Thursday, May 20, 2010

Faith Over Feelings

I had a serious disappointment recently. Ever since last September, I have been working with a literary agent in the hopes of getting my newest book proposal published.

We spent months getting the proposal ready to present, from the descriptions, to the chapter titles, to the content, to the overall format, to the exact number of words to be written. With each conversation we had about it, my excitement grew. I was thrilled that God had even allowed an agent to be interested in me, and confident that He would bring my dream to pass.

In early January, my final proposal was submitted by the agent to multiple big time Christian publishing companies......and then we waited. January crept by. February dragged on. March slowly passed. April slipped away. Still no news.

Then one day, a major publisher expressed interest in the proposal and requested additional information. I was elated! At last, maybe things were falling into place. But then, they passed on the proposal. No bites for the book, whatsoever.

So in the words of my agent, "this proposal is a dead deal". His words sunk into my heart like a jagged knife ripping apart my dream into tiny little shreds. I was so disappointed that I didn't even know how to process my feelings. I had worked tirelessly on this project, and waited months to hear some good news, and now, total rejection. Another big fat publishing NO.

Then I began to get irritated. I felt a bit resentful. I just didn't FEEL like it was fair.

Why didn't God answer my prayers about this? He had placed this dream in my heart, given me the experiences to write about and the words to glorify Him, and He had even given me an agent, for goodness sakes! I see other people getting their books published, so why not me Lord? It's not fair! I have something great so say in this book! Hhmmmphhhh. Double hhmmpppphhhh.

My publisher suggested that I begin considering new ideas and topics to write about, and to put together a new proposal, thus, starting all over, from square one.

Hhmmmpphhhh, again. I don't event FEEL like doing that. What's the use? Why try again? If God didn't answer my prayer after all this time, why bother to keep going at it? I have been working towards getting a book published for four years now, and frankly, I'm tired of waiting! (note my post yesterday about how I do not like to wait; this is merely another example of my need to work on my patience.)

But in all seriousness, my feelings were taking over my brain. All I could think about was how I FELT, not about trusting that God's ways were best. I focused on how this disappointment made me FEEL, instead of what God may be doing that I cannot see yet. I still found myself saying, "BUT GOD!..."

I chose feelings, although inadvertently, over faith.

In my continued reading of the Book of Psalms, in God's perfect timing of course, I came across Psalm 25. As I allowed those verses to wash over my spirit, they eased my pain of rejection a little bit. They helped me to put my FEELINGS aside, and let my FAITH take over again.

Psalm 25:1-5
1 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;

- In this period of great disappointment, when things had not gone as I had hoped or planned, I felt discouraged, unworthy, untalented, unwanted, unneeded, rejected. I felt like this book deal would have validated me as a speaker and a writer. And then, I began to wonder why God wasn't blessing me in this way. I had prayed and prayed over this proposal just as I am supposed to do. I prayed for God's direction and for His hand to be in this, but here I was again, facing yet more rejection. More disappointment. Then my feelings led me to wonder if maybe I was doing something wrong, and God was punishing me.....maybe I didn't really deserve this blessing? My FEELINGS were going crazy. Out of hand actually. So I closed my eyes, and proceeded to tell God all about these said feelings (as if He didn't already know), lifting up my soul to Him.

2 in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.

- Through this verse, God reminded me to trust HIM. Not an agent. Not the world. Not a publisher. Not my own assessment of abilities. Not my timeframe. Not my ideas. But Him. I began to consider who were my enemies - and how that portion of the verse applied to me. God gave me the thought, that my enemies were not tangible people, but intangible feelings - such as self-doubt, insecurities, frustration, discouragement and hopelessness. Feelings that would prevent me moving forward with my dreams, just as the devil would like. I needed God to help me triumph over those mental enemies that wanted to keep me paralyzed.

3 No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse.

- Regardless of whether or not my book ever gets published, or if I ever write another word in this blog, I will not be put to shame, because God is my God. If He so chooses not to give life to my book in the way I had hoped and prayed for, I believe that my Lord will keep his promise for future blessings, ending in the gift of heaven, which nobody can take away from me, or prevent me from receiving.

4 Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths;
5 guide me in your truth and teach me,

- Now these verses stopped me in my tracks. Why have I been beating my head against a wall with this whole publishing process? Why have I been consumed with anxiety and worry about whether or not it will happen or not? If God desires that I walk down that path, then it will happen. Maybe this year, maybe next year, maybe never. But God reminded me that I needed to stop thinking about how I felt regarding this setback, and look to God to shine a light on the path that I should be walking down instead. His plans are always better than ours, that is why He is the teacher, and we are the students. So my spirit lifted as I allowed my faith to override my feelings, and remember that God will guide me in truth, as He teaches me how to walk through this journey, with winding roads and unexpected setbacks.

5b for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

- My hope must be in Him, not myself or other people or things that I want. If I put my hope in my own desires or abilities, I do nothing but set myself up for failure. Without Him, we can do nothing, but with Him, oh yes, we can do anything. The reality is that God isn't making my dreams come true right now, with respect to this whole publishing thing. He has not opened up doors or answered my prayers the way I want. In fact, He is not allowing this to be an easy task at all.

But I will still love Him no matter what. I will still love Him, even if no publisher ever looks my way again. Our only hope for happiness and joy and fulfillment can come from Him alone, not from anything this world has to offer. Getting a book deal might seem like it would make me happy, but it would come with all sorts of new challenges too. Hope has to come from God, not from book deals, people, husbands, children, church, financial success, or a care free life.

So, today I am going to turn my "hhmmmppphhh" into a sigh of relief, knowing that God is still sitting on the throne. And I think I might start working on that new book proposal, praying that God guides my thoughts and the words that I write, and that he leads me down the path that HE has planned for me. And I pray, that I will be happy with whatever path He chooses.

Friends, in all honesty, trying to get a book published is such an insignificant, and actually petty, issue when compared to the real disappointments in life.

Bigger disappointments that not only rip up our dreams, but seem to rip the rugs right out from under us.... like careers that abruptly ended; dream homes that were foreclosed upon; marriages that fell apart; daddies that walked away from their families; spouses addicted to porn; relationships that ended; plans that got changed; people that crumbled under the weight of addictions and depression; losses of loved ones; and so on.

The list of major issues that are a reality in life are infinite. Overpowering. Burdensome. Painful. Difficult. Heartbreaking. Exhausting. Suffocating.

That is why life is considered a journey, and not a vacation. Disappointments and heartache will occur, in big and little things....BUT GOD.....

BUT GOD - knows the best path for us to take.
BUT GOD - knows what is best for our present, and for our future.
BUT GOD - knows that our difficult circumstances can draw us closer to Him.
BUT GOD - knows that we can get through hard times if we trust Him
BUT GOD - knows that if we depend on Him, we will not have to carry the burden alone.
BUT GOD - knows that if He put a desire in our heart, He will bring it to fruition, but in His way, His timing, and in the way that will most glorify Him.
BUT GOD - knows that if we trust Him, we will begin to see Him working in the even the worst of situations, and eventually, realize that He really did know what He was doing all along.

Today as you consider all the things you are facing - things that do not seem fair - thinks that you do not deserve - things that have pulled the rug out from under you - ask God to help you let your faith rule your heart, instead of your feelings.

Our feelings and emotions are powerful, and can sometimes blind us to the fact that God is at work, that He loves us dearly, and that He does have a plan for us, even when we are not feeling loved, or taken care of, or guided at all.

Maybe you feel like a dream you had for your life is "a dead deal", but God can give life to anything, and He can create new life when the old dreams of life seem to have ended. In all things, He can be glorified, and trusted to guide our paths. He is the giver of life, in every sense of the word.

Psalm 21:13a says "Rise up, O Lord, in all your power!" Let that be our prayer for today and every day. Not only that He will rise up in our life, displaying the power of His might and the authority He holds over us, but that we will be comforted in His love, and actually FEEL the immensity of real faith in our hearts.

Faith Over FeelingsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


Mr Lonely said...

nice blog.. have a view of my blog when free.. .. do leave me some comment / guide if can.. if interested can follow my blog...

pipedi said...

So much to think about. I have read your post twice in two days, and I keep coming back to it. It's so easy to lose confidence and feel rejected by God when I think I'm doing everything He wants me to do and things don't go as I feel they should. Thanks for reminding us that God is trustworthy and good in ALL He does or allows.