“True dependence is not simply asking Me to bless what you have decided to do. it is coming to Me with an open mind and heart, inviting Me to plant My desires within you. I may infuse infuse within you a dream that seems far beyond your reach . . . thus begins your journey of profound reliance on Me. It is a faithwalk, taken one step at a time, leaning on Me as much as you need. This is not a path of continual success but of multiple failures. However, each failure is followed by a growth spurt, nourished by increased reliance on Me. Enjoy the blessing of a victorious life, through deepening your dependence on Me.” (Jesus Calling, pg. 6, by Sarah Young)
I sat in the above thoughts for a while this morning, sensing deep joy as I did. When I attended my first writing conference (many years past!) I survived by posting Bible verses and encouraging quotes all over the walls. Stepping out in my writing seemed such a monumental task. I feared failure and success equally as I began a journey that was so far beyond me.
Here I sit nineish years after that first conference. Nothing looks as I expected. I’ve written novels that have never been published, but I’ve published works I never intended to write. I chuckle to think that I’ve spent the last two years taking free-lance work as a curriculum writer. Certainly it was not path I planned to take, but the Lord knew it would be a fit. I wanted to write novels, not develop an Internet ministry. And once that ministry developed I never expected God to then tell me to lay it down. I was determined to write meaty women’s fiction. My latest fiction project have been light romance and oh so fun . . . but not exactly weighty. My journey isn’t what I thought it would be, but it is oh so much more.
The biggest surprises are not surprises at all. I am more me. The Lord has taken me through more failures that I can count, and guess what? They didn’t ruin me. I didn’t fall apart or throw in the towel. I just cried a bit, threw a few fits before my Lord, and discovered that those disappointment don’t define me. They affect my mood for a short while, and then they just disappear as I keep being me. Recently, after several months of hoping and waiting on word on a submitted novella project I found out the editor had never received it, and it had missed the deadline to even be considered for that particular round. My response? “God is Sovereign.” And I really meant it. Didn’t even need to whine or question. Just re-submitted for the following season, and truly, deeply believed that God was in lost manuscripts as well as published ones.
The me that slowly emerges is a me more peaceful and steady than I thought possible. Of course I still have “those” days, but in general there is a deepened ability to rest in Him and to trust His ways. I prayed a lot for joy several years ago. At first I felt a little miffed about His response. I asked for joy and received a lot of disappointments and struggle. And yet now I think how important it was to happen just that way. I’m beginning to sense joy being sown into my life on the soil of peace and dependence on my Lord. If the joy had been dropped in my lap–given like happiness–I think it would have been fleeting. I may have thanked the Lord for His blessings, but then looked to those blessings instead of to Him for continued joy. I trust the work He is doing inside of me will bear lasting, continual fruit of joy–not manufactured joy, not joy I choose as I gut it out, but a natural well inside of me that draws from the sweet waters of God.
Today I’m celebrating many years of victorious living–the kind that is not measured by continual success, but by the failures and disappointments that caused me to have inner growth as I walk a journey of profound reliance.