Months ago, I stepped out of my comfort zone to pursue what I was felt was my calling.
At first things moved quickly. The response I received gave me every reason to be hopeful: I made it through the initial reviews, which I learned was not the norm for first-time submissions. Then came the months of endless waiting “in the queue.” I tried to remain hopeful. But yesterday, the door closed.
While the email was actually kind and encouraging, it was a still a rejection. And it hurt. I blinked back threatening tears.
It was a pivotal moment and I had a choice to make: would I choose to wallow in self-pity? Or would I choose what I knew to be true: God had allowed the door to shut because it was not the door to His perfect plan.
I needed to work through this issue and my response, so I opened my my Bible and pulled out my journal.
It didn’t take long for my journal page to be filled with inked words of discouragement and defeat. I paused my frantic writing. My journaled prayers expressed what I thought and felt, but now I needed to see what the Lord had to say. I moved my journal to the side and scanned the page of the Bible where I had randomly opened.
I read the sermon bullet points written in the margin of Proverbs 30: 24-28. Dated October 21, 2001, it was titled, Wisdom for Survival. I thought, how appropriate! I sure could use wisdom in how to survive this new kind of rejection.
Certain there was something for me to glean, I read the verses and study notes at the bottom of the page, and then reread them in another Bible translation. I learned that these four small, seemingly insignificant creatures manifest great wisdom.
- The ant, though small, works hard to prepare (verse 25).
- The badger, though not mighty, wisely builds its house (verse 26).
- The locusts, though they have no leader, are orderly (verse 27).
- The lizard, while they can be easily caught, reside even in palaces (verse 28).
I pondered how these verses applied to my situation. My pondering then gave way to questioning…
Had I missed God? Was writing really my calling? Or was it just something I really wanted for selfish reasons? Was my story, the one in which I had bared my soul with the hopes of encouraging others, the one I needed to tell? Or had I wasted all these years of effort pursing the wrong thing?
Something on the TV caught my attention and I stopped my rapid-fire questions.
My jaw dropped. A brief dialogue exchange between characters in a Hallmark Christmas movie scene was very similar to one I had written. I watched the movie for a few minutes. Although the script deviated from the similarity, I was struck by how much I was like the main character. Her struggle was fictional; mine was not.
My iPad dinged and I turned my attention away from the movie.
Yet again, my mouth gaped.
The ding was a notification announcing a new series on a streaming service. The name of the new series was part of my proposed manuscript title. Out of curiosity, I read the series description. While it is a children’s series, the main character is a wise panda named Stillwater. The panda’s stories and evolving friendship, give the young brothers living next door a new perspective on the world, themselves and each other. Hum...
I sensed God was using what was right in front of me at the moment to confirm I had not missed my calling and this was, indeed, the story I needed to tell.
I turned my attention back Proverbs 30. Sensing there was something specific I had not yet discerned, I dug in my file cabinet for the sermon notes I had taken way-back-when. As I read my notes, I knew clearly what I needed to do:
Like the ant, badger, locust and lizard…
I need to continue to prepare…for what it is to come. I must have a plan and work the plan.
I need to persist…focused and determined. It will be hard work, but I must see the plan through to the end. I must never give up!
I need to stay motivated and structured…if I am going to accomplish my goal. Most importantly, I need to remember I am not alone in my calling.
I need to be bold and fearless…willing to put myself out there and take another chance. If I do, God will take me places I never dreamed!
So while I wait and watch for the Lord to open the door of His choosing, and in His perfect timing, I will keep on writing the story God has written on my heart.
I will keep pursuing my call.
Those from among you will rebuild ancient ruins; you will raise up age-old foundations;
and you will be called repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets in which to dwell.
~ Isaiah 58:12