Guys, I’m kinda freaking out.
In a little under 2 hours I will find out if I’ve won a coveted 1-on-1 appointment with a well-known publisher, in which case I’m pretty sure I will pee my pants. A couple of weeks ago I took a “am-I-really-doing-this” risk. Life was crazy with sick kids, travel plans, and the usual chaos that comes with raising three young boys. It was pretty clear that submitting a piece for this radio writing contest was not in the cards, but still… I couldn’t get the competition out of my mind.
So with five days left in the voting process and one month behind all other contestants, I did it. I prayed and asked Jesus to give me a story that lined up with the themed verses. And in a matter of hours, my thoughts were flying faster than my fingers could transfer them to the computer. I submitted my piece and handed the rest over to God because it would be a complete miracle if I got enough votes to make it to the second judging round. Literally by the grace of Jesus, I made it! Not only that, a huge community of support and love rallied behind me and brought me into second place all within the matter of days. As I sat there watching the number of votes rise, I was completely humbled and shocked. There were many reasons, but mostly I was awestruck that so many people had my back and actually believed in me… even when I didn’t believe in myself.
To be honest, deciding to pursue writing was one of the best and worst decisions I’ve ever made. Best: Because encouraging people and bringing them to Jesus is my passion. Worst: I would have to face my fear of rejection all the time, sometimes in public arenas. It’s one thing to submit something and receive a “thanks but no thanks” email in private. It’s a whole new level to showcase my rejection on the online stage. So yes, I’m shaking my boots right now, but the fact that I’m not alone makes it doable as well as worth it.
Let’s be real, when we put ourselves out there it’s beyond scary. I remember when I posted my first blog entry, wondering if anyone would even read it. I didn’t know if it would make a difference, but I did know there was no turning back. My words were displayed for all to see and for all to critique if they wished to do so. I began to ask fellow authors to share their expertise with the publishing process. Most told me to expect rejection, which was awesome news. And so I took it up with God and asked Him if He really wanted me to do this… because I was cool skipping the hard “no’s.” He never said rejection wouldn’t happen. He never said I wouldn’t have to grow and learn and regrow. And every time I continue to bring my doubts to Him He holds my hand in His and whispers I am with you even to the end of the age…
In each valley and on every mountaintop Jesus never fails to come through. With steadfast grace and kindness, He guides me forward, even when it’s more comfortable to remain in the known places. But chasing dreams was never meant to be safe. It was never meant to be easy or smooth. It takes an extreme amount of courage and the willingness to do whatever it takes to reach that God-given goal, including facing your insecurities and fears. It’s really no coincidence that the themed verses for my story were all about FEAR and SHAME, my biggest foes. I knew writing the story and submitting it would be a risk, one with a 75% chance of heartache. But I knew there would be a 100% of regret if I didn’t take the chance.
All the great movies we rewatch over and over again involve the main character pushing through against all the odds. They overcome and stand and prove to the world that we can walk in victory because our God has made us to shine! I don’t know what the outcome is going to be in a few hours, but I know that this is part of the journey towards victory… victory over my people-pleasing. Victory over my fear of rejection. Victory over my doubts of self-worth. Because God is in the business of making dreams come true, but He’s also in the business of transforming us in the process. My stomach may be twisted in knots at the moment, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s the growing and the stretching and the trusting that helps us open our hearts more in confident expectation of God’s goodness.
I may not be a winner today, but I’m promised victory always.
So thank you for helping make this possible, Dear Reader. I pray you choose to believe in yourself and in the power of Heaven’s Maker, the One who wants to make your desires come true too. We can be the Dream Chasers and Life Changers. We can be the ones who live with the “what now’s” instead of “what if’s.” And we can always rely on the One who calls us towards our potential and passions because He’s made us for this moment, and He’s made us for His glory.
Even if we don’t believe we have what it takes, His faith in us never wavers. He never doubts us, and trust me, my friend… He never will.