The phone rings. “Hello?” I answer. It’s John, a nice man from a self-publishing firm I have been talking to on and off for the last three or four months. “Hi, John,” I smile. “It has been a while, hasn’t it?”
For nearly five years I have struggled with my writing life. Motherhood and a bent toward procrastination have not always coincided with my dream of writing a book. In search of answers and guidance, I sought the services of John and his firm last winter.
I listen as John reminds me of our last conversation. With my first manuscript on the verge of being completed, John and I have had several conversations about what to do next. Do I self-publish my book with John and his firm or spring, feet first, into the unknown world of traditional publishing?
“So, Jennifer,” John urges. “Have you decided to let us help you publish your book?” It’s a good question. I am the first to admit that I know little of these two possibilities. John knows a lot about the world of publishing. What John doesn’t know, is that I have just returned home from my first writer’s conference.
After spending two days with authors, agents, publishers, incredible speakers, and fellow writers, I realized that the decision I needed to make wasn’t about self or traditional publishing. Instead, I decided, first and foremost, to trust God’s calling for me to be a writer and begin to take my writing seriously; knowing that if I stay faithful and obedient to Him, everything else will fall into place.
All of these thoughts filter through my mind as John and I continue our conversation. “As a matter of fact, John, it’s funny you should call.” My heart beats strong and determined as I tell him about my weekend at the conference. “In a nutshell, John, I’m just not ready to commit to your firm. It’s not a closed door by any means, but I think I owe it to myself and my book to at least try for a traditional contract.”
“You know,” John quips. “It is nearly impossible for an unknown author to get published. The statistics just aren’t in your favor.” John continues to paint a dreary, yet vivid picture of how difficult it is to get a book published, and as listen I begin to sense that this phone call is not about John or getting my book published. This phone call, I realize with a moment of God given clarity, is an attack.
It wasn’t John who was attacking, but Satan. What I mean by an ‘attack’ is that Satan was attempting to take John’s less than positive words about my writing goals and decisions, and use them to convince me that these decisions are pointless, ridiculous, and impossible. Without God’s help to see this attack for what it was, I know I could have quickly and easily become doubtful and discouraged about my decision to embrace everything God has for me and my writing.
The writer’s conference I attended changed everything for me. It drew me closer to God. It clarified my purpose. It helped me to set goals and map out a plan for my writing career. It filled me with hope, confidence, and a giddy, school-girl joy for writing that I haven’t felt in ages. Is it any wonder, that these victories would be opposed?
After a few minutes, John and I both realize that there is nothing more to say. We wish each other well, and I hang up the phone. I can feel God and His strength all around me, a vote of Holy confidence. I’m thankful for this phone call for it reminds me to be on guard, to beware those little attacks. I laugh out loud and say, “Satan, you’re going to have to try a lot harder than that.”
Every day a battle rages, but ultimately I know that this battle is not just for the purposes that God has called us to, but also for our hearts. Win or lose, God is glorified by our decisions to be faithful and obedient to our callings, and He will defend us against Satan’s attacks.
As I pursue my dream and face the battles that lie ahead, I am thankful to know that the author and perfector of my story, of ALL stories, will forever be by my side.