I am so glad God loves me too much to leave me as I am. Because, quite honestly? There’s a “Ronie” I don’t like. A Ronie caught up in her own little world, pursuing her dreams, and losing herself in the midst of that success-driven pursuit.
So, let’s get a little real…
Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ.It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I know live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
You’ve heard it. Read it. Said it. But. . .do you get it?
I’ll keep this real—I haven’t. At least, I thought I had and went on my merry Christian way. Writing. Striving to be better, write better. To succeed. You see, I’ve played “the game.” You know the one I’m talking about. They tell us, write the best story you can.
So I did.
Then they said get published.
So I did.
The next measure of success was finaling in contests. Then winning an award.
Then I realized I had a label still missing from my success profile: bestselling author. Well, I wasn’t foolish enough to think I could really, on my own, make that happen. But in my mind, that was my next goal.
And I did it.
By all accounts, I’m now considered a successful author.
Yet, I felt like a failure as one proposal after another went around, soundly rejected. In my agony and angst, I asked my agent, “Where am I going wrong? What am I doing wrong?” I was so there, ready to fix things. Whatever I had messed up. That’s what I do—I figure out the rules, play by them, win by them. I was hurt–after all, what “they” said it took to be a success, what it took to be appealing to publishers…it wasn’t working. Steve challenged me to define success, but with the state of this industry and the ever-changing goals to do better, grow more…I found that challenge nearly impossible.
Things had just powered down to a complete standstill. It didn’t make sense. I’d played their game. So, why weren’t things going the way I wanted them? The way my success suggested it should go?
The whole gig threw me into a tailspin. Of course, being an emotive person, I translated this very quickly and deeply against my personal worth. I could sense God there, on the periphery but I felt like an ocean of hurts, unmet needs, unrealistic dreams and expectations stretched between us, making it impossible to hear Him.
And in the last week, God has brought me and those expectations to my knees. You see, in Galatians 2:20, it says I have been crucified with Christ. Which, in a way, speaks to the action of surrender. Dying to self. Saying, “God, here’s my life. Do with it as you please.”
In saying and doing that, I’ve basically made myself a slave to righteousness.
And guess what?
Slaves don’t have rights. Slaves serve. Their lives are not their own. And I realized that my “right” to be contracted again, my “right” to be a bestseller, my rights to. . .ANYTHING. . .didn’t exist.
The ladies in my neighborhood invited me to do Jennie Allen’s Bible study, Stuck DVD-Based Study . When I went into it, I had a truckload of pride, thinking that I wasn’t stuck. But I wanted to meet my new neighbors and get to know them, so I committed to the study.
God has nailed me between the eyes with every chapter. Check out this quote from this week’s study called “Mad.”
Anger is our reaction when we feel our rights are being taken from us. We get angry about not getting what we think we deserve. We get angry when our “rights” feel threatened.”
I seriously had to take a giant step backward. Angry? Who’s angry? Nobody’s angry here.
But the words resonated so deeply in me that I realized *I* was angry. Angry with the Lord—I’d played the game, I thought. I’d worked off my rear-end writing, editing, rewriting, social media-ing. . .but my proposals were going nowhere. I was Stuck.
Because I had my eyes on the wrong prize. I had my eyes on ME. On my performance. On my rights. One of the questions in that chapter on Mad asked, “Do you trust Me when obeying Me is excruciating?”
That’s exactly where I was because my career was headed in a direction opposite from the one I’d worked toward. But if I wanted a surrendered heart—and I did/do—that means I have offered myself as a servant (slave) to Christ. Which means, I have no “rights.”
Then I get this devotional from Purpose Driven Life: The cost of sacrificial service runs past mere notions of money. It may mean giving up dreams, expectations, reputations, retirements, whatever God asks in order to lovingly enrich the lives of others.
And that was my challenge from God: what was more important? The notions and ideals of success found in an ever-changing industry? Achievements that, as my agent said, “all perish as soon as they are announced”? I could not even define success because this industry is such that success is always in a state of flux.
So, here I am. Pondering the Lord’s guidance, deeply considering this passage my agent sent me from an article by David Wilkerson titled, God’s Measure of Success:
My advice is, “Quit looking for ministry [as authors writing is our ministry]. Spend your time seeking God instead. He knows where to find you. He’ll summon you when he sees you are ready. Forget what others are doing. Strive to be a success at God’s throne. If you’re ministering to the Lord and praying for others, you are already a success in his eyes!”
I love those words: He knows where to find you. I even more adore the idea of not having to worry about it all. No longer *striving* for success. In fact, I told a friend recently about something that worried me, “Ah well. It’s not mine to worry about.”
So, that is where I am right now. Learning to define success and my identity before Him, on my knees at His throne. And as the guys of Nightshade or ODA452 would say, “God’s got my six.” He’ll take care of the rest. And when He needs me to step into something or a contract or whatever—He knows where to find me.
And He knows where to find you. The question is. . .will you let yourself be found in surrender at the His feet?
P.S. My agent sent me a link to a powerful post, and I’d like to leave you with this final thought about TRUE CONTENTMENT. http://galotti.blogspot.ca/2012/10/true-contentment.html