My crit partners and I have been discussing the state of publishing lately. The things I've heard from my inspy sources pale compared to what my CPs have heard. I've even gotten to the point ofthinking, "Why do I invest so much time and effort in learning craft and in seeking publication?"
The reality is I don't need to be published to be happy.
I don't neven need to write to be happy or content with life.
Yet I write because I enjoy writing and because I enjoy learning to write better. I also just flat out enjoy learning things. Okay, before I further chase that rabbit down the hole, lemme get back to my point.
Life is not fair.
Crappy things (no offense intended toward those who don't like the crap word) happen to good people. Great things happen to not-so-good people.
Some rants we hear or have thought ourselves....
Published authors who've written some of the worst-published-books-we've-ever-read get sweet new book deals. Unpublished authors who we've judged in contests sell their awful (in ouropinion) novels. We get a rejection letter nicely (or not so nicely)saying our book(s) can't sell because of time period, edginess, down-sizing of company, etc. In contest after contest, our entry/entries never final. We can't find a good crit partner or maybe the good ones we have are now obsessed with writing about cats and cat sex. Etc, etc, etc. [Mental note: Get one of the kids to feed the cat today. Seems like she hasn't eaten in forever.]
Thus we say, "Life isn't fair!"
At this point, a good-hearted Christian shouts out to me some cliched churchy version of "just what makes that little ol' ant think he can morethe rubber tree plant...cause he's got high hopes...."
The reality is many of us get focusing on our situation (see writing frustrations four paragraphs above) and start thinking our life isn't fair which leads us to think God isn't fair. Maybe not consciously, but the thought is there in the back of our minds. Come on. If we could control our circumstances, then life would be so much easier, wouldn't it? We certainly wouldn't have us or any other good Christian suffer. Shoot, let's face it, we've confessed our sins, repented, turned our lives over to Christ for Him to live in us. We follow the Ten Commandments. We live pretty-darn-good lives, far better than most folks we know. If anyone deserves good stuff to happen to them, it's us.
Still, it's like we can't even get a teeny little break. At this point we'd take selling to an e-pub or even just finaling in a contest. Desperate times....
I don't know about you but sometimes it's tough for me to think that God acts in my best interest. Since my book won't sell then clearly God is trying to teach me how to be a better Christian. Gotta be refined a bit more before I'll be worthy of being published, right?
Gina, Gina, Gina, when will you learn life isn't about you? Contrary to how self-focused you get (and let's face it, dearie, you're utterly self-focused), it's still not all about you so please stop whining. BTW, dearie, ever notice the center of whine is an "i"?
"...always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God..." Eph. 5:20
"In everything give thanks; for this is God's will in you..." 1 Thess 5:18
"Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name." Heb 13:15
Call me crazy (and I am some days), I think God's trying to tell us we ought to give Him thanks ***IN*** all things and ***FOR*** all things. Oh,I know giving God thanks for the good stuff in our lives is easy. But for the bad stuff? For getting a rejection letter saying our writing is unsaleable? For having to move to some horrible place where there's not a single Starbucks? For having a husband who's not a Believer? For having a son who seems determined to flunk the 3rd grade because he'd rather draw comic books than do his school work?
The bad stuff is when praise becomes a sacrifice.
I'm not saying find the good in your situation and just praise God for that. Scripture says to praise God IN EVERYTHING and FOR ALL THINGS.
Reading those scriptures hit me hard. I know I certainly haven't praised God in and for all the things that God allows to come into my life. I have, though, been doing that more lately, and some amazing things have happened. God either changed my circumstance or He gave me enough grace that I became glad for the experience. (Yes, I do have more praise to give for the comic-book-drawing-obessed son 'cause the circumstance hasn't changed and I'm not feeling too glad for his latest D.)
Without justifying away or forcing yourself to find good, can you praise God IN your current situation and FOR all things?
Oh, don't tell me you don't have enough faith to do that. Jesus said you have to merely have enough faith the size of a mustard seed. The size of one grain of betta fish food. If you are a born-again Believer in Christ, you have more than adequate faith (scripture says so). It could be that your problem is you are placing your faith in something that's unworthy of your faith: yourself, another person, a job, etc.
Faith never lets us down. But the objects of our faith sometimes do.
A.W. Tozer said nothing twists and deforms the soul more than a low or unworthy conception of God.
The more knowledge we have of Jesus, of God, the greater our faith seems to be. The reality is the level of our faith hasn't increased. We merely have learned that the object of our faith (Jesus) is who He says He is and can do all He says He can do. The more we know of the object of our faith,the more radical our behavior.
"We know [not maybe or sometimes, but know enough to stake our lives,our hopes, our futures on] that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son..." Romans 8:28-29
Those verses don't say God causes crappy stuff to happen. They do say God causes every good and crappy stuff that happens to us to be USED FOR OUR BEST GOOD according to GOD'S purpose with the end result of making us be like Jesus.
Once we learn that the object of our faith (GOD) is absolutely trustworthy, then our behavior (acting out of our faith) follows.
I praise God my medieval hasn't sold. I praise God for the constant rejections. The story may sell, may never sell, but either way, I give God praise. You are mighty, Lord. You are the maker of Heaven and Earth. Yourmercy is everlasting and everlasting. I praise you for the endurance I am learning to have. I thank and praise You for Jadan. His creative mind is a gift from You. I know You will use his and our struggles with him to grow us closer as a family. In all things and for all the things in my life, I give You praise, My Lord and My God.
Okay, folks, now it's time for you to praise God for the crappy stuff in your life.