July 26, 2018
“For we live by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV)
Have you ever felt God calling you to step out in faith, only to find yourself wondering if you heard Him wrong?
I understand. Doubt crossed my mind daily when I began listening to the promptings on my heart to write.
I especially remember feeling overwhelmed while pursuing writer trainings and attending conferences when I was a wannabe-writer with nothing more than a book proposal and a dream. It’s hard not to feel small and unsure when you’re surrounded by noted publishers, authors and agents. So when the day finally came for me to sign pre-release copies of my own book, two thoughts went through my mind.
First — thank You Jesus, that people actually came to my book signing. Because there's nothing quite like standing there with a big stack of free promotion books, a permanent marker and not a soul interested.
I just wanted to hug every single one of them. Seriously. And if I had lots of money, I would've bought them all a steak dinner. I'm not kidding.
The second thought was — look for those desperate for your encouragement.
Many who came through my book signing line were interested in writing a book. I remember feeling that same way.
I know what it feels like to walk around with a tote bag full of book proposals and a heart full of nervous hope.
I know what it feels like to consciously choose to live every day “by faith, not by sight” like our key verse, 2 Corinthians 5:7, instructs. Honestly, it's hard to hold on to God's promises when all that's staring back at you is a pile of rejection letters.
That calling we once felt so strongly starts to feel more like a fairytale than a future reality.
So, I felt the weight of responsibility to give them the encouragement I so desperately needed when I was in their shoes.
Maybe you are there right now, looking to actively pursue your dreams or the things God has called you to do. But whether it's the hope of being an author or another dream you have bumping around in your heart, here's what I've learned:
Rejection from people doesn't mean rejection from God.
If God has gifted you to write, write! You don't need a book deal to have an impact with your writing. The same is true with other dreams. If you're called to sing, create, teach, paint, develop — use your gifts right where you are to bless others.
Most overnight success stories are years in the making.
Value the daily discipline of small steps of faith, hard work, honing your craft and putting in time learning and developing. Take classes. Be mentored. Push through those moments you want to slack off. And do it over and over, year after year.
Be a blessing to others.
Don't keep your work to yourself. Find people who could be blessed with your work. I love to write. But what I love more than writing is seeing my writing help other people. That's where I find the encouragement to push through the hard times.
The challenges and disappointments and setbacks are all part of it. And honestly, these hard times serve a great purpose. I've learned much more from my failures in writing than my successes. Use these lessons — don't waste them by giving up too soon. And remember to glorify Him whether it's a struggle or a success. God uses all things for good.
Look for the small open doors right in front of you.
I always scratch my head when I meet people who tell me they want to write and speak but aren't willing to teach a small Bible study first. If God is calling you to do something, He'll have a door open in front of you. But it might be a small door. Look for the small door, and walk through it.
Actually — dance through that door with great joy because He will always do great things with people willing to be faithful in the small!
Dear Lord, I'm choosing to live by faith, not by sight. I believe You have amazing plans for my life, and I want to be obedient to You through it all. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." (NIV)
Zechariah 4:10a, "Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin." (NLT)
When it comes to pursuing your dream to write, how often do excuses get in the way? Do thoughts like, “I’ll finish that chapter tomorrow,” and “I’m too tired to work on my blog tonight,” keep you from writing? With COMPEL, an online community designed to help writers hone their craft, you’ll receive the tools you need to get the words out of your head and onto paper. Registration is now open for a limited time! Click here to learn more!
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Look back at the list of encouragement Lysa shared. Which reminder did you most need? How can you use it to help you keep moving forward in God’s calling on your life? We’d love to hear your thoughts!
© 2018 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Originally published Thursday, 26 July 2018.