The Waiting Game by Jeannie Campbell

Writers, this one’s for you. (And to everyone else, don’t check out quite yet. I’m sure you can find a nugget of truth in this post somewhere to carry you through your day.) Today’s devo is similar to Edie’s. It appears patience and faithful obedience is one of the writer’s greatest struggles.

A few months ago, I was presented with two writing opportunities right after all the editor/agent meetings of conference and the resultant manuscript requests. I was placing in contests, waiting to hear back from agents, not knowing what might be expected of me should I sign on, yet I needed to make a decision. I decided on one fairly quickly, and jumped in with both feet. I floundered on the other, living in angst as I sought God’s will. I’d go to church, hear a clear message from the sermon, then get an email that would sway my heart. Indecision made me miserable, and kept me ineffective. I finally decided that “waiting” was a waste of time. I knew God called me to serve, not bide my time for something that might or might not occur. So, I said yes to both opportunities and have not regretted either for a moment. I said yes because I take Ephesians 2:10 and James 4:13-17 very seriously. God’s ways are not my ways and I may not always see the road ahead, but that should never prevent me from stepping forward.

Today’s devo first appeared on the Character Therapist, written by Jeannie Campbell, on November 17th. As you read it, think about the life of Joseph. God gave him a dream in Canaan. I’m certain Joseph never imagined being sold into slavery, transported to Egypt and thrown in a dungeon were part of God’s plan, yet in the end, he said, “God intended it for good, the saving of many lives.” Each leg of the journey was divinely intentional as God molded, guided and equipped Joseph for his future task of reigning over Egypt during a time of famine. As opportunities arise, consider them carefully. True, God has given you a dream and you are to serve Him with faithful obedience, but don’t be so caught up in the dream that you lose sight of the Dream-giver. And always be prepared to take a hard right turn the moment God directs.

*                         *                         *

I’ve seen some great posts about how being unpublished is like being single. My friend and fellow blogger Jessica Nelson of BookingIt did a post here on that very topic, and I recently saw a post from Mundania Press, LLC here about how entering a publishing contract is a lot like entering a marriage.

Since I’ve yet to enter the published category in fiction, I’m somewhat of a spectator on the sidelines of publishing. During this time, it’s easy to lament a lack of publishing credits so much that we fail to see what God is doing during our waiting. It’s during the waiting that God strips us of our silly ideals and notions that we have to write a certain thing or present a certain way in order to reach fulfillment.

If we write only third person, stay away from the “edgier” topics, strictly adhere to the no-more-than-3-POVs rule, attend at least one writer’s conference a year…then surely God will honor our righteousness with a publishing contract or at least the interest of an agent. If only we get rid of -lys, passive voice, and show–not tell–then we will be “good enough” for a second glance.

The problem comes once you’ve done all this. You’ve taken online writing courses. You’ve paid for the extra critiques. You’ve entered contests…and even won. You’ve done everything you were told to do by people who have traveled the path before you. But still no “call,” no contract.

In the dating world, this is the equivalent to dieting, exercising, getting contacts, a makeover, and a new hairdo only to sit by the phone, waiting for a potential date to call. You might be tempted to cry yourself to sleep at night, wondering what is wrong with you.

What we fail to see is that there isn’t anything wrong with you or your writing! God just isn’t done teaching you. He’s going to draw out your waiting period as long as it takes for you to realize that not being published isn’t a “problem” and that God is still in control even while you’re waiting.

We can’t lose focus of why we’re writing. If our ultimate goal is to give glory to God, then that can be accomplished published or not. He’s going to be glorified through our persistence and dedication and desire to achieve excellence for Him. Finding fulfillment, completion, and contentment where you are in the journey is crucial to keeping that fulfillment, completion, and contentment after you’ve been blessed with a contract.

We’re not on the hunt for a book deal. We’re on the mission to worship and serve God while we’re waiting. How can you best do that? Here are a couple suggestions to help encourage you in your journey:

  1. Learn scriptures you can hide in your heart, whether your heart is broken, searching, or weary from the wait. Two of my personal favorites are below.

    • Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
    • “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

  2. Have your own personal cheering squad. Writers are like shy adolescents in that we need to hear when we wrote a particularly eloquent phrase or when a metaphor blew someone’s socks off in order to bloom with confidence. We want to know when we made a reader laugh or cry. Your critique group members and close personal friends and relatives hold a large sway over your attitude and motivation as a writer.

I hope that this gives you some ideas of how to maintain a heavenly perspective through the writer’s wait.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
in the light of His glory and grace.
As you listen to the following song, focus on this line: “I will serve You while I’m waiting.” (Although I would perhaps ask, are we ever truly waiting, or are we to live in the now, fully engaged, fully obedient?)
*                             *                                *

Jeannie Campbell is a licensed marriage and family therapist, writer, reader, blogger, wife and mother who plays the piano and loves cats. Visit her blogger profile to find out more about her and visit the the Character Therapist to read more of her writing.

And remember, if you think this post should make it to the top three of 2010, “like” it, fb share it, tweet it or leave a comment, and I’ll tally each tweet, share, like and comment and reveal your top three favs at the end of the month. 🙂 (I might reveal my top three favs, too, which just might be different than yours.)


3 thoughts on “The Waiting Game by Jeannie Campbell

    • Thanks ladies! And Joanne and Elaine, I’m going to pause and pray for you both right now, that God’s voice would penetrate deep into your heart, that His will would be crystal clear, and that you have the courage to follow wherever He leads.

  1. James 4:13-17 has become a vivid reminder in my life, especially since losing my daughter. We are not promised tomorrow. But today is God’s gift to us. The joy in that gift is obedience. Thanks Jen for a great post!

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