by Brenda S. Anderson
The writing life is a battle.
Raise your hand if you feel like you’ve been fighting hard at this writing business. You’re doing everything the right way, but still you’re getting nowhere, and you’re losing. You’re going to conferences, taking classes, getting critiques, yet no publisher or agent wants you. Or you’ve written a fabulous book, you’re marketing like crazy, and you’ve become a social-media guru, and yet your book doesn’t sell.
Anyone relate? I’m seeing a lot of hands go up.
You’ve all heard the advice. “Don’t give up.” “Keep pressing on.” I even keep Philippians 3:13 – 14 above my writing desk. “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me Heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
So, it’s true, if this is your calling, you should battle for it, but perhaps it’s time to alter your strategy. Sometimes He wants you to stop fighting and give Him complete control. That’s not easy. I know.
We’re all familiar with the story in Exodus about God parting the Red Sea. Moses had just won the Israelites’ freedom from Egypt, but the Egyptians still chased after them. The Israelites couldn’t press on any more-a sea blocked their way. What happened? Moses listened and then obeyed. He raised his staff and stretched his hand over the sea and the waters parted. No fighting. No attempting to swim to the other side. No hurried attempt to build boats. God made the way in a manner only He could do. He did the fighting for Israel, and He was glorified.
Then while the Israelites were on their 40-year journey, the Amalekites attacked the Israelites. Again, what happened? Moses listened and then obeyed. He stood at the top of a hill, his hands and staff extended, while the Israelites fought. When he tired, he was given a stone to sit on, and when his hands grew weary, others came and held them up for him. The army fought and defeated the Amalekites, and God was glorified.
The Bible is replete with stories such as these. Sometimes we’re supposed to take up our sword and fight, yet other times we’re called to be still. Either way, when we obey, He will be glorified. Personally, being still goes against my nature, and I’m sure I’m not alone. Being still almost seems like I’m giving up.
But maybe that’s exactly what God wants us to do. Give it up to Him. Let Him be in charge.
Do you feel as if you’re losing this writing war? Maybe you’re supposed to pick up your sword and keep fighting. Keep sending those queries or try one new marketing tool. Or maybe you’re called to raise your hands in worship and be still as God fights the battle for you. As with the Israelites, there is no one-solution-fits-all. And when you listen and obey, whether you’re fighting or kneeling, God will be glorified.
Brenda S. Anderson writes gritty, authentic, life-affirming fiction. Her debut Chain of Mercy released in April 2014 and Pieces of Granite comes out this November. She is President of the ACFW Minnesota Chapter. Brenda lives near Minneapolis with her husband, their three kids, and one sassy cat. Learn more at www.brendaandersonbooks.com.