Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Do I Have What It Takes?

Many years ago (Hmmm...more than twenty-five) I became interested in American Sign Language. I took an introductory course at a local church and fell in love with the language. It's beautiful and dramatic. My husband and the teacher encouraged me to take another course and another. It ended up that I actually devoted a full year of my life almost entirely to learning American Sign Language. I ate it, drank it, slept it. I practiced every moment I could. I even prayed in ASL, which, I am convinced was not only a huge motivator, but a key to my success in learning the language. For a year I said "no" to some wonderful opportunities because I was totally focused on communicating the gospel to the deaf community.

Why did I chisel out a year of my life to accomplish this goal?

I fell in love with the language.

I realized God was calling me and enabling me to minister to deaf people around me.

I fell in love with the deaf people who welcomed me into their culture.

Fast forward twenty plus years to 2004.

I became interested in learning how to write for publication in both the adult and children's markets. I attended a couple of conferences. I joined a couple of critique groups. I mustered up the courage to submit some things.

I keep saying I love to write.

I keep saying God has called me and enabled me to minister to people around me through the written word.

I keep saying I love children and women who are lonely or hurting or searching.

But my success in this area has been so small. It's been seven years and I do not have a book contract or even the hope of one in my near future. I constantly ask God and myself, "Why?"

A few night's ago I realized something: where is the year of my life that I should have carved out and dedicated entirely to becoming published? Does God want me to let go of all of my responsibilities at church, and even in my extended family, to seriously pursue the publication of my manuscripts?

Am I willing now, like I was with ASL, to sacrifice some things I love to do in order to immerse myself in the world of publication? Am I willing to say "no" to a lot of good things in order to do this ONE thing?

That's what it's going to take, I believe. Am I willing? Do I really have what it takes to pursue publication with a passion? To be a "successful" published author?

 Do you?


Linda Andersen said...

Hi Jean,

I am praying that you make the decision God wants for you. With God's help, all things are possible. Just focus on Him.

Linda A.

Cheryl Barker said...

May God grant you wisdom, Jean, in how to best manage your time and continue with your publication pursuits!

Donna earnhardt said...

I have wondered the same thing for myself. What am doing to pursue this love of writing? What a great post, Jean. Thought provoking indeed.

quietspirit said...

You ask a tough question. I don't know if I am there yet. I only know I love writing. I believe God has allowed me this gift in order for His word to get out. I wonder if I am doing my part.
Lets pray about this for each other.

Kristi Butler said...

Hmmmm...it's days like this that I wish I lived near you! I'd head over to your house, give you a big hug, pick you up, and head to the nearest Starbucks!

My friend, OF COURSE you have what it takes!!!! You are already published in amazing, well-known books!!!

And your accomplishments go much further than having your name on the front of a book. You founded an amazing conference for writers!!! That is so huge!!! Your fingerprints are all over the published works of many now!!!

You are an amazing writer. God is using you mightily. I think He is pretty proud of His product in YOU!!

I love you!

Susan Panzica - EternityCafe said...

I agree that we need to devote ourselves to what God has called us to do. A quote that I live by is: "There are enough hours in the day to do what God calls you to do... and no more."

That being said... what is the measure of success? No always a book contract. You are ministering to people through your blog and through the writers conferences you organize. You lift Him up in your writing and He is glorified. That alone is success.

Success is being obedient to His calling, whether He is calling you to set aside other ministries or not.
Blessings to you dear friend,

Carol Baldwin said...

Jean, This post is thought-provoking. Do you think you would have to give up EVERYTHING else in order to get published? I think this is a good question for your W2I Sunday chats! (which I don't know if I can participate in much....but it's an idea!). You sound so discouraged in this post. But have you gotten any smaller pieces published? (It seems like I have heard that you had.) Have you been published in magazines or online? That's what has given me the confidence (and publishing credits) to go for a book. Just another idea...I will pray for the Lord's leading for you.

Jean said...

Thank you, Carol.

You're always an encouragement to me.