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Words of Hope for the Rejected Christian Writer

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“George Moriarty, Detroit Tigers, 1911” Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

George Moriarty was a major league baseball player with a reputation for stealing bases. I’ve always been impressed with his story, particularly this quote from an artlcle by Eric Enders: 

“He was a weak hitter,” sportswriter Joe Williams once wrote, “but he had that rare something in his makeup which produces leadership, that divine spark that invests mediocrity with might.”

We all approach our dreams with either lackluster or fervor, and those who chose the latter most often succeed. I mentioned the fervor in my last post–Angela Duckworth’s “True Grit.”

Moriarty was also a writer. According to Enders, he used to recite his poetry for “schools, American League banquets, and the like.” One of his poems, “The Road Ahead or the Road Behind” references grit.

He opens with this:

Sometimes I think the Fates must
Grin as we denounce and insist
The only reason we can’t win
Is the Fates themselves that miss

Of course, being a Christian Fiction writer, I think of this more in terms of what God must think of my self doubt. I was reading the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25 this past Sunday, just thinking about all the skills God has blessed me with and how I sometimes hold back in using them because of my lack of self confidence. “I’m not good enough” could be translated as “He didn’t create me to be good enough.” And that’s simply not true.

Moriarty continues with this line:

Yet there lives on an ancient claim
We win or lose within ourselves
The shining trophies on our shelves

Can never win tomorrow’s game
You and I know deeper down
There’s always a chance to win the crown

He’s talking about grit here. He even uses the word itself in a later part. Believing we can achieve our goals and fighting for them instead of rolling over and giving up. I love that line about the trophies not winning tomorrow’s game–we have to keep fighting and not just settle for the tiny hints of success we have passed.

But when we fail to give our best
We simply haven’t met the test
Of giving all, and saving none
Until the game is really won

Of showing what is meant by grit
Of fighting on when others quit
Of playing through, not letting up
It’s bearing down that wins the cup
Of taking it and taking more
Until we gain the winning score

Of dreaming there’s a goal ahead
Of hoping when our dreams are dead
Of praying when our hopes have fled
Yet losing, not afraid to fall
If bravely, we have given all

I wish I could find the source for this article I read a few weeks ago about how most people who start out to write a novel never finish. Part of the success of being published is having the tenacity to follow through with writing, editing, and revision until we reach “The End.” Another favorite line from this poem is “hoping when our dreams our dead.” To seek a publishing contract means to seek rejection and hope for that opportunity to push through. We can’t give up when someone tells us they don’t like our story. We just have to work harder to make it better.

Moriarty ends with this:

For who can ask more of a man
Than giving all within his span
Giving all, it seems to me
Is not so far from victory

And so the Fates are seldom wrong
No matter how they twist and wind
It is you and I who make our fates
We open up or close the gates
On the road ahead or the road behind.

Yes, God gives us the tools we need to make our fates, but we have to choose how we are going to use these tools. How can we give up on ourselves or settle for mediocrity and follow these simple words from 1 Corinthians 10:31?

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

I Can Do ALL Things

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Meet my little self-proclaimed “Peacock Girl.”

Her beautiful spirit amazes me, and her fearlessness paralyzes me with terror. This child does not believe in obstacles. She creates, loves, dreams, and experiences with every fiber of her being. But most of all, she believes.

Philippians 4:13 has always been one of my favorite verses. 

I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

But do I really believe that? Do you? All things? Or just some things?

I want to be a published writer. Not just of any fiction, but of Young Adult Christian Fiction. The edgy kind, where kids will look at it and say, “Yes. That’s me. I relate to that character, and I want her faith.”

I can write a lot of different genres. I suppose I’m lucky in that regard. But I want to move teenagers to find a faith that they embrace with Hunger Games intensity. 

This past week, I received my first official rejection. Even though I expected it, it stings a little, because I’ve poured so much of myself into Cavernous. I say I have no intention of giving up. And yet, in the back of my mind, I have this little voice saying it’s impossible. One rejection, and it’s put a tiny dent into my belief.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about 2 Corinthians 5:7, and what it really means to “walk by sight.” It’s so easy to view the world through the misguided lenses of doubt and fear. Do I really trust God that He has a plan for my writing talent? Do I have the patience to let Him work through me?

Peacock Girl walks by faith because she doesn’t see those things that could stand in her way. She only sees the end game, and keeps her eyes on the goal. My goal in writing Christian Fiction is evangelism to a subset of our society who desperately need ministering. 

So I’ll press on, and I’ll pray. And I’ll get busy writing book two of the Cavernous series, because I believe it’s a message teens need to hear. If I can do ALL things, I can do this, too.