Tag Archive | blessing

The “God Answered my Prayer” Conundrum

Lots of things stew in my crazy brain. Much of it I’m sure you’d not want to read about. Complexities and backstory would bog down the fact that emotionally turmoil is festering underneath what many perceive to be a cheerful exterior.

One recent thing though has been cooking. I have a friend who has a book doing extremely well. She’s breaking all the “rules” for promotion and marketing. I love her to bits and I’m thrilled at her success.

No. Really. I am. She’s a dear sweet friend.

I asked her what she thinks is the secret to her success. Her response: “We’ve been praying.” She does. She prays. She has people who have prayed as she’s worked on her novel for over 10 years. Yes. You heard me. Ten years.

Here’s where the conundrum comes in. I pray too. I’ve had people pray for me as I write and struggle with life. My books haven’t sold as well although they get great reviews and I’ve done so many things to promote them. I’ve had people who I respect as authors, promise to read and promote my books who have failed to do so. I’ve done so for their great novels. Grrr. Frustrating to say the least. But God can take care of them.

God is doing 10000 thingsWhich leads to a variety of thoughts.

  • Does God not love me or my book as much as He loves my friend’s?
  • Success isn’t really about how many books I sell.
  • But I could really use the money sales could net for me due to challenging life circumstances (duh, like we all don’t face those?)

And then I scold myself.

  • It should be enough that I worked hard and my books are well-received and people have found their faith encouraged or challenged by reading them.
  • It should be enough that God has brought people into my life to minister to and encourage because I have written and published my novels.
  • It should be enough that God knows my heart and my needs. All of them. He’s got my future in the palm of His hands.

So why isn’t it enough? Why do I struggle?

The issue isn’t God.

It’s me.

I’m a fallible human who struggles with insecurities on so many levels.

I struggle with depression and anxiety.

I lack support from people who should be there for me but who had sought to sabotage me every step on my journey.

They failed.

Because: God.

God has gotten me to where I am. He has brought me through so many struggles and pain beyond what I could ever dare to share here.

And my writing isn’t a job. It’s a calling. I need to own that and realize that a calling doesn’t come with a windfall. It comes with a cost.

And a blessing.

But sometimes I fail to see that amidst the pain and struggle that sometimes visits my life.

So I’m grateful for my friend, her faith and our beautiful relationship. She is also called and God’s blessing on her work has no bearing on the way He is at work in my life.

Because we are all unique and God’s work in and through us is also unique.

How often I forget that when the “should’s” come knocking on my door.

How about you? Where have you struggled with the “should’s” in your own life?

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That Dirty “S” Word

I was reading a manuscript for a book coming out next year and kept seeing the word “submission.” Yup, that dirty “S” word. Did you think this was about something else? I know, Snickers probably crossed your mind – they taste so good but doesn’t help if you want the scale to go down in numbers.

Anyway, back to that “S” word. It is sad that we see it as dirty and uncomfortable. I understand that for many submitting to unjust authorities can be painful and hard. Submitting to that kind of thing rankles us independent free-thinking Americans. Freedom after all means making our own choices, doesn’t it?

Well, you pay taxes (maybe?) and you probably generally follow the speed limit. You try not to steal or murder. Hmm. Are you submitting to the law or to God? Perhaps both because God has given us the law for protection, for our benefit, for our greater happiness.

So too with those He places in authority over us. I have a “boss.” I cannot just go and do my own thing but I have to submit to her ultimate authority over the work I do. It doesn’t bother me at all. I see it as an opportunity to grow as I learn from her leadership and guidance.

In the church, I see the leadership I serve under as a spiritual umbrella that protects me from falling into sin. They are held responsible for my ministry before God as I serve under them. I respect the weight of that and want to honor that responsibility by responding to their authority with gratitude.

Submission does not equal doormat though. It does not equal “victim.” We are not to submit to evil or condone it.

Submission is a joy when we know that the people we submit to have our  best interests at heart and love us. Then it is far easier to submit even when doing so means letting go of some or our own desires.

Submission however is not always easy. Jesus submitted to an unjust trial, false accusations and brutal physical torture as well as the defection of the majority of his followers. For you and for me. To save us. To provide an intimate umbrella of protection from the weight and death that is a result of our sin.

In that way submission is a beautiful thing and not a dirty word.  The best book I’ve ever read on this subject is called Liberated through Submission  by Bunny Wilson. I recommend it for MEN and WOMEN, SINGLE or MARRIED. It’s the kind of book I hope my kid will read in their later teen years to help them be prepared for the reality of submission in this world and the blessings that are a part of it.

How about you? In what ways do you struggle with this issue?