“If we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.” Timothy 2:13
I left the conference a few hours early. My dreams felt poked by a pin, slowly deflating any hope I had to write. Critique appointments were helpful, but edits had me doubting my ability and even my calling to write the book on my heart.
Maybe writing is just too hard for me? I need too much help.
The first morning of the conference, I felt both nervous and excited about what God was going to do. As I picked up my eyeshadow palette and leaned toward the mirror, I felt the Lord speak to me.
God’s out-of-the-blue voice is not unfamiliar. I hear it a lot. But I also second-guess it a lot and wonder if my own thoughts are playing tricks on me. This time, it seemed clear whose voice it was. And I believed it.
I’m going to show you favor at this conference. I’m going to bless you.
Wow, God. Thank you!
But the coaching appointments didn’t feel like favor from God.
“I don’t understand what you’re saying here. You’re telling here not showing. I would take this part out.”
I wasn’t sure if I could keep trying anymore. I’d spent the year revising a book proposal only to have to start the first chapter over—again.
There was an award ceremony on the last day for those who entered the writing contest. If I stayed and my name wasn’t called, then the whisper I thought was from God would turn out to be my own hopeful wishing. I didn’t think I could take that. Because then maybe the call from him to write— all the time, money, and effort I’d put into it—was just that—my own wants, hopes, and dreams.
Who am I to think that my name will be called out of all these people—that God would really have favor on me?
I remembered the three contests I’d entered in years past. I told myself NOT to be discouraged if my name wasn’t called. But each time, I inhaled a breath of anticipation and exhaled a sigh of disappointment as I clapped my congratulations for the winners.
So, instead of walking to the next workshop, I walked to my car and drove home.
Mommy’s here! My kids ran to hug me and my dog almost knocked me over.
I unloaded my purse and laptop bag onto the formal table and noticed a package from my friend Denise.
The note inside read:
The book I’m writing is about facing fear, but I hadn’t thought about being fearless in the pursuit to write it. I wanted to give up. Stop chasing. Stop pursuing.
I laid the shirt on the ottoman to take a picture and dropped to my knees, crying. The timing couldn’t be anything but perfect. I knew it was God!
Are you happy or sad mommy? I’m going to make you cookies in my Easy Bake Oven so you feel better.
I hugged my three girls—answers to six years of desperate prayers for children. Evidence of God’s faithfulness, when my faith was weak.
After eating a few miniature cookies, I went upstairs and the woman who can never nap ?♀️ (even after birthing children) slept for two hours.
I woke up and I looked at my phone messages.
“Congratulations! You won third place in nonfiction!”
Tears wet my cheeks once again, a mixture of both praising God for his trustworthy voice and sorrow over my lack of faith in it.
And although I wish I would have had the faith to stay so I could walk up on that stage and receive God’s blessing, my heart is grabbed by the unconditional, unmerited faithfulness of a God who loves me even when I’m faithless. Even when I should know better.
Even when I’m writing a book about facing fear and trusting in God’s voice to lead me, and then I don’t.
When we are too weak to have any faith left, God remains faithful!
(2 Timothy 12:13)
My book about my struggle to have faith in the face of fear won’t be written by someone who has arrived. It will be written by an overcomer, who has come a long way, but who’s still overcoming. It’s a book for people like me—the strugglers walking the road to freedom from fear, who still fall down but get back up when God shows up and says, “Keep it up.” It’s for the ones who want to follow God’s voice but sometimes have a hard time trusting it. It’s for those who need to know God uses the weak and the stories of those whose walk sometimes becomes a crawl.
It’s for the ones who exhale a sigh of disappointment when their name isn’t called and silently want to give up chasing their dreams.
Maybe I should like contests now, but I’m still not sure I do. I understand the innate drive of competition—not everyone gets an award. I get that. But in God’s kingdom, we don’t have to wait to see if our name is called.
Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
I imagine he hands each of us a certificate, shakes our hand and urges us to keep fighting and pursue the calling he placed on our hearts—for his higher purpose. And then a spiritual battle ensues.
So we put on our boxing gloves and punch the fear that threatens to stop us. When doubt knocks us down, we get back up and praise the God who is faithful even when we’re not—the God who says he will do it, when we feel like we can’t.
Has God called you to do something hard? Don’t give up! Scholars believe it took Noah over 100 years to build the ark. By the time the flood came, he was 600 years old!
If you need prayer to help you persevere, I would be happy to pray for you. Just leave your request in the comments.
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.