Remember if you comment on any of the posts this month, you qualify yourself for an autographed copy of The Mormon Mirage (Zondervan, 2009.) In fact, this is the book mentioned later in this column. So, speak up!
I often hear published writers often talking about how the Lord has advanced their careers, or put them in advantageous positions in landing a good agent or happening on just the right editor at a conference. And surely He does work that way.
But for some of us, there are two sides to the story.
I believe there was a certain point – in fact, a day and hour -- in my life at which the Lord told me that He wanted me not to write for money nor recognition, until He released me from that stricture. He shut me down completely. I had been a published writer since I was in grade school. Suddenly I found myself in an open-ended situation in which it felt that my very breath was restricted. Not for days, or months, but for years.
For about eight years in fact, I continued to write but did it anonymously and/or without publication. When He began to release me it was to write business articles about utilities – gas, electric, sewer, water, and nuclear --and about military, financial, and technological subjects. All my religious writing I kept to myself or posted anonymously on a web site. My books all went out of print except one. The most popular one I offered free for download to anyone who wanted it.
I prayed for a very long time before I felt He would allow me to approach an agent. Year after year, prayer after begging prayer, His answer was “no.”
When He released me to write for the Christian marketplace, I knew it. I can tell you the day and place when I knew He was going to let me contact Janet Grant (and only Janet Grant). And in other cases, publishers approached me for books I’d been working on during that dry, dry time.
He’s a tough Master, but He knew what was best for me. It surely didn’t feel “glorious” at the time, though. There was no sense of being honored. I was under discipline, and I knew it. I’m not proud of that.
When he underwent great trial, Job asked the question, “When God sends us something good, we welcome it. How can we complain when he sends us trouble?”
I believe I must be a better writer than I would have been if I’d kept trying to market my work during those arid years. I have concluded that there is no such thing as "lost time" in God's economy of obedience.
In fact, I wonder just how different the quality of Christian writing as a whole would be if God put those kinds of restrictions on everyone.
Or maybe He is doing that, but we’re not listening?
Have you ever felt that the Lord hemmed you in or restricted you? What was the result?