Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Beauty Treatments and Waiting for Dreams to Come True

I called a friend to check up on her husband's cancer battle. So typical of Nancy, I was the one who left the conversation seeing my life differently. Placed. Meaningful. Hopeful. How did she do that?

In my own clumsy way I hope to do the same for you. If you've felt like you're spinning your wheels in the writing world, that your dream has insomnia, or that your calling has gotten a busy signal, let me share a truth about how God works that has freshened my outlook and spurred my expectations.

Here's it goes! (Remember, I'm not a theologian): Callings are issued and the waiting begins. Think of Sarai and Abram. They waited 23 years to have Isaac, even though they tried to step in with some clever bait and switch stuff we've all come to regret.

Then there's Joseph. The boy was given visions he was immature enough to share with his brothers. Between his dream and the fulfillment, he was dropped into a dank well and left to die. More valuable alive, his brothers fished him out and sold him into slavery. He served in the house of Potipher until his wife couldn't suppress her desires for Joseph. Off to prison he went, only to be abandoned by the self-serving cup bearer. (Is this sounding like anyone's publishing career yet?) Finally, he finds himself in the household of Pharoah, where he saves all of his brothers, the beginning of the nation Israel.

Even Jesus had to wait. He knew exactly what He came to earth to do. But we don't hear about Him, until He's circumcised and again when He's twelve. And then he's out of the picture until he starts his ministry.

His cousin John is called in the womb. (Any of you write haiku in the womb?) But we don't hear about him until he comes out of the desert dressed like a crazy man with an even crazier diet.

Paul went into the desert for a long time, and then to Tarsus (experienced any detours in your career?) before he started his missionary journeys.

Don't forget David! Anointed as king as a boy, he didn't reach the throne for many years. And he had to keep one step ahead of Saul to arrive alive.

Here's my favorite. Esther. She went into the harem of King Ahasuerus to save her people, the Jews. She was a woman with a purpose. But she was subjected to twelve months of beauty treatments before she was taken to the king to fulfill her call. 

She didn't complain. In fact, the time she spent in the harem proved valuable. God used that time to prepare her. To make her more beautiful, more His.

That's how I'm choosing to see the time between what I feel called to do (write) and when I reach the skill level and loyalty to God's purposes to do His will. I'm in the middle of beauty treatments, that's all. 

And that's what God is doing in you. You're experiencing beauty treatments planned especially for you. We all have stuff that needs His touch that will prepare us to answer His call.

And remember, He has plans for you to give you a future and a hope (Jer. 29:11), and He always finishes what He begins (Phil. 1:6).

You can see that I'm no Nancy, but I wanted you to know that waiting is His work. I would suggest that you cooperate with Him. Dive into His Word. Talk to Him openly and honestly about where you are and how you're feeling about life and your career. Wait on Him like a waitress waits on a customer. Be about His business in your writing and in other areas He leads you to. It's all good. It's all top-notch beauty stuff.

Under some serious beauty treatments? How do you deal with the waiting part of building a writing career? If you want prayer in your waiting, just leave a comment. We'll pray for you. 


Sharon K. Souza said...

Patti, I definitely needed to be reminded of this. Thank you for this reminder that God has a plan ... even when it doesn't look like it. For a very long time it doesn't look like it. But He does. I simply have to place my trust in Him. And yes, I'd love your prayers.

Megan Sayer said...

Yes, thank you thank you thank you THANK YOU!
Waiting is hard. So is making the decision to start again from the beginning, shelve the dreams, and accept the waiting of a few more years. I remind myself regularly that when God gives us vision it's because we need it to hold onto, because He knows we'll need it.
Beauty treatments huh? Yeah I'll take that. :)

Patti Hill said...

Sharon and Megan: Waiting is NOT my best thing either, but it's an undeniable tool in His bag to prepare us. Praying for you both and honored to do so.

Anonymous said...

Definitely a timely word to me as I struggle to write and find some inspiring words to put into action. It is wonderful to know we are in a waiting mode where the Lord is perfecting us to be conformed to His image and to do His will. Writing will be hard for awhile but it is always fulfilling.

Patti Hill said...

Anonymous: Writing IS hard. This isn't said enough. It takes thousands of discrete skills, unmeasurable hours,and VULNERABILITY to write something beautiful. Oh, and persistence. We need to encourage one another, just as you have encouraged us so many times.

Bridgette said...

Wanted to add my thanks as well; I needed to hear these words this day for a variety of reasons. Thanks.

Patti Hill said...

Bridgette: Thank you for stopping by. We all need encouragement. The ladies of NM know that very well. I do suggest being part of a critique group made up of people who tell you the truth with heaping portions of love and kindness. They should be 100% invested in you and your growth as a writer. And you do the same for them. I LOVE my group.

Bridgette said...

Patti, thanks for the suggestion. I have other artist (non-writer) friends and family who need the encouragement. It's not easy being an artist in the Christian community, and not always easy being a Christian in the artist community. Rather like a fish out of water, I suppose.

Any thoughts about how I can start a group?

Megan Sayer said...

Bridgette can I jump in and answer that? I've been in the same position myself for a number of years, and am finally making inroads into setting up a group. The key for me was getting the word out there that I was a serious writer. I'd hardly call myself a professional, in that I don't make any money from what I do, but writing is my calling as opposed to a hobby, and I treat my writing life seriously. I've found the more I've got involved with writing groups on Facebook, and the more vocal I've been about my writing on Facebook, people are beginning to message me or talk to me in church about their own writing. At first I didn't take it that seriously, most of them are people who dream of writing one day and don't know where to start, or people who want my help in getting published (!!) but I've gradually embraced the role as local Christian writing guru (HAHA!!) and gradually people are finding me who ARE serious about their craft, and want to get together and discuss writing and do some serious critiquing. It only took one other person for me to go "we've got the basis of a group here". She lives an hour and a half from me, but we meet in the middle once every month or two, and we email/Fb in the mean time. And now we're both talking about the group in our church communities, and we're finding other silent writers are beginning to raise their heads.
So, be vocal. You just never know who'll hear you. And good luck!

Bridgette said...

Megan, thanks. I found it hard to be a writer in my church; actually, I had no one coming up to me at all about writing, and most view my arts as ... well hobby even if I make a little money from it, or, like you, know it's my calling.

I know there are others out there who are involved in the arts, just not always writing. I'll take your suggestions to see what happens. Who knows, it might be just the fit I need. Any suggestions about topics and the like to start? I suppose serendipity is always good too.

Megan Sayer said...

And prayer. Lots of it. Sorry if I sounded a bit glib, I neglected (in my excitement that things are happening) to mention the years of waiting and getting desperate before God in prayer to PLEASE BRING PEOPLE! That possibly helped.
We have musicians galore in our church, and often conversation goes to how we worship God creatively in forms other than music, and what that looks like practically. How we create stuff from the heart, when that heart is wounded and broken, and still reflect the truth of God. Stuff like that. Sometimes musos (well, our musos at least) need a bit of help remembering that theirs isn't the only creative art, but pushing through with them has been worth it.