Monday, May 11, 2015

You Just Never Know

Last week, I learned that I am a semi-finalist in a writing contest. The call to inform me came out of the blue; I've learned not to count down to the dates when I'll hear back about contests and submissions, because, very often, it doesn't work out the way I hope it will.

(That's not to complain. I'm just saying that writing comes with a lot of rejection, and my writing is no exception. The rejection can be instrumental in advancing my skill, but that's a different blog post.)

Overall in my writing, I have a few irons in the fire right now. I have two novels that are polished and ready for submissions, I have another in the revision process, and I have two short stories that I'm submitting around. I enter contests, work with critique partners, and I'm looking for an agent. I don't know which of those efforts (if any) is going to be fruitful for the writing career I dream of having, so I mark my submissions on a spreadsheet and then do my best to forget about them and work on other things.

The cool thing I am realizing as I'm blessed by advancing in this contest is that I don't have to worry about what happens after I've done my part.

God is the one who will orchestrate opportunity for me as he sees fit, when he sees fit without giving me updates. 

For example, a couple of years ago, a publisher was considering one of my YA manuscripts. They got so far in the process that they let test readers check it out. They ultimately decided to pass, and that's when I learned I had received serious consideration. I didn't know until it was over. Just like I didn't know a contest entry was receiving favorable scores.

It's not my job to know. It's my job to be present, to learn and grow, and to keep doing my best at the things I believe God has called me to try. It's God's job to determine which of those tries are going to bear fruit.

It's an exciting way to look at life. God could, at any moment, be preparing unexpected blessings for you! Whether you write or not, this can apply to your life. Maybe you keep that LinkedIn profile up-to-date without realizing that God is drawing the perfect recruiter to your page. Maybe you're faithfully doing the best work you can without realizing that God is orchestrating a promotion for you. Maybe you're faithfully working in a church ministry without realizing that God is using it as a catalyst to put you in contact with someone who will become a huge part of your life (a spouse, a good friend, a mentor...).

But even if what you see isn't the big stuff, I think it's important to remember that God's version of bearing fruit is different than ours. I've been dreaming of publication for about fifteen years, and I still haven't reached that goal. But I'd like to think that along the way, as people read what I've written for contests and critiques and feedback, my writing has already blessed readers. Even if not, I also like to think that my writing has shaped who I am in ways that God has used in my life outside of fiction.

What have you seen God orchestrate in your life?

Your Sister

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