How is your writing going? Are you discouraged? I find discouragement slips in so quickly and easily.
I've been trying to work out why.
And I got to thinking that if Noah treated his project of ark building the way I sometimes treat my writing project, he would have become discouraged and never completed building the ark.
Noah built the ark because God told him to. Noah was a righteous man who wanted to please God above all else.
Likewise, God has burned words into my heart. He has given me a love of writing; it is a form of worship. He has commanded us to use our gifts to build up His body and worship Him.
So I have to ask myself, when did I start listening to those who say the value of my writing is dependent upon sales and profit?
When did it become about numbers? About money?
When did it become about pleasing people and receiving a positive response?
For 100 years, Noah received no profit from building the ark. His building would have cost him. How much did it take away from profitable projects; from his every day job? How did he feed his family?
I wonder if anyone came to him, awed by his skills, and asked him to come and work for them; make something 'useful' and profitable?
The truth is, it wouldn’t have worked, because whether people believed it or not, the exceptional, complex design of the ark was given by God. It was never designed by Noah; he was just the workman who carried it out.
I suspect the same about my writing.
Sure, I’ve developed skills and experience along the way, but the true genius; the part that has potential to have an eternal impact, is all God’s.
The only people Noah convinced to come on the ark were his own family.
What if the only people who read my books are my own husband and children? Or what if it’s not my target audience who actually respond? Noah’s target audience were humans. He got lots of animals. The ones God brought, not those people he actually tried to reach.
People mocked Noah. There was no positive response. For 100 years. Did he ever doubt? Did he wonder if he’d misheard God and wasted all that time and effort? I'm sure I would have.
We need to keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. The one who gives the gifts. The one who asks us to use them for Him, in His way, even if we don’t see the results the world expects us to reach for.
Faithfulness. That’s what we need.
Yet in saying this, I've learned I need to make sure I am faithful to God, not just my own dreams or ideals. I need to listen to others as they give advice, especially if they are believers. I have to accept that sometimes I don’t hear God, but instead hear the voice of the world or the selfish desires of my own heart. I need to listen and always bring everything back to the One I am living and writing to please; my loving Father God.
I'm learning to bring it all to God. If someone criticises my writing, if I get a bad review, if someone suggests I should be spending my time on something else, if I seem to be getting nowhere, rather than allow discouragement to take hold, I bring it to God. And when I do, it’s amazing how quickly perspective, purpose and clarity of thought return.
Thankfully we are not usually like Noah. We do have victories. Yet I admit that often after a ‘victory’ I am like Elijah after Mount Carmel. I run away and hide. (1 Kings 19).
Maybe because I think I can’t ever top that one … that I will never have another moment the same. Maybe I’ve put so much into it that I’m exhausted and just need some time of refreshment. Mostly I think it’s because I’m scared. I suddenly see so clearly that everything I achieve is completely dependent upon God. No matter how much of myself I put into it, nothing would have worked without God.
But what if, next time, God doesn’t come to the party? Can I trust Him? Truly?
The truth is, unless the Lord writes the book, we type in vain. Unless we bring it all to Him, work with Him and do it for Him, we are like those people in Noah’s time who made beautiful, skilled, profitable furniture while Noah built the ark … it was all washed away and only the ark remained.
May God encourage you in your writing today. May it be His voice you hear; Him you feel looking over your shoulder, approving, encouraging, inspiring. May He use your faithfulness to impact eternity in His way, in His time.
Jenny Glazebrook lives in the country town of Gundagai with her husband, Rob and 4 children along with many pets. She is the published author of 7 novels, 1 traditionally published, and 6 self published. She writes because words burn within her. She is an experienced inspirational speaker and loves to encourage others to walk closer with God and hear His voice each day. She has a Diploma of Theology and has been a CALEB finalist 3 times. Jenny’s website is: www.jennyglazebrook.com