Wrestling Success

Ronie Uncategorized 18 Comments

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.

Check and double check!

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?”

OUCH!

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

Comments 18

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  1. Sarah Penner

    Thank-you for sharing your struggle with me Ronie. I appreciate your honesty a ton since I dream of one day being a published writer as well. I’ve already seen myself get caught up in the desire to get my story out there and feeling the need to ‘live the dream’.

    I don’t want to be caught up in ‘me’, not even a little. I want what He wants for me. If it is to publish something, then I’ll walk with Him through that. If it’s something so radically different, then I want to be seeking His face and what He has for me. I sure can’t do that if I am looking at me. Blessings on you for sharing your heart and for sharing your gift!

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      Ronie

      Well, the “me” things happen, but it’s what you do with them once you realize they’re “happening” that matters. 😀 Thanks for stopping by, Sarah!

  2. Debbie Mitchell

    Thanks for keeping it real, Ronie, this was a great post and so heartfelt. I am so happy that you found that Bible Study. I just adore the ladies in my Bible Study. They are mostly ladies 20+ years older than me, so they have a lot to bring to the table. God bless and hugs.

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      Ronie

      It’s been wonderful to be a part of this study. I’ve never been able to do something like this before for various reasons. God bless!

  3. Robert Liparulo

    Wow, Ronie, thank you for this, for exposing your heart and sharing your lessons. I’m in the middle of writing the third Immortal Files book, which deals with this very issue: trusting God even when He’s asking for something we don’t want to do, when He’s asking for sacrifice. Writing this story, I’ve had to face my own stubbornness when it comes to completely trusting God and giving up both my own selfish desires and my own way of achieving them. Sometimes I think I know best; man, does that fly in the face of everything God has told us. Great article, with spot-on references…and a point which resonates with me, as I’m sure it does with many others. Thanks again!

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      Ronie

      Thanks, Bob. Nothing like being “naked” in public forums like this, but I’m praying iron will sharpen iron. Praying you totally RAWK IT (as I know you will) with the third Immortal Files. I’m anxiously awaiting book two. WOOT!

  4. Rel Mollet

    One of the things that I’ve always admired about you (among many others), Ronie, is your willingness to look deeply at your motivations and allow God to speak to you. This is just another example of that willingness and honesty. Your desire to share what you learn to help others is another!

    Thanks for the challenge to look at what we want and ask the questions – does it measure up to God desires? Hmmm….I’m in the same boat as you! Your transparency is a blessing to me, my friend.

    xo xo xo

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  5. Candace Calvert

    Ronie, this is so beautifully transparent, heart-on-your-sleeve YOU, and so very helpful to all of us who struggle with the (humanly flawed, prideful, confused) and seemingly impossible balance in this incredible calling (and challenge) to write for the glory of God.
    Thank you, my friend for a soul-deep and invaluable insight.

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  6. david w. fry

    Ronie,

    The transparency of your post is gripping. It certainly grabbed me. I was on a walk this morning when an asthma episode intruded upon my peace. I was frustrated that my morning had been “interrupted” by a malady that is a fact of my life. The irony is that I was praying out loud when this happened and my desire of late has been to learn how to pray without ceasing. Maybe God wanted me to be quiet, be still, and just listen to him for a bit. 🙂 That or he wanted me to stop scaring people who saw me “taking to myself”.

    My wife (who is now a RN, came and picked me up – she rescued me). I wanted to get home of my own accord, I didn’t want to be rescued. And therein is the core of it all. I wanted resolution on my terms and my time. That’s not how a slave to Christ should respond.

    I think so much of what we process as “happening to us” can be attributed to perspective. We’re looking through the wrong end of the telescope and the view is twisted. Thank you Ronie for turning the telescope around for us. At least you did for me as I read your post this morning while huffing on an albuterol inhaler.

    Speaking of perspective, as an unpubbed writer – I observe others moving forward and hitting milestones at every turn (being published, winning awards, becoming a best-selling author) and it’s tempting to get discouraged, drop the baton, and focus our work on pleasing man rather than GOD (because that is easier to “quantify” for lack of a better term) – something about different economies. We simply cannot acquiesce to that and I believe your post addresses this. We live by the law of obedience to his demands rather than supply and demand.

    I know your post focused on wrestling success; I’m riffing off of that just a bit – Some of us are wrestling with comparison. We see your your star rising, the Christy award reflecting light, the moniker of best-seller attached to your name and we cross our spiritual arms across our pride filled chests and stick our lower lips out so far that we collect rainwater. 🙂 We have to kick the ‘comparison beast’ to the curb and stomp on it and shove it down into the storm drain to be washed away.

    And I’m a living testament to one small corner of sacrificial service. I put my writing dream on the shelf for two years to support my wife in the pursuit of her dream to become a nurse. That was utterly gut-wrenching for me. I grieved. I wailed. I cried. I cut the candle in two and burned all 4 ends to help keep things afloat for my family of 7. And I profoundly regret my response to this season of life. I complained. I consumed copious quantities of chocolate. I belly-ached. (probably from the chocolate) and had a pity party – of which attendance = 1.

    My prayer this morning was for repentance of this attitude and a focus centered on the subject of self-centered focus. My prayer too was for the LORD to restore what the locusts of my ‘tude consumed. I find it ironic that shortly after that, my lungs clenched like a seized machine chewing on an errant wrench. And I had to call for help.

    So here’s the thing. I’m repenting and I’m writing. I’m leaving the rest to my master.

    Apologies for the long-winded (pun intended) response to your post but hey, I don’t have the air to talk so I’ll pen the words instead. Too bad I can’t count these words towards the story I’m working on today. 🙂

    God bless you Ronie for being transparent and approachable about this wrestling match of yours. You humbled me this morning and it’s a blessing.

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      Ronie

      Thank you, David, for sharing so openly. Ya know…when we voice our thoughts, when we lay ourselves “naked” before Christ and others, there’s nothing to hide in the darkness. We strip those things of the power they once held over us. BE FREE, my friend! God bless you!

  7. Johnese Burtram

    How encouraging it is to share kindred hearts. Wow. I identify with your post so much. The responses show me I am in good company, brothers and sisters in Christ. My greatest encouragement is that I have a role to play in His Story.
    Bless you for your transparent honesty.

  8. Elisha

    Hi Ronie,

    I’ve really enjoyed looking through your website and am thankful for the glimpse into the heart and life of another sister in Christ. I’ll look forward to reading more in the days and weeks ahead. I also wanted to thank you for sharing my blog post with your readers. It’s such an encouragement to know He used my reflections, to whatever small degree, to bring encouragement to others. Humbling, too.

    With thanks, and blessings,
    Eisha

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