Sixty thousand words are camped on my desk. The pages are held together by a large black spring clip. I am out of ink and printer paper. For the first time, I’m not sure I can do this.
I started writing a book about a year ago. It’s nearly finished and I am an inch from tossing it the trash can. I’ve had the first three chapters and all of the chapter summaries professionally edited. I’ve sent a formal book proposal to a handful of agents. I’m neither surprised nor discouraged that I haven’t heard back from any of them. But there is another reason I’m not sure I can do this, though I am determined to stick it out. Quitting goes against my nature.
Philippians 1:25, “Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith.” NIV
There is an ebb and rhythm to the first several chapters and I enjoy reading and editing them. Nevertheless, there are unlimited ways to combine twenty-six letters and perfection continues to oppose me. So I edit those first few chapters. Obsessively. And I like it.
1 Corinthians 13:10, “But when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.” ESV
Invariably, I get to chapter eighteen and I am stuck. The next five chapters sort of sag. I’ve seriously considered highlighting the paragraphs and hitting delete. But since they contain truths wrenched painfully out of my soul I want to keep them. I think. The doubt drives me to open the lid to the trash can again. Every single time I get to the same exact place in the book and I cannot make any more progress.
Galatians 5:7, “You were running superbly! Who cut in on you, deflecting you from the true course of obedience?” MSG
I SUPPOSE YOU GET STUCK TOO
What story are you writing? Do you have a chapter eighteen in your life? If you are like me, you’ve experienced victory in one area only to continually fail in another? Are you an overachiever in school but cannot manage your weight? Do you excel at certain relationships and fail dismally at others? It is so easy to stay in the comfortable zone where we enjoy a little success rather than wading into the deep water where we are challenged to swim against a swift current.
2 Corinthians 4:8, “We are pressured in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair.” HCSB
EITHER SWIM OR RUN, BUT GET THE PRIZE
I repeatedly get bogged down in chapter eighteen. The pattern is all too familiar. Either something has to give or I am going to give up. The rut is not unlike other areas in my spiritual walk where I experience victory for seventeen straight chapters, then I hit that same rough spot in the road and I’m undone. Can you relate?
1 Corinthians 9:24, “Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize.” HCSB
Why should I go on when I keep hitting the same wall? For whatever reason, God called me to write, either for someone to read or as an exercise to prepare me for something else. Honestly, I don’t know what I am doing. I only know I am here again and some days it doesn’t look so good. I can’t seem to finish. Sometimes, I can’t even make progress. But, I simply need to be obedient. So, I am not giving in.
Romans 7:15, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” ESV
As always, you are invited to eavesdrop as I remind myself of wise words I heard from a godly friend:
- Do the next right thing
- Put one foot in front of the other
- Keep doing what you are called to do until you get orders for the next assignment
Exodus 4:12, “Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.” NKJV
I’m so glad you joined me for this crazy ride. I hope you’ll stick with me because you always keep me out of the garbage. When you engage (read, follow, comment and share) , it makes all the effort worth it.
Let’s move on to the next chapter. Are you with me?