“But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hands…” Psalm 31:14-15 (NKJV)
First, came the form letters. One after another, with the occasional email thrown in for good measure. All of them offered essentially one message, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Next, came the sweet, handwritten card bearing the same sentiment. Then came the whisper-down-the-lane news that one friend after another sold a book, signed with an agent, or received the writing gig I wanted with an ungodly sense of desperation.
I gave myself three years of trying, three years of rejections, three years of watching and waiting with glittering green eyes as each opportunity I desired passed by me on its way to someone else. After three years, I gave up. Repeatedly. Every week, I convinced myself it was time to release my dream of becoming a professional writer, and every week I found myself sitting in front of the computer screen or spiral-bound notebook laying down words again. For each time I decided to quit, I woke up the next day with a seed of an idea or a new resolve to finish this particular race.
This makes me sound more diligent and dedicated than I am in real life.
The truth is, I also cried a lot. I yelled at my kids and took my frustrations out on my husband. I pulled a full-on David, and prayed the Psalms, but with half the thanksgiving and twice the melodrama. I did not run the race well. I lagged behind, stopped for too many walk breaks, and hated on every person who sailed past me, with their manuscript in hand, towards the finish line.
I forgot that by trying to grip my life plans in my own two hands, I kept them from landing where they truly belong. <<Click to Tweet
The perpetual snatching back of my own life and times is less about making my dreams come true, and more about my unbelief. My constant seesaw of quitting and starting again shed light on a hidden corner of my heart. Rather than revealing a sense of stubborn stick-with-it-ness or faithfulness, it exposed a lack of trust in God’s call on my life. After three years of rejections, I didn’t trust God enough to stay the course. I didn’t trust that these rejections might be the fuel necessary for my good and my growth.
In the wake of so many small losses, I asked myself--do I believe God is good, even when I’m told, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
Do I trust His plan for me, even when it looks like His plan is for me to write even when no one is reading? Am I faithful in this day, the day of small things, even when tomorrow holds no promise of anything bigger on the horizon?
I want to live with belief and trust in the smaller matters of my work, so that when the bigger losses in life come along (and they will), my foundation will stand secure. I don’t always understand His ways, and I don’t know why so much of life is one step forward and two steps back. But I do know that asking the hard questions helps me unclench my fists and, instead allows me to approach God with open-hands. Holding my plans lightly not only helps me release my times to the Lord, but it also places me in a posture to receive from Him. Trust looks like hands raised and open, a sign of worship and surrender.
Kimberly Coyle is a writer, mother, and gypsy at heart. She tells stories of everyday life while raising a family, and shares her faith on her blog. She writes from the suburbs of New Jersey, where she is learning how to put down roots that stretch further than the nearest airport.