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“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.” 1 Corinthians 9:24, NASB
When I attended the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference this past May, I treasured meeting new friends who share my love for writing. It was interesting, however, that some seemed surprised to learn I first participated in the conference almost ten years ago. While I’ve attended four times here and there, most people I met have conferenced consecutively at Blue Ridge the past two-four years. If I rightly perceived one lady’s response, she appeared to pity me—like I’ve been at this writing thing for so long, yet I’m still pursuing publishing.
Which is true.
Thoughts of quitting this ministry have floated through my mind more frequently in recent days. Sometimes I feel like my family wishes writing wasn’t such an important part of my life. I don’t have an agent or publisher. My first book is out of print. I haven’t been asked to speak at a women’s event in over a year. I can think of numerous reasons why my ministry just doesn’t appear very effective.
But every time I get close to throwing in the towel, the Lord encourages me.
He shows me something about my writing I didn’t see before. He puts a blog post about perseverance in my inbox. He redirects my attention to a Scripture verse He used to call me into ministry.
So I keep on.
Yesterday I responded to a new friend’s encouraging feedback and included this thought: God has been kind to get me to this point in ministry. I long for more but recognize His sovereignty and the fact it’s about His will, not mine.
That’s just it: God is in charge. Whatever we’re called to do, we must recognize God’s authority and surrender to His will. He imparts spiritual gifts to each of us for His purposes. He sovereignly chooses the lives He wants us to touch. He shapes a path before us, calling us to follow Him.
Dear one, are you wondering whether you should continue in an area you once believed God directed you? Ask Him. He’ll show you. He’ll give you peace about letting go, or He’ll help you persevere.
As for me, I long to run like a winner. I might not see or understand every aspect of this writing and speaking race, but I desire God’s glory and want His purposes to be fulfilled. Though this calling might not look like what I envisioned years ago, I truly believe God knows exactly what He’s doing … in my life and yours.