I first posted this blog in July 2012, but felt today was an appropriate time for a reminder about God's grace for waiting (as well as impatient) hearts. He is always faithful. He is always good. Whatever you are waiting for, take heart: our God is good.
There's an old man sitting on a park bench with $10, 000 cash in a bag and a signed, first edition copy of your favorite book in his hand. And maybe some donuts. He owns a publishing house, and he's ready to make you a great offer on your work in progress.
The catch? He'll only be sitting here five minutes. And once he's gone, that's it. He's gone for good.
What lengths would you go to to get to that man on time? Too early or too late, and you will have missed the opportunity. It seems obvious, doesn't it? We would do anything it took to get there at the right time.
And yet it hit me the other day that metaphorically speaking, this is exactly the situation we are in every day as writers. We have a story inside our hearts. We have faith in God's call upon our lives. The man is sitting on the bench, so to speak. So why do we struggle so much to believe it's all going to work out?
We operate with such a limited perspective. Remember the kaleidoscopes you played with as a kid? When we look at just this one moment in our lives, it's like we're viewing the world through a kaleidoscope. We color the limited landscape in all different ways with just a turn of our hands. The thing is, God's got so much more planned. He has a purpose for your whole life. He sees it all.
Have you ever looked at a book you've written and felt anxiety about it? Maybe you feel that way now. I think most writers operate with a certain level of worry existent all the time. Is my book going to be good enough? Will I ever find the right agent? How long before a publishing house buys it? And then, what about the reviews that roll in?
But these worries come because we allow ourselves to get out of sync with God's timing. We believe in His promises, but we try to get ahead or behind the pace He's set. Doing so causes all sorts of trouble for whatever season we're facing in our writing lives.
Imagine yourself running with a crowd of people. Yes, I know that for some of you, the image of yourself running is difficult to picture, as, if you're anything like me, it hasn't happened since high school. But bear with me here. The race starts, and you all start running together. Before long, you fall into a rhythm. Some people rush ahead of you, and others fall behind. Some are running right alongside you and help you find your own groove. (We call these critique partners, and they rock.)
Before long, you become very observant of everyone else. Those in front of you are getting all these opportunities, and those behind are learning from your mistakes.
How much easier is it to look at everyone around us rather than to see the opportunities right in front of ourselves?
The thing is, God has equipped you with a particular pace, and operating outside of that is going to throw you off. If you rush ahead, you're going to get tired, and if you lag behind, you're going to miss the opportunities He's set in your path.
I want to encourage you today that God knows right where you are in this season of your life and your writing journey, and He has you there for a reason. Resist the urge to look ahead or behind. Instead, look around. You don't want to miss the opportunities He has placed before you because, like the man on the park bench, once those are gone, they're gone for good.
We can avoid so many of the things we worry about if we just press on. If we stop telling God we need to be faster, or things need to slow down. Forcing something that's the wrong timing will never make the timing right.
And when the timing's right, we will have peace in that. Imagine what would've happened had you never gone to the place you met your spouse, had you never met your best friend, had you never decided to write. A few moments, a few choices different, and your life wouldn't have been the same.
So whether you're waiting to hear from an agent, a publishing house, or even to hear God's next step for your life, be of good heart. God has not forgotten you or let go of His plans for your life. He is holding them, carefully tending to them, as He has been doing all along. Every day, every moment, is just another step toward the next chapter of His plan.
Your moment will come.
Psalm 27:14 "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."
Can you think of a time in your life where you waited and you're glad you did?
Ashley Clark writes romantic comedy with southern grace. She's dreamed of being a writer ever since the thumbprint-cookie-days of library story hour. Ashley has an M.A. in English and enjoys teaching literature courses at her local university. She's an active member of ACFW and runs their newcomer's loop. When she's not writing, Ashley's usually busy rescuing stray animals and finding charming new towns. You can find Ashley on her personal blog, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. She is represented by Karen Solem.