Have you ever felt God calling you to step out in faith, only to find yourself wondering if you heard Him wrong?
I understand. Thoughts of doubt crossed my mind daily when I began to listen to the promptings on my heart to write.
The International Christian Retail Show is a big book convention where publishers, authors, agents, media and bookstore owners all gather to talk shop. Books are pitched. Books are sold. Books are talked about a lot!
I went to this conference years ago when I was a wannabe writer with a book proposal and a dream. Recently, as I signed copies of my 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.
So when people actually came, 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 being there.
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 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 from publishers.
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. 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!
If you feel called to be a writer, start with a small step by downloading my free audio series, “4 Resources You Need to Jump-start Your Writing.” Click here to get started!
Luda, Thank you so much for this post. First, I want to thank you for this encouragement. Long ago the Lord put the dream of being a writer in my heart – as a little girl. I wrote “books,’ worked on my high school yearbook, got a journalism degree, wrote for a newspaper that covers the show horse industry, and so many other writing ways in my adult life I can’t count. I found out recently from a friend that the very reason I have the job I currently hold is because the thank you letter I wrote to the VP in charge when I interviewed liked the way I wrote. So, even if I haven’t written the story that God gave me as the book I want to write-He stops me every time and says not yet-at least I am still writing and helping others with the skill. I know one day He will say “now” and then the book He put on my heart as a little girl will be there to share with the world. Thanks again!
Thank you for today’s post. I have wanted to give up so many times on this book that I’m writing as well as writing anything else. Your post was at the perfect time. I’ve printed it out and will be keeping it close by and I will also be checking out the other posts and he resources.
God bless you in your ministry,
Lysa, thank you for your words of encouragement. It’s so easy to give up on a dream, whatever that dream may be, when facing opposition and challenges. It’s easy to read that as “closed doors” – but I love your encouragement to look for the “small doors” that God does open and to follow His prompting. Remembering always that God is the One who plans it all, and I am simply on a journey. Perseverance and faith will get me where He wants me to go, in His perfect timing, not mine. Thanks for your wise words!
Thank you, Lysa, for your encouragement! I just came through a rough season of doubt and insecurity. I belong to Compel and it provided me with the tools to push through. I was a journalism major in college and I left the university in my junior year to start a family. Now, many years later and on the verge of an empty nest, I feel a strong leading to pursue writing once again. I’m grateful for all you do to inspire other writers and speakers! Oh, by the way…I would totally love to share a steak dinner with you some time!
Lysa – this was so encouraging. Thank you!
how doyou know God has called you to write, or do anything for that matter and not your own wish or vainity? What if what you want to write is not a christian book? I don’t mean like nasty stuff, but, like a story that isn’t straightforwardly christian? Would love to hear about how you knew you were given God’s permission to write.
This post was EXACTLY what I needed and God knew that. Interestingly, I heard you speak last weekend at Abundance in Asheville, NC. You are incredible. Having a blog can certainly be challenging at times but so so worth it. Thanks for encouraging me to keep it up even when it’s not so easy!
Thank you for this post. I, on many occasions, have wondered if I misheard God wrong when faced with human rejection. I am in the process of revamping my blog to speak to those living in poverty and wondered if I was going the wrong way. Thank you reaffirming what I know. I’m going to listed to God and let the rest fall into place.
Thank you for this Lysa.
What a time encouragement for an aspiring writer like me, who is too worried about all the details. The only thing I need to hear is that God is telling me to do it. I am not sure how I will muddle through all the disappointment and naysayers, but I know this for sure: He will bring people in my path who need to hear what I have to say.
Many thanks for this encouragement Lysa! I may have to copy your pointers and stick it on the wall of my working space! I am in the process of creating my website and releasing my first book so, this is a timely post. Once again, thank you for your obedience; walking in your calling has encouraged me to do the same.
Blessings to you, dearest Lysa, for sharing your story and encouragement with all of us! I am standing exactly where you stood at the International Christian Retailer Show. I’ve written a book and some people have been interested, but “I’m too young,” and “I need a bigger following.” Instead of being hurt by the rejection, I’m taking things one day at a time and just trying to be faithful to the calling God has placed on my heart and the gifts He has given me. I always need to be reminded of the things in this blog post, though, so thanks again so much! Looking forward to attending She Speaks in July!! <3
Lysa, I wanted to write to you as I have just finished your book ‘The Best Yes’ I know I am just a girl from Bangor, N Ireland but I wanted to tell you that you have changed everything for me. Firstly my husband and I lead a church and I am the community pastor working in an estate near where our kids go to. We also have 5 kids. Why am I telling you all this? Because you have changed everything. I have a passion for writing and blog a bit – you inspired me to keep going. I have 5 kids and work part time – you assured me its ok to do both. I love my kids but I don’t need to convince others or myself that I do. I have a passion to go into politics and change the system for those who can’t adopt/ foster because of our system – you encouraged me to look at what do I need to drop before I pursue.
You in this book helped me believe that I can and if I don’t give into disappointment or fear or insecurities and trust in the great I am that it can actually happen.
I could go on but for this mama of 5 working and being in a church family and living and being in one of the hardest estates in Bangor you have blessed me. Thank you.
I hear you are coming to Northern Ireland in November to Causeway Coast. Alan and Kathryn are good friends of ours and prophesied into what Glen and I are doing now. I am looking forward to seeing you.
Have a great weekend! love Janine
I never need to hear these words more than I did at this season in my life. My passion has always been writing. I have ran so hard and so far in my past from the calling to Feed my Sheep, sometimes I fear I dreamed it or that it’s too late. Stumbling upon this today was divine intervention. I don’t know how to begin but I have started my journey as Just a girl after His Heart. Some days I feel small and like I’m not really making a difference, but thank you for these words of encouragement. God has used them to show me to not give up, to press on and finish this race. I’m going to trust and obey and keep chasing after His Heart.