Today I reached tears again in this publishing journey. For a person who idolizes task completion, this industry is a bear! I write for many varied venues and in several diverse genres. Each segment of the publishing world has dissimilar requirements, slightly different hoops, and, even within a similar publishing realm, the criteria vary with agencies or publishers. This makes for formatting headaches and, often, weeping. Woe is me!
Woeful, that is, until I remember that God isn’t only concerned with the goal, the finished product. No. He’s more concerned with the journey and the refining process that occurs as I aim toward the goal, because that process is where he remakes and transforms me into the woman he has planned for me to be, his workmanship from beginning to end.
His task is to change me more and more into the likeness of his Son. He uses every aspect of my life to do it. The same is true for you. Spiritual growth doesn’t occur in only a narrow area that we’ve defined as “God space,” say church or when we study the Bible. God is omniscient. He is Spirit. He knows us inside and out. He is concerned with every single area of my life and yours. He will use anything he chooses to promote, produce, and prod spiritual growth.
God is also in control of the results and how long it takes to achieve them. I must let go of my expectations, trusting my hopes entirely into his hands. This is also part of the growth process. I am not in control, though I often think I am. I am preaching to myself here.
As I’ve logged my 10,000 hours, my writing has become more refined. I have been polished and perfected in the process. My skin is thicker; I can take criticism; I can adjust and revise. I’m growing. I see the Lord’s hand in the refinement as he sharpens this instrument into a more finely-tipped pen.
Because I’ve been marketing my fiction for four years now (waiting and weeping), I’m most familiar with that world. Log lines, blurbs, synopses, queries, proposals, opening pages, partials, and full manuscripts—all honed, tweaked, submitted, revised, and submitted again. I know what is required as I prepare for contests, conferences, and online queries.
I also write for the inspirational market and have had some success. I’m familiar with the workings of “my” publisher and “my” editor. I’m exploring ways to broaden my offerings into various markets. More waiting and weeping.
But, the world I’m tackling now—getting my own Bible-study material online for sale on my own site—is a brand new venture. For seven years I’ve been writing this material for publication by my church, working about twenty-five hours a week, accruing files of documents all languishing in my computer. Every year I take feedback from the congregation and revise, making a more user-friendly product. When people from around the world began using my material, I knew this process had produced a good result.
The Lord reminded me gently that it’s good and well for the laborer to receive a wage.
So, for about a year now, I’ve been working on getting this material to market. Reformatting the material for sale, building a site that will support a shopping cart and online marketplace, incorporating and aligning my business with requirements both federal and state, and strengthening and equipping myself to straddle yet another writers’ market has been a major challenge. These all must be done with integrity and care.
My first free samples are now available. But I’m still preparing for my launch. I hope sales can begin by the end of the year, but the process is both spiritual and commercial. It cannot be hurried. All t’s must be crossed, and all i’s must be dotted.
I’ve learned that, because I do spiritual work in all categories, each step is fraught with spiritual warfare and the potential for discouragement and self-doubt. The process of learning to rely on the Holy Spirit for what seems mundane (say, formatting a document) is the lesson—a tough lesson for a self-reliant, overachieving firstborn from pioneer stock. A malfunctioning document prep can derail me emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Hence, today’s weeping. But “God-space” envelops every area of my life.
So, I’m learning to rely on Jesus for everything, which is the lesson of every believer’s life. The crucible of writing has been the refining pot. I am in need of much refinement. I’m glad to have the dross burnt off. I am growing. Jesus, do the work!
How is God using your work to teach you the ins and outs of relying on him?