I started writing in 1998 as a way of dealing with the grief and questions after a terrible motorcycle accident almost claimed the life of my brother-in-law. I didn't know what else to do, how else to express myself. My heart was raw and exposed. I'd been poked in the eye by life and needed to vent. Writing became my outlet.
It was then that I was born a writer. I fell in love with it and knew it was what I wanted to do the rest of my life, in some form or another.
At first I wrote only for myself. I explored my feelings, questions, thoughts, my anger and frustration. Being a stutterer my whole life I had finally found my voice and there was no shutting me up.
But it didn't take long for my writing to become more focused and my goals more precise. I wanted to write a book. I wanted to be published.
Years went by and my writing evolved from short, vignette-like devotionals to more full-bodied creative non-fiction to, eventually, fiction. I'd finished one book and started on another but that publishing contract was no where to be found.
And I grew impatient. I was sure I was called to write, it was my passion. So why the delay? My frustration grew and spilled over into my day job and family life. I became withdrawn, moody, unfocused. I'd lost my vision, lost my way.
Writing this now and thinking back to those days I'm not proud of the way I handled things, actually, I'm ashamed of it, embarrassed even. But that's how things went when my focus turned to my own plans and timelines and expectations. It's reality in all its ugliness.
My wife, bless her, tried to be a constant encouragement to me. At times she was stern, redirecting me away from the computer when it interferred with family life, and at times she was patient, assuring me that my time would come.
Finally, she said something to me that changed my mindset and brought everything into focus. It exposed my selfish desires and humbled me.
We were standing in the kitchen and I once again expressed my discouragement over yet another rejection. "Micheal," she said. "Do you believe God has called you to write?"
I didn't even hesitate. "Yes. Absolutely. I know it in my heart. I just don't understand why it's taking so long."
"Then it will happen. In His time. In the meantime, live like it's already happened."
That hit me. Those five words. Live like it's already happened. That takes faith, you know? That's putting your heart where your mouth is and going beyond words and platitudes.
I took her advice and put the whole writing thing in God's hands. I stopped trying to control something that was completely out of my control. This was God's deal not mine. I finally understood that. And in the meantime, I would walk by my faith and not just talk about it. And be content with whatever God had in mind.
A year later I went to a writer's conference where the ball started rolling. Less than a year after that I signed my first contract.
Listen, I know many reading this are aspiring writers, maybe established writers. You believe God has called you to write. You believe it in your bones. That's great, but please realize He'll use you how and when He wants to use you. It may be by getting published and reaching thousands with your words, or it may be by writing for your church newsletter and reaching one who needs to hear exactly what you've written. Whether you reach thousands or one it's all good, it's all for Him.
And in the meantime, while you're writing and waiting, hoping and praying . . . live like it's already happened.