll let you know when everything is live. Meanwhile, check out our 8 continuing sessions, 61 workshops, 3 clinics, and keynotes at www.philadelphia.writehisanswer.com. I’m extending the opportunity for an additional free one-on-one appointment (a total of FIVE for those who attend Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) to an additional 25 more conferees. Don’t miss out!