By Andrea Merrell
“I’m skeptical,” the woman said as she sat across the table from me at a writers’ conference during an appointment. “The rules keep changing. I just don’t trust the process.”
It was clear this lady was not there to pitch her book. She needed to vent. So, for fifteen minutes I gave a listening ear and let her vent. She talked about the varied opinions on her writing and how everyone’s guidelines differed. She complained about all the rejections she had received. And she had strong opinions about how her former publisher handled—or rather mishandled, as she said—her project.
She was discouraged and had definitely lost her trust, not only in the process, but in everyone involved. More than anything, I gathered she had lost trust in herself.
The writing and publishing industry has changed dramatically over the past twenty-plus years. And it continues to evolve. Many of the changes are good. Others, not so much. It’s hard to predict what the face of this industry—not to mention social media—will look like in five, ten, or twenty years. And it’s certainly not something any of us can control.
Bookstores are closing at a rapid rate. E-books and audio books are in a race against the print book. And self-publishing has become the rule instead of the exception. Unfortunately, many writers have given up, saying they can’t keep up and can’t compete.
I believe it comes down to a matter of trust. But where should our trust be? Should it be in an ever-changing industry or in the One who gifted us and called us to pen words of life, hope, and encouragement?
I’ve seen doors open for others—and even in my own life—that only God could open. We’re all familiar with Jeremiah 29:11. This is how the Message puts it: I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.
God has a plan for each and every one of us. Some say where He guides, He provides. Let’s add where He calls, He equips. When we choose to follow the Lord and use the gifts He’s given to us for His glory, we don’t have to be in control. And we don’t have to understand. His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are much higher than we can comprehend. When things look impossible, that’s when God does His best work.
If God has given you words to share, don’t hold back. Trust the gift He has given you. Trust yourself. But most of all, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV).
(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Stuart Miles.)