A few years ago, I gave up writing once and for all.
It was the third time in a month.
I had just opened another rejection letter regarding another manuscript from another publisher whose associate’s secretary’s assistant was kind enough to send me a form letter declining, ever-so-politely and oh-so-unfortunately, their disinterest in publishing my work. Enough of this.
For the better part of a decade, after my first two books were published, I’d been trying again. In between keeping up with carpool, hockey games, cheer competitions, swim meets, grading papers, laundry, occasional date nights with my husband and semi-annual visits to the gym, I was doing what I’ve always been told. Don’t give up on your dreams.
Right? Don’t give up on that thing you really want to do in life. Maybe yours is a job. Or a place to live. Or a hobby, a talent, a position, an ability, a hope, a purpose, a vision, a passion. Whatever it is, we’re taught to keep trying, keep praying, keep asking. Believe. Have faith. Go for it. Push through. Like the parable of the widow in Luke 18, be persistent. When a door closes, look for a window. When a window closes, look for a rock.
But I was tired. Like many times before, I had had enough. Enough rejection. Enough disappointment. Enough beating my head against the wall wanting something that clearly wasn’t in the cards. The writing was on the wall and the writing said to quit writing.
So I did. I surrendered. Again. I asked God to make it disappear (again). I told myself I didn’t really want it anyway. It was dumb to begin with. Stop whining. Take no for an answer. Be content. I knew God’s promise was true, that if I kept my focus on Him, He would “give me the desires of my heart,” (Psalm 37:4) so I made room for new desires. Moved in different directions. Pursued other interests. Listened to the song and just. Let. It. Go.
The trouble with dreams, though, they’re stubborn little things. Extremely distracting. Annoyingly strong. And just like that wedding dress I keep in a box in the attic that I know my girls will never wear,
hard to get rid of. And that’s when it hit me. As I stood with my thousandth rejection letter in hand, I realized this wasn’t going away. I knew it would only be a matter of time before the sting of refusal would fade, the nuisance of discouragement would lift, and that same old desire of my heart would sneak up on me again.
Last week when I signed a contract for a series of children’s books, I thought about all the times I had given up. And then I thought about all the times I had changed my mind and given up on giving up. As hard as I tried to quit, I couldn’t stick to it. And while I certainly didn’t know where it would lead or even if it would lead anywhere at all, I had the undeniable peace of knowing Who was leading.
So if you have a dream, especially one that’s not entirely shaping up the way you’d like at the moment, try giving up. See where it takes you. I highly recommend it.