I am preaching the message below to myself. I wrote the words below four years ago, and need to revisit them again today:
One of our former pastors (that’s a depressing phrase, but I digress…) had a catchy little way of summarizing spiritual growth. He would tell the congregation that as they followed the Lord, the bumps in the road wouldn’t get smaller, but their shock absorbers would get bigger. It was a folksy metaphor to explain how our growing faith and maturity are increasingly able to absorb big honking trials/challenges and stabilize quickly.
While his axiom wildly oversimplifies the complexities of walking through a long, dark difficult trial (chronic illness, death, prodigal spouses or children, financial loss), there is a nice dollop of truth in his words.
Many of us are navigating some roads with potholes the size of Lake Erie named Wall Street, Main Street and Watching My Real Estate Investment Evaporate Into Thin Air Avenue. We may end up on an unpaved road taking us to a destination we never dreamed we’d be traveling in these next months and years. Each time we exercise dependence on our God here, now our shock absorbers get a little more resilient. We navigate uncertain terrain while our soul’s GPS is directing us homeward on Christ’s narrow road.
Today was one of those days when I thought of those shock absorbers. A book proposal sitting at a publisher for nearly 6 months – including an encouraging e-mail a few weeks ago inquiring whether the work was still available – today netted a no. It was a really nice, encouraging no, but the no was the shape of a pothole. Ouch. ouchouchouch.
But I can feel the rebound in my heart: “My heart bursts its banks, spilling beauty and goodness. I pour it out in a poem to the King, shaping the river into words…” (Ps. 45:1 Message). In Your time, my King…and for Your glory.
Fast forward four years. Lots and lots and LOTS of words written during those four years. (Lots and lots of words written during the two plus decades before 2008, for that matter.) Right now, I have three different really good book proposals sitting at three different publishers. Other writers, whose work I know and admire, seem to be receiving publishing contracts every time I log on to the computer. (Funny how a little self-pity can bring me to use words that make it sound like everyone except me and maybe a six-month old baby are getting contracts!) I can do a spiritual slap down on the obvious jealousy monster that wants to rear its nasty head – a “boing” rebound of sorts.
But tonight, truth be told, the air in my tires is pretty low. And shock absorbers don’t work very well if the tires are flat.
4 thoughts on “My 2012 writing life: shock absorbers and flat tires”
Michelle your words are so powerfully and honestly expressed. I love the shock absorber imagery as it hits the nail on the head; any of us who has lived a few years knows that the trials don’t get smaller as we (and our families) grow older. But God has His way of equipping us not just for the task at hand but for the one that is just around the corner. You’re approaching the curve my sister, it’s just a matter of when…
You’re a fantastic writer. Whatever’s hanging up those proposals will have nothing to do with the quality of your writing and everything to do with the potholes the publishing industry’s experiencing.
This may not make you feel better, of course. We all love results and we want to make it happen. But while you’re waiting God is growing you into the writer you need to be when the moment arrives. Come visit your writer’s group for some more encouragement!
Thanks for the encouragement, friends. Your words added a jolt of air to those nearly-flat tires. 🙂
And Jane – I am hoping to come visit soon!
Your conclusion hits home with me, Michelle. Shocks can be tough to take in the best of times, but are really tough when we’re already feeling low. Hope you get a fill-up soon.