The old man’s face has so captivated your full attention you don’t notice the next picture on the screen. What he’s saying is obviously causing him physical pain. Reliving this forty-year-old memory isn’t necessary, is it? His pain is still as fresh and raw as when it first happened. His features are twisted, revealing the brokenness inside. You fear for his health because the pain’s profound physical effect is visibly tormenting and draining him. His aide, Joshua, reaches for him, to offer support–but is waved off. Instead, he offers the old man a cold water bottle, which he accepts. While he drinks, you look inside yourself to examine your fears. Yup, they’re still there. And they’re still very real. Those giants are still in the land. Those fortified walls are still in place. But God has already proven His power and given you some impossible victories. After you recount everything He has done for you and your people, you determine in your heart to believe Him and follow Him. And NOT to follow in the footsteps of your parents, causing more pain for your beloved leader and your God…
But you were unwilling to go up; you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God. You grumbled in your tents and said, “The Lord hates us; so he brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us. Where can we go? Our brothers have made our hearts melt in fear. They say, ‘The people are stronger and taller than we are; the cities are large, with walls up to the sky. We even saw the Anakites there.’ ” Duet 1:26-28
It was a beautiful morning. Crystal clear blue skies, warm temps, and sunlight drenching everything it could find. Glorious!
I was thankful for the optimistic weather because inside, I was a nervous wreck! It was the morning of my very first Christian Writers Conference, and I was the epitome of insecurity and self-doubt.
I arrived at the University of Northwestern early, got a sweet parking spot, and stepped right up to the registration table. I was still nervous, but I smiled brightly through my mask; afraid to reveal my fears. With all the business completed, I decided to go for a walk down memory lane—remembering friends, classes, teachers and other things from the time I was a student there. I was hoping that saturating myself with the familiar would calm my nerves. And it seemed to work…
…Until I went back inside.
The people had arrived.
My heart filled with panic as I took in the massive crowd. Not because of the crowd itself, but because of what I saw—a tidal wave of people vying for the Promised Land (PL) God has already given me. I felt hopeless. Unqualified. Out of place. Self-conscious. And I wanted to leave.
Then God spoke to my heart, “That’s not what I see.”
Ooof. Get wrecked! I was convicted. I had been selfish and prideful. I was behaving like this writing thing was my project, not God’s calling. I immediately told on myself (confessed my sin) and whispered, “You’re right. Please forgive me. What do you see?”
“These are my kids. Each is writing for a different genre. Each is reaching a different target audience. Each writes for the same purpose—to tell others about My Son and to spread the Gospel. They’re all answering My call, working to fulfill the dream I’ve buried deep inside their heart.”
“Help me see what you see.”
Then He opened my tear-filled eyes. The room was no longer filled with competition but with hundreds of men and women obediently following God’s call on their lives. There were teenagers and adults up to 80+ years old. Every shape, size, and color was there. There were various walks of life, interests, hobbies, and personal styles represented. It. Was. Beautiful! A taste of heaven.
On the way home that evening, I realized Satan tried to melt my heart in fear. He tried to keep me from scouting the land and making plans on how to conquer and occupy it. He tried to make me run in the opposite direction and long for something other than God’s best for me–just like he did with the Israelites.
Had I left:
- I would have lost the opportunity to meet a new and dear friend.
- I would have missed out on the encouraging words of our keynote speaker, Liz Curtis Higgs.
- I would have rejected the chance to worship with other writers (who were just as afraid as I was) and feel the Spirit drench us with His presence, power, and grace.
- I would have castaway the education I got in my classes and the opportunity to meet an agent whose encouragement helped solidify my resolve to keep going.
Beloved, there are scary things in our land. No said it was going to be easy. There are giants and strong walls. I have shared some of mine; finding an agent, editor, and publisher.
And while I was at the conference, I discovered a few more:
- The need for a stronger online presence (now you can hang out with me on Facebook, Instagram, andTwitter; Pinterest is coming soon)
- The need for a website and blog (To which you are invited to subscribe to)
- The need to build a solid reader base before publishing (Thank you for joining me!)
Talk about intimidating! From a business standpoint, this makes sense. But it’s daunting, especially to the technologically impaired. My website is still not fully finished, and I have yet to figure out how to create personalized messages for those who follow me on Twitter and subscribe to my blog. But, one battle at a time, right?
Beloved, this is all going to take diligence, effort, and time. But it’s also going to take faith—even when things don’t go as planned; even when rejection letters come; and even when harsh, cruel words are hurled my direction.
Your PL is no different. Don’t quit! Don’t let Satan melt your heart with fear. Trust God. Cling to Him. Resolved to see it through. The process is just as important as the destination. It’s what shapes you and molds you. It’s what humbles you and makes you more reliant on your Savior.
Here are a few of the verses I turn to and claim in the midst of fear in pursuing my calling:
- The land the Lord our God has given us is indeed a good land. (Deut 1:25).
- “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
- We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
- You didn’t choose me, I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for using my name. (John 15:16)
- Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
- “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)
- “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Philippians 1:3-6).