You may have noticed that I haven’t blogged in awhile.
It hasn’t been just because of laziness. Over the past several months I’ve been getting more and more discouraged in my writing career, not really feeling like I was making progress, not knowing what direction I was supposed to be going or what I should be striving for or if I should give up altogether.
I know this is not a new feeling for most writers. We all go through phases where we wonder if it’s worth it. Some decide it’s not, and writing becomes a hobby rather than a serious pursuit, and that’s fine. Others stop writing completely. Some give it one more try. And some push through and keep trying, at least one more time.
I’ve struggled with these same emotions of frustration and exhaustion and wondering if it’s worth it plenty of times over the years, but I never really seriously considered giving up. Always before I determined to use setbacks to help me learn and push forward.
This was different.
I truly got to a breaking point. I was emotional all the time, every new discouragement or rejection sending me spiraling into a deep depression that took me days to crawl out of. And not just my own discouragements. I know we’ve all felt the conflicting emotions of being happy for a friend’s success while fighting jealousy at our own lack thereof in some area, but I was reaching new lows, and I hated myself for my own attitude and jealousy and sense of entitlement.
And I didn’t know how to break it or get out of it. That was the worst part–having all these feelings and frustrations and depression, and not knowing how to move past it or be better or change.
I was talking about it with my sister one day and she suggested I take a writing fast. Set aside a period of time where I do nothing at all writing-related and spend that time being really intentional about seeking God and listening for His direction.
So I did. I only told a couple people, and just sort of dropped off the sphere for three weeks, and have been slowly transitioning back since then. I won’t go into the details of exactly how God worked in my heart during that time, but through church, small group, quiet time, and life circumstances, there were a few lessons that God made it very clear He wanted me to learn.
- He is enough.
Whether or not I ever get a traditional publishing contract, whether or not I succeed materially or in any of the ways I imagine when I envision my future, He is sufficient to meet my needs and fulfill me.
- My priorities need to be right.
While God has always been part of my life, and I know Him and trust Him, spending time alone with Him and putting aside time to prioritize focusing on Him and building my relationship with Him has not always been something I’m intentional about. Life has a way of squeezing out the time it would take to sit and read the Bible and pray with little things like potty training and washing dishes and squeezing in a few hundred words on a WIP. Being intentional about pursuing God first needs to be above pursuing my writing career.
- Obedience and attitude matter.
Sometimes what God wants for us is the exact opposite of what we want for ourselves. Sometimes what we need is the last thing we want. The last thing I needed to learn, just before my pre-appointed sabbatical was over, was to trust and obey and accept whatever God brought my way. I needed to get to a place where I could say I am willing to accept His timing and His way, even if it’s not what I think I want or what I believe would be ideal for my life. Even if it’s the last thing in the world I want for myself, if it’s what God has for me, I need to trust that He knows what He’s doing and will provide for my needs through that.
I didn’t receive any neon signs pointing the direction my writing is supposed to take, or any very clear confirmation that this is my life’s purpose, but I’m mostly okay with that. My heart is in a better place. It’s still a struggle. I still have the same frustrations. I still fight jealousy and entitlement. It’s still a work in progress. But it’s not debilitating like it was, and I am better equipped to take those frustrations to God and allow Him to be my comfort and my strength. I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, writing, submitting, learning, and trying again, and hopefully continue to trust that God knows what He’s doing and His timing is perfect.
I know you have probably dealt with some of these frustrations. I know you’ve probably struggled with direction and purpose in your writing. I hope this is an encouragement to you to know that you’re not alone, that your struggles are valid and understood. And I hope you’ll be strengthened to continue in your journey.