Monday, March 13, 2017

Fighting Discouragement

Jenny Glazebrook

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).
Why?
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

23 comments:

  1. Hi Jenny,
    What a gently challenging, and straight to the point post. You're absolutely right, of course. How easy it is to fall prey to discouragement of this nature when the loud shouting of the world seems to so easily drown out the still, small voice. Reminders like you've just given us are sometimes all that's needed to help us realign our focus. Thanks for this.

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    1. Thanks Paula. We are still loving your books in our household. My 12 year old daughter used your Quenarden books in a recent English essay about fear. Often we have no idea what our books are used for or how far they reach.

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    2. It makes my day to hear that. Tell her I'm honoured. Curious about what was in the essay too 😊

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    3. It was an in-class one so she hasn't got it back yet. I'll ask her if she's happy for me to send it to you when she does.

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  2. A great post Jenny. Love all your pictures too and I am so sorry none of them were picked up when I posted it on CWD. That's a great analogy about Noah and his faithfulness to God. Interesting that in my Quiet time I've been studying worship and in the last little while, my work as worship. Linda Dillow (author of the book I am studying) asks us 'What is your definition of success?' which got me thinking. It so blesses me to know that the world's definition is vastly different to God's ideas of what success is all about. Isn't that very freeing?

    I confess over the last 4 years when little seemed to be happening in my writing journey I felt a tad discouraged at times, but I think God has been showing me that His pleasure and approval in my life and work is all I need to aspire to - and that all else would then fall into place. This year, there have been hints and more than hints that God is blessing my writing and helping it bear fruit so I am very excited! :) Thank you for your beautiful sharing. And may God bear much fruit through your writing.

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    1. Thanks Anusha. I love the picture of the dog reading : ) And yes, I love that our work and every part of our lives can be worship. Success in the world's eyes is so very different, isn't it?

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  3. Thanks, Jenny, for your open, honest and challlenging post. So true that the value of our writing isn't dependent on sales and reviews.

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Ruth. At the same time, I do believe we are meant to do our best to get them out there : ) I hope and pray many are being blessed by your books!

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  4. God bless you Jenny, for your honesty and encouragement to keep Jesus as the reason for our writing. I keep praying for God to open the right doors and close the wrong ones, as I learn to trust Him with this part of my life. So much of the writing journey is about faith, isn't it?

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    1. Sure is! It's been exciting to see the positive response to your book. May many enjoy it and be blessed by it!

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  5. Thanks Jenny. It does get discouraging sometimes, but good for us to remember that it is the Lord who builds the house.
    Blessings

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    1. I love how much you are doing to get our writing out there to be used by God. It certainly isn't for lack of effort on your part if many don't read our books! Thank you for all you do.

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  6. Great post, Jenny. I struggle constantly between doing this because it's my God-given calling and the worry about profits and sales and everything that goes with it. Sometimes it's difficult to trust through all that. :-)

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    1. It is, isn't it? Especially when it costs us so much. Your Verindon Trilogy is one that I believe if it gets into the right hands it will go far. I wish every young adult could read it. It truly is a masterpiece (if we can call writing a masterpiece : ) My 9 year old is reading the first one at the moment and thoroughly enjoying it (she's an advanced reader). And yet I know that it's of no less value if the audience, for whatever reason, is small.

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    2. Thanks, Jenny. That's great to hear. :-)

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  7. Thanks for an encouraging and inspiring post, Jenny. As Lynne says, it can be difficult to find the right focus between writing as our calling and gifting from God with also the need to pay the bills, put the food on the table. That balance is probably different for each of us. Sometimes our ministries are paid, sometimes they are not - but either way, we need to trust God and be obedient to His leading.

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    1. You're right, Jenny. The balance is so different for each of us. It's easy to compare ourselves to others and get discouraged because of that, too. May God continue to bless your writing!

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  8. Loved the analogy with Noah - very encouraging

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    1. Thanks Susan. Looking forward to seeing you this weekend as God uses all the time and energy you put into organising the Wangaratta Conference. May all the people God brings be blessed and encouraged!

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  9. Thanks, Jenny--so wise and encouraging, as always.

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    1. Thanks Jo-Anne. I've been encouraged by the way you see your writing as ministry and continue being faithful and obedient to God in it. I've certainly been blessed by your writing!

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  10. Thank you Jenny. Like you,I've always loved writing, recently though it has been more in the form of letters (emails) not stories. Being part of CWD gives me encouragement and direction for making my communication clearer....and so I keep writing!

    This is my favourite line in your post "unless the Lord writes the book, we type in vain".

    Thank you!

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Di. May you continue to encourage many through your emails. A great ministry and valuable way to reach people! I think it's great to care enough about communicating clearly that you develop your skills.

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