Doubt in the Midst of Dreams
My most beloved dream has been on a detour for the better half of a decade. Rather than a dream of possibility it looks a bit like Ernest Hemingway's fish in the Old Man and the Sea; being dragged through the water, dead, and slowly being eaten along the journey until there’s little more than a skeleton left.
I’ve asked myself, at least a dozen times the last six months, why in the world I don’t just let go. Like trying to resuscitate a mannequin, many have asked me what in the world I’m trying to do and why I refuse to give up the idea that, maybe, it might start breathing.
In October 2012 I prayed one of the first specific and vulnerable prayers I’ve ever prayed: “Lord, if it’s within your will that I can make a living as a writer, writing books to tell people more about you, help my first book to get published before I’m twenty-five.”
I was twenty-three-years-old and had already written a full-length novel I was planning to submit to various publishers. March 12, 2013, just ten days shy of my twenty-fourth birthday, my first novel, A Winter Storm, was on the shelves at Barnes and Noble, available on Amazon and other book retailers.
He’d answered my prayer. Now I had to wait for Him to fulfill the other half: helping me make a living as a writer. I trusted that it was something only the Lord could orchestrate with the right people at the right time. Making a living writing books and blogs was, as I understood it, as likely as becoming the next Taylor Swfit. I refused to acknowledge these statistics, however, and dedicated myself to my job, which was to perfect my craft; just keep writing.
It’s been almost six years since I prayed that prayer, and while I now have four independently published novels and two more books in process, I am no closer to making a living with my writing than I was then.
After six years, thousands of dollars poured into marketing, website development, blogging and the like with no financial return, you could say my heart has, in recent months, begun to get discouraged.
Have you had a vision, a passion, put in your heart by the Lord that you dedicated to Him? A cry in your heart to do what you know you were put on this earth to do, only to pour your heart, soul, money and time into it to find yourself in a vast wasteland?
As if everything you poured in was sucked into the cracks of a dry lake bed never to be seen again, and never to produce the fruit you hoped it would produce.
A temptation, primarily since my divorce, has been to toss in the towel, shut down my website, stop writing my blogs, give up the whole writing dream and get one of those “real jobs” that others keep telling me about. To just move on with my life.
This morning I was praying about this non-fiction book I’m slowly writing; similar to the way a teenager learns to drive a stick-shift. I do not feel equipped to write it, at all, and yet the Lord continues to put it on my heart.
Even though my other books seem dead in the water, even though the topic is something I struggle to comprehend myself, He will not let me leave this alone. He continues to put little gems of truth in my mind to write down, similar to beautiful jigsaw puzzle pieces that don’t make any sense until put together.
As I wrestled with chucking the whole thing, with getting a full-time secular job and having some security in my bank account and a little stability in my living situation for a change, the Lord led me to Hebrews 6:13-19:
“For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, ‘Surely I will bless you and multiply you.’ And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,” (emphasis mine).
Trust me, He seemed to whisper. I haven’t forgotten. I haven’t forgotten my promise, and I haven’t forgotten you. Just wait. Keep writing, and trust me.
How His words made me cry.
To the one who gave her dream to the Lord, trusting Him with it, only to be left waiting like a bride at the altar, I write this to encourage you: keep waiting. The Lord’s promises are certain, and if we can’t trust the authority and security of His Word here, than we can’t trust it anywhere. If we can’t trust it anywhere, than we are disciples in vain.
Put your hope, not in the dream, but in the One who guards the dream and is preparing a way for it to come to fruition. That’s why this hope doesn’t disappoint, because it’s in the One who has already fulfilled all there is to fulfill. He desires your dream to bring Him the full glory He intended for it when He first gave it to you. Trust Him.
He is faithful. He is good. He is true to His Word and He is trustworthy. Every time I face doubt I must change my perspective from, “How is this going to even work?” to “I can’t wait to see how you’re going to make this work.”
Because somehow, He will. And if, for some reason, He decides not to, then I’ll still have an eternity in heaven with my Father, my Savior, the One who gave me the dream in the first place, and an eternity to write more.
So will you. If you trust in Him.