Don’t Give Up

One of the things I’ve learned in my life is that perseverance is key. Whether it’s pushing ahead a career or committing to a relationship or raising kids or pursuing our walk with the Lord, anything worth doing is also worth doing well. And all of the above take a great deal of perseverance.

It’s easier, of course, to react rather than become proactive. To allow things to simply happen, the chips to fall where they may. But being proactive (which sounds kinda passive) is also the key to perseverance.

“Let us not become weary in doing good…” Galatians 6:9 tells us. “…for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

In this case, Paul urges us to not become weary. I love how it’s translated in the Amplified version: do not grow weary or become discouraged. That sounds like weariness is a process that can be recognised, staved off, and recovered from.

I’ve found returning to my writing after a twenty year hiatus to be a study in perseverance. Unlike many writers who write and write and write through all stages of their lives, I stopped completely. The tasks I had before me—marriage, three kids, moving to New Zealand, church-planting—seemed quite enough, thank you very much. Perhaps are some (many?) who would’ve been able to add a writing career to the mix, but I found my perseverance stretched so tightly in all these areas that I was not up to the challenge of writing as well.

Now I’ve jumped back in. And for some reason, I thought it was going to be a lot easier than it’s turned out to be. I entered two manuscripts in the 2015 Genesis contest, fully confident that they were both amazing, primo, wunderbar…pick a superlative in any language and I thought they were it. I was shattered with scores in the low 60’s and comments like, “I believe this was entered in the wrong genre” and “you have way too much back story here.” I wanted to delete my hard drive and pretend like I hadn’t secretly already planned my Oprah book club selection speech.

And then the bane of every writer’s existence, the dreaded writer’s block, hit with a vengeance. Every single thing I wrote was flat and boring and full of –ly words and so uninspired I decided I’d rather take a job painting road markings than continue writing. Not that there’s anything wrong with painting road markings. In fact, there’s this really cool Segway-like painting contraption they use here that looks really cool to operate. But I digress.

I grew weary. I grew discouraged. I stopped persevering.

I forgot that writing (and again, anything worth doing) is like planting trees, not growing radishes.

baby-pinetree-plantsSo I took some steps to refresh myself, enjoyed getting outside as much as possible (we had a brilliant summer/autumn this year in Rotorua!), and wrote even though I didn’t feel like it. I also spent a lot of time praying:

God, I believe the stories You’ve given me, the ideas You’ve planted in my head, and the talents You’ve sown into me are good things. And I believe they’re going to yield a good crop. Help, help, help me to not give up! Help me to keep going!

Well. God was faithful.

I kept chugging away like the Little Engine That Could. And the joy came back, the words began to flow, the confidence that what I was writing mattered returned.

So where are you today? Are you a multi-award winning author with a heap of books under your literary belt? In the middle of some serious line-edits with a gazillion post-it notes stuck throughout your manuscript? Perhaps you’re planning a promotional tour. Have you signed your first contract? Or perhaps you’re like me…at the very beginning of the process, tucking tiny seedlings into fertile soil.

Wherever you’re at don’t give up. Don’t grow weary. Don’t grow discouraged. You are doing a good work! You will reap a harvest of righteousness!

4ED4EA0DE2Look to the Author and Finisher of our faith to help you persevere.

Be blessed,

This post first appeared at International Christian Fiction Writers

7 thoughts on “Don’t Give Up

  1. Hey, I identify with everything you said here. I didn’t begin writing in any structured way until I started blogging, in 2010. Last month, with the birth of my site, Story Revisioned, I launched myself into a new world, that is still mostly me, writing away, hoping one day to have a community and a real platform. My books have not become best-sellers, though I think I said what I wanted to say. It’s all a work in progress. And maybe the real work is within myself, more than anything else that comes of it. Thank you for the reminder / encouragement to be persistent! Love this!
    By the way, we visited Rotorua a few years back. Love NZ! Maybe I’ll make it there again and we can meet one of these days! ~ Sheila

    Liked by 1 person

    • So much of what I write is me preaching to myself, lol. And yet I love what Psalm 84 says about going on pilgrimage, passing through the Valley of Weeping, and finding pools of refreshment there. Those pools aren’t only for us but also for those who come behind us. I’ve no doubt that God is using your writing to refresh others! And I’d love to meet up if you’re ever in NZ again.


  2. Thanks, Jebraun. Great article, and I totally needed to hear this right now! Still putting the puzzle pieces together on all the writing I’ve done and trusting God while putting in some hard work to get something finished. In the meantime, I’m writing a prayer devotional on my blog. I think it has been God’s way of encouraging me. 🙂 Grace to you, Nicki.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful encouragement right here! Thank you. I’ve sent some of my articles to a real writer to critique. That was over two months ago and I’m starting to believe they were so horrible that she didn’t know how to begin! In any case, this was a nice reminder not to give up.


  4. Thank you for the encouraging words. Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one wondering what on earth I am doing spending ever scrap of spare moments writing when I have so many things vying for my time. But then I think, “What could happen if I don’t quit?” It is a foreign land ahead, but a place of possibilities.

    After a week of pushing through when I want to quit and feel so uninspired, God has a way of getting my attention. I’ll find out someone has read and been impacted by something I’ve written who is so far outside of my target audience that it makes me laugh. It’s like God is saying, “You write, let me work out the details of where it goes and who it reaches.” He is my audience of one, at least that is the perspective I try to keep. I love your analogy of writing being like growing trees!! That will stick with me.

    Btw, I noticed your name in the ACFW conference loop. I’ll be there! It is my first conference and I can’t wait to soak up all I can.


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