A couple weeks ago, my critique partner Angie wrote a beautiful post asking, "What if I'm the faint of heart?" (You can read that one here if you missed it.)
And today, I want to add to her question by asking, "What if I am weary? What if I am tired already?"
When I looked up the definition of weariness, inextricable from its implication was the idea of growing tired. So what exactly does it mean to grow tired? And how does it happen? Well, here are a few ways...
- Cynicism and negativity. Has someone in your life whispered doubt into your faith and your dream? Over time, the voices around us build to a roar-- what kinds of voices are you listening to? Voices of affirmation and encouragement, or voices that tear you down? God has equipped you with the ability to pursue the calling He has given you, even if it seems huge, as you rely on Him. But when we hear a steady stream of negativity, we begin to shift our focus away from our relationship with Him and onto our own human ability. And suddenly, the obstacles seem huge. The steps toward publication are too big. The market is awful. No one wants to take a chance on a new author. Your contest feedback was bad. And so on and so on and so on. When we look up at the wall, we miss the door in the middle of it. We all must fight and fight hard to silence the voices cynicism from our lives. Some of these voices may be inevitable, but we can control how much credence we give them.
- Physical exhaustion. I have a new baby at home. I understand physical exhaustion. Just a couple days ago, I stood in the card aisle of Target and thought to myself, "Where am I? What was I doing here?" No joke. Can you say "sleep deprivation"? Sometimes, the fact is, physical exhaustion is inescapable. But it doesn't have to ruin us or make us weary. We have to be intentional about remembering that physical exhaustion is only a season, and at the end of that season, we don't want to look back and feel like we've lost ourselves along the way. Even if you don't have the time or energy to write, dream about your story on the way to work. Type a few sentences here or there on your phone. Pray that God recharges your vision and sustains you with strength for the day. He will give you grace in proportion your situation. He may not give it ahead of time, and He may not give extra, but like manna from Heaven, He will show up right when you need Him and He absolutely will sustain you.
- Disappointment. We don't like to admit it, but we all get disappointed. And when it happens, we often try to hide the sting. Maybe you were sure your dream publisher was going to offer you a contract because they seemed so enthusiastic when you pitched it. Or maybe some contest feedback set you back a few notches. Or maybe you're published and your book hasn't sold anywhere near what you'd always dreamed. You want to say, "What's up, God? I thought you called me to this. I poured my heart into it. So if I'm really meant to be a writer, why is it so difficult?" But the thing is, difficulty does not define a calling. Quite the opposite, actually. Anything of significance in life comes with a fight. Marriage. Parenthood. Faith. Careers. Just general living. If you're really meant to engage in a ministry, expect a fight. But the key is, you've got someone to fight for you-- to take those disappointments and shoulder them. "The Lord will fight for you. You need only be still."- Exodus 16:16
Do you find yourself growing weary in any of these ways? How do you protect your heart, and the stories you write so that they are ready when the harvest time comes?
Ashley Clark writes romance 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.