3.18.2015

Her Success Does Not Threaten Mine

We have a choice today.

We can look out and see the unlimited, abundant opportunities God has placed before us.

To create. To write. To serve. To sing. To be and become.

Or we can stare at the opportunity of another person and get entangled in the enemy’s lie that everything is scarce.

Scarce opportunities. Scarce supply. Scarce possibilities.

And we start seeing another person’s creations as a threat to our own opportunities.

Several years ago, I remember pouring out all the best words I had through pixelated letters turned pages turned book proposal. I tucked my heart and dreams into a purple Office Max binder (because nothing says “I’m author material!” more than a purple Office Max binder) and hoped for the best.

That summer I was able to place my proposal into the hands of several acquisitions editors. And for each one I handed out, I was later sent a nice but very direct rejection letter. At the same time, other writer friends I had were getting different letters from the publishers…

I’m talking about this more over at (in)courage today and I’d love to have you join in on the conversation. Click here to read the rest of my post.

3.4.2015

And then I received another rejection letter

I remember the letter like it was yesterday. In a nutshell, it was another publisher telling me my writing did not meet their needs at that time.

And in his attempt to soften the blow, he’d added a wee bit of humor. “Just use this letter as the liner of your cat litter box as I’m sure one day things will work out for you.”

As if a little humor ever helped someone who has just been knocked into a pit of rejection.

The letter wasn’t even signed.

I was standing at my mailbox at the time because at that point in my life I didn’t think email would ever really take off and I’d requested all communications to be sent to my home address.

And by all future communications of course, I had a book contract in mind.

Not a litter box liner humor rejection letter.

It was clear from this letter that nobody at the publishing house stood up in awe as they read my typed words and enthusiastically exclaimed, “Girl has skills!”

I hung my head, got into my car, and drove to my local bookstore. I saved up all my tears until I was smack dab in the middle of thousands of other books – thousands of other writers who’d received a thumbs up to their dreams – thousands of other people with evidence that their writing mattered – and I sobbed.

The kind of sobbing that should be reserved for a funeral.

But in that moment, the death of my dream that never had enough life to warrant a funeral was a deep, deep grief.

The tears didn’t come from my eyes. They didn’t come from my heart. They came from my soul that was always slightly suspicious that God really didn’t have any sort of spectacular plan when He created me.

After my rather impressive display of emotion in the middle of the bookstore, I drove home and silently declared I’d never set myself up for this kind of rejection again.

I put all my writing attempts in a file drawer. I made tacos for dinner. And I made note of the fact that God did nothing to soften this blow.

There was no verse mysteriously written on a slip of paper that suddenly wafted down from my kitchen ceiling. There was no friend that called and said she felt led by the Holy Spirit to encourage me in my writing. There was no divine directive that gave any sort of inspiration for me to keep going.

Nothing.

There was just this utter realization that I’d now have to tell all those praying for me that this writing a book thing was a no-go. In essence, with no affirmation from a publisher, I felt I had no skills. And I’d obviously heard God wrong.

So, surely I should give up.

Oh how I wish I could go sit with myself on that day from the vantage point of this day.

I would hand myself a tissue and state that this was not at all a rejection from God. It was a timing issue.

Sometimes callings from God unfold in a miraculous instant. But more often callings happen within a million slow moments of revelation and maturation.

I needed to experience God revealing Himself and maturing me so I could properly handle the Truth I would eventually write and speak about. And so that I could develop my communication skills by learning how to string thoughts and words together that connected and could be received by an audience.

We are charged to be prepared in 2 Timothy 4:2, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.” I needed the revelation of the Word so I could properly preach the Word. I needed maturity so I could fulfill that last part of the verse “with great patience and careful instruction.”

I am thankful it would be nearly 4 years – approximately 1,400 days – 35,040 hours – over 2.1 million moments before I was ready emotionally, spiritually, and developmentally to properly handle the weight of God’s Word and a book assignment.

Have you ever felt a stirring to write or attempted to write only to have something or someone shut it down?

I understand. That’s why 14 years ago, after I finally had a publisher say yes, I knew I had to help other writers coming behind me. So, I developed a conference called She Speaks to train, equip, connect, and breathe life into other writers’ dreams.

You can click here for more information about She Speaks.

But whether you want to put pen to page and write or fulfill another calling from God, let me assure you slow progress is better than no progress.

The slow unfolding of readiness in us is often misunderstood to be a quick rejection by God. What a tragic mistake this is for many of us who too quickly shut down in our flesh what God is trying to develop in our spirit.

Sweet sister, don’t give up. Stand up! Ask yourself the reflection questions I’ve listed below. Then, walk toward the calling God created you to fulfill.

1) Have I taken this seriously by investing time, effort, and resources in my development?

2) Have I given up too soon?

3) What have I let dissuade me from this that I need to face?

4) Have I mistakingly bought into the lie that all the opportunities for my calling have already been given to other people?

5) What’s one thing I can do today to move my calling forward?

2.27.2015

Never doubt the power of speaking words of life into another…

There is a little piece of nylon rope attached around my wrist that boosts my heart on a daily basis.

Bob Goff put it there last June. He burned the ends together creating an astoundingly strong bond. “You belong,” he whispered.

And something deep in my heart settled.

If you’ve been visiting the blog for a while, you know my story. But for those of you who haven’t heard me share a bit about my growing up years, parts of my story are hard. Really hard.

I was the little girl very much unwanted by the dad who gave me life.

He doesn’t talk to me to this day. And while healing has been doing its thing in deep places within me, I still have moments where this whole deal reeks. Like cigarette smoke that suddenly swirls past me in a restaurant.

I don’t like it. It stinks. I didn’t ask for this. I am frustrated that I can’t block it from coming in my direction. And sometimes it even sticks to me for a while with an annoying lingering that’s hard to get rid of.

That’s a bum deal, right?

So Bob, this dude with a crazy sense of breathless wonder oozing with the sincerest Jesus love I’ve ever seen, crosses my path and stops to see me. Really see me.

He prioritizes me for a few moments above all else to whisper words of life into the very part of my soul that needed it the most. The part that never heard those words from my dad. The part that sometimes still wishes for something that a broken dad can’t give.

And Bob places this bracelet of belonging on my wrist for me to see daily. Jesus has done so many things to rewrite the truth of my identity… and this is certainly one of the sweetest.

Never doubt the power of speaking words of life into another.

speakingwordsoflife

Hit the pause button on all of the projects that are screaming at you from your to-do list today and speak life into another person. It doesn’t have to be complicated or well-crafted. Simple words of encouragement are simply powerful.

We need to make sure it’s people, not projects, that occupy the sacred places of our hearts. And to help us do just that we’ve created this beautiful printable set that reminds us to prioritize relationships in the midst of our to-do lists.

POP_ForSale-01

For a limited time, we’re making these People Over Projects Printable Sets available for only $1.99. Think of it as a fun, relationship to-do list – things you can do to invest wisely and deeply into people who need your encouragement.

Get your printable set here.