Last week I was in a fight for my future. Let me show you what I mean.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to be one thing: an author. Though sometimes it’s faded from view like the sun behind the clouds, never has it shone brighter than in November, 2009, when I joined Jerry B. Jenkin’s Christian Writers Guild. Never have I known so clearly what God wanted me to do. He had called me to be a writer, and nothing could stop me from being one. I’d work as hard as I could, but I never doubted God would get me where he needed me to go. I trusted His promise to bless me as expectantly as a baby bird opens its mouth wide, eagerly awaiting the squirmy gift he knows his mother will bring him.
Little did I know then how hard I was going to have to fight to keep that dream alive. This particular battle began in front of a blank computer screen, a week from the Writing for the Soul conference I was going to attend. No matter how hard I tried, nothing was getting written. I found three magazine editors who were going to be at the conference I thought I could write something for, but I couldn’t escape my feeling of defeat as soon as I hit the “On” button on my laptop.
I did finally get some things written… the night before. I only got an hour and a half of sleep before it was time to get ready. Everything that could go wrong, did. Already exhausted, I got carsick on the way over, realized at the last second I needed to change my resume, and found out at the hotel I’d forgotten two of my outfits. I was in a five-star hotel for four days, so I wondered how appropriate it would be to re-wear two of my outfits. I already felt overwhelmed, but as I entered the biggest, fanciest hotel I’ve ever seen in my life, I realized I didn’t know what overwhelmed meant. How was I ever going to find my way around in such a place?
My mom and nana said goodbye to me on the 20th floor-until then, I never knew anything beyond a third floor existed-and I found myself utterly alone. Even the roommate I was supposed to meet that day had left me a note saying she’d be back in a few hours. Looking out the window at cold, towering skyscrapers hiding my view of the mountains, I was overcome. I went into the bathroom in case my roommate got back early, sat on the tub, and cried.What was I thinking, Lord? I prayed though my tears. Who was I to think a small town girl like me could make it in such a big place as this? I don’t belong here.
Some time that night the thought occurred to me: God must have something really important for me here if the devil is fighting so hard against me to have it. I even found myself thanking God for my bad day! I’m the kind of person who likes everything to go perfectly and smoothly, the first time. So I surprised even myself when I prayed, I’m not sure why, God, but thank you for not letting everything go perfectly this time.
That battle appeared to have been won, but it was only just beginning.
Fast forward to the third day of the conference, at a Starbucks with some new friends. Each took their turn explaining their book ideas, talking about their genres and what audience they were trying to reach. I smiled and nodded and encouraged, but I prayed they didn’t ask me. Suddenly, I didn’t feel like a writer. These ladies had great ideas. They knew what they were writing, and who they were writing for.
They’d been prepared for this conference. I hadn’t. They knew what genre they wanted to write-I didn’t. I felt like a fraud in the middle of them- a counterfeit in the midst of real writers.
Once again I found myself asking, What am I doing here, God? Who am I to think I can be a writer? Look at these girls, Lord… they’ve got it covered. Who am I to think I could have anything to say? I don’t belong here.
Never tell God you don’t belong in a place where He’s put you! In a way I can’t describe, God reminded me I did belong. He reminded me of Moses, a man who’d argued with God over putting him in a place he didn’t think he belonged-pharaoh’s palace. Guess who ended up there anyway? Stumbling, stuttering, fearful Moses. God reminded me He could use me, even with all my faults. In a voice more tender than the sweetest of love songs, He reminded me how much He loved me, even with all my faults. At that moment, I could have easily written an entire book on God’s goodness.
The fight for my future is not over. The fight over your future may have just begun. Fear will never completely disappear. But as for me?
I’m gonna keep fighting.
And I’m gonna keep writing.