Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Test of Waiting

Nine years this February.

For nine years I’ve devoted myself to learning the trade of writing, especially the world of fiction. Classes. Conferences. Books. Hours spent at the computer or with a pen in hand. Most weeks I’ve put in enough time to qualify this work as a hefty part-time job, if not a full-time one.

And still I wait.

Wait for an agent. Wait for a contract. Wait for publication. Wait for my work to actually earn some money.

I don’t like waiting.

It’s not that my position is uncomfortable—I couldn’t ask for better circumstances; God has been quite gracious in that. But even a palace room, expensively adorned and equipped with every amenity, can feel like a prison if you’re never allowed to leave it.

This feeling of being stuck is probably why waiting has never set well with us humans. It reminds us we aren’t in control—have never been and never will be—and we must depend on something or someone else beyond us. And dependency creates vulnerability, and vulnerability is terrifying when waiting: Nothing is happening—what if the One on whom I depend has forgotten me?

I know I’ve felt forgotten by God more than once these past nine years.

But God does not forget, for waiting is not some no-man’s-land of in-between. It’s a test of faith and trust: Do we believe—do we live like God will do what He said He will, even if it appears He’s doing nothing at all?

And there’s a funny thing about tests: when God tests us, He watches our response to it. How will we act? How will we live? Do we try to take things into our own hands?

But God is watching. And if He watches me, how can He forget me?

A simple truth. A basic truth. Yet it changes everything.

God sees me.


Rachel Rossano said...

Keep your eyes on the Lord and He will direct your paths. I have found that patience is a vital part of being an author.

By the way, I am passing on to you an honor that someone gave to me.

Thank you for your encouraging and thought-provoking posts.

Chawna Schroeder said...

Thanks for your encouragement and the award, Rachel. While I know my worth or my writing's worth is not tied to such, it would still be a very tough road to walk without these small boosts along the way!

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Keanan Brand said...

I hear ya! I've been doing this since I was in fourth or fifth grade, and for years the only place I was published were school papers. After that, a loooong dry spell. I even quit writing for a few years. Still don't have an agent. Still haven't published a novel. But I think God allows us to be battered a bit, allows us to learn patience and learn our craft, because there will come a day when it will be rewarded.

Among my friends are writers who, in their quest for publication -- and, in their mind, significance -- they sacrificed principles and wrote material that got them published all right, but it's dirty and it hasn't advanced their careers the way they thought it would. They got caught in a nasty little backwater of publishing. The rest of us in the group of friends may be taking a longer route, but we're not ashamed of our work.

It'll come to you some day. I know it.

Chawna Schroeder said...

As I said, the test of waiting :o)
Thanks for your words of encouragement, Keanan.