Most times we have a clear directive of where we’re going in life and why we want to get there.
But what happens when we’re faced with opposition? Or when the person who should lift us up tears us down instead?
In most cases, we falter and our resolve weakens. We question ourselves and our purpose to the point that we think of giving up—or all out quit.
I’m still in the stage of my career where, when I meet with people I don’t know well, the words “I’m a published author” have a hard time working their way out of my mouth. Not that I’m ashamed or embarrassed, it’s just hard for me to push outside of my safety bubble with new people.
But something painfully-great happened when I did, and I’d like to share …
I showed her the real me
I attended a ladies church retreat a few months back, one of those wonderful and fun bonding experiences with tons of LOL moments. And we were going around the room sharing little facts about ourselves that weren’t well-known.
So for me, I shared some of the things I’m passionate about—books and writing. I’m a published author and many of these ladies, who were part of my church circle, didn’t know this about me. I took a risk and opened myself up, letting these ladies see the real me.
Later in the evening, an elder in the church smiled and showed curiosity in what I wrote. Yes, butterflies nose-dived in my stomach, but I held onto my self-made promise to be brave and shared the premise of one of my books. One of fantasy creatures, adventures, and characters learning to love.
Her smile wavered, and my anxiety kicked up. Needless to say, I did not have a fantasy fan on my hand.
She tore me up
This dear woman proceeded to tear into me in the nicest way possible. This elder corrected me by telling me I should use my talents to glorify God and not shine a light on cult-like behavior with characters who have powers and magical abilities (yes, you have my permission to cringe with me).
She counseled me and said that I should pray first and ask for God’s guidance and direction into using the talents He had given me. That if He called me to be a storyteller, I should lead people to Christ and not let the ways of this world sway me (again, you have my permission to cringe).
When she finished, I thanked her for the words of wisdom and dashed into the nearest bathroom where I cried my heart out. We’re talking ugly-crying with snot everywhere.
I sat on the bathroom floor, heartbroken. And if I hadn’t been in a different state at the time I would’ve packed my bags and left (I’d still been half tempted at the time).
She questioned my faith
Once I had my good cry, I stayed closeted in the bathroom, plotting different escape routes. I knew at some point I’d face opposition from individuals in the church because not everyone would agree with the use of fantasy in my stories. And I clearly hadn’t prepared myself for the heavy blow.
I still had another day in this retreat and time wouldn’t speed up, no matter how hard I prayed. So I wiped the snot off my face and reflected on the root of my pain. Why was I so upset?
Then the lightbulb went off.
I wasn’t upset because she hated my book’s premise.
Not even upset over the thinly veiled accusation of me supporting cult-like behavior because I like super-powers.
What hit me hardest was the fact that she assumed I had not already prayed and asked for God’s guidance.
That is what offended me the most. I mean, why call myself a Christian in business if I wasn’t going to pray first and ask for my Heavenly Father to lead me. I knew nothing about publishing when I first started. I needed doors to be opened, and who better to lean on than God?
I began my journey first in prayer, building on that foundation. And three years later I’m writing full-time and pursuing something I love.
Joy from the pain
Yes, this woman shared her thoughts and opinions with me, and I listened and was respectful. And at the end of the retreat, we shared hugs, farewells, and well-wishes.
But my calling had not changed.
In fact, this painful moment had helped tighten and secure my resolve in who I am and why I do what I do. This hurt I had felt helped me see the inner strength that God was working within me.
I’m not called to be an evangelist. I’m called to be a seed planter.
I love my stories. Within them are tales woven with wonder of characters finding love. Not just a romantic kind of love, but love between family and friends, something that goes beyond the surface.
There’s also adventures inspired with hope and the beauty beyond what we see with our eyes.
And that is what I pray people take away when they read my books: hope, love, and encouragement. Reminders that they are never alone and that they are loved and wanted. That they were meant for something great.
So yeah my characters might be able to wield fire and water or shift into a wolf. There’s even some who can fill the night sky with their inner light.
One girl stumbles into a parallel world and learns dreams are more than pretty illusions. Some even travel to far off places beyond our galaxy to save an entire species.
But just because a story has wonder in it, doesn’t mean it can’t also be uplifting.
Be confident in your “Why”
I know that was a long sharing moment, so thanks for sticking it out with me. And I’d like to leave you with one last thought:
No one can determine your calling for you.
Everyone will have opinions, but they aren’t the ones who designed you for a beautiful purpose. It’s important that our “why” is deeply rooted. Because opposition will come whether we’re ready for it or not. And we don’t want to have our “why” easily knocked down and trampled upon.
You were made for a reason. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.