Today’s blog appears on Seriously Write: Click HERE to read there.
In spite of what I see on motivational mantras, I know that success doesn’t depend entirely on me. Dreaming big and working hard doesn’t guarantee my success. The outcome doesn’t rely upon only my actions. There is Providence.
Whoever “happens” to see my work, whether a global tragedy occurs on my launch day taking media attention elsewhere, whether I am struck down by a chronic illness as my first novel goes to publication – all of these are outside my control. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell calls this luck, but we believe in the sovereignty of God.
This should be remarkably freeing, but I find myself repeatedly tied up in knots. I’ve been relying on myself and my own strength for decades. I don’t know how to rely entirely and totally upon Christ, to let go and simply trust. My life has been fraught with too many hardships. I’m a doubter. He’s teaching me. I’m trying to learn, but I am self-reliant.
When I first began to write, He whispered to me that my responsibility was to use my gifts for Him, while His responsibility was the outcome. Since then He has repeated this, bringing it to me in what I’m reading, in words from others, in my dreams, from His Word.
I’m of pioneer stock, a workaholic to the bone, a descendant of covered-wagon farm families. If we don’t do it, it won’t get done. If we don’t work until we drop, we may die on the prairie. This is my ancestral heritage, watched and observed and absorbed.
Therefore, I throw everything I’ve got at this task of writing and marketing. I read all the marketing blogs and apply them. I build my platform. I learn all the savvy skills. I tweak my website. I’m highly Google-able. I also hone the craft. I tell a good story. I produce professional material. I write 5-star review novels. I labor over my work. I do all of this is a noisy, saturated market, just like you do.
But it all boils down to this: “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it…It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the fruit of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved, even in his sleep” (Psalm 127:1a, 2).
Doors open. We don’t know how. Doors close. We don’t know why.
Our writing careers are in God’s hands. If we’ve done all we can do, can we leave it with Him? Can we believe that the book He saw into publication – answering prayers and opening doors in miraculous ways – will be read by those HE has chosen?
Can we? That is faith.
We’re learning to trust God in new ways, sending our books out into this filled-to-the-brim market with millions of other books. We often feel invisible. But if we serve God faithfully, no matter what fruit we see on earth, we will receive the reward of having written in obedience and faith, persevering when it was difficult, pressing on when the Lord led us to do so.
The Lord will fulfill His purpose in us. He will. Our part is to use His gifting in the most excellent way. To represent Him truly. To write of Him faithfully. To do all we are able. To pray. And to trust Him.
It’s in His hands. We cannot lose sight of the bigger picture.
“God’s ultimate purpose in redemptive history is to create a people to dwell in his presence, glorifying him through numerous varied activities and enjoying him forever. The story begins with God in eternal glory, and it ends with God and his people in eternal glory. At the center stands the cross, where God revealed his glory through his Son.” (ESV Study Bible, The ‘Bookends’ of Biblical Theology)