In fall of 2020, I met a young woman who quickly won my respect and admiration – first as an author, and over the months as a dear friend. I’d like to introduce you to Grace A. Johnson, a.k.a. Gracie, who kindly agreed to write the first guest post on Thoughts from a Stumbling Saint. Gracie and I are different in many ways, have different tastes, styles, and perspectives… to be honest, we had a bit of a hard time coming up with a post we were both satisfied with. But here we finally are (thanks for sticking around, Gracie!) and I am so pleased to share with you her thoughts on a topic that I think is close to home for a lot of us. My prayer is that her words would encourage you as they encouraged me, and that the Lord would use them to redirect and refresh your heart as you journey on.
First of all, I want to thank Libby for having me on! I know it’s been a struggle to get all this straightened out, but I’m here at long last! Second, I know there’s a reason that this post—out of all the
terrible ideas I came up with—is the one that Libby’s sharing. You may be that reason. You may be the one struggling right now, swamped with school or issues at home or your own health…or just plain exhausted from putting so much of yourself into something that doesn’t seem to be reaping much harvest.
I hope this message encourages you and directs your attention back to what matters—the heart of it all. The deep, abiding fire that fueled you in the first place and is still burning now. The One who created that fire.
Trust me, I know from experience that just when things seem the bleakest ever and that nothing you do matters, God will show up and show out to make it clear just how valuable you and your dreams are to Him and to this world.
This message is tailored to writers—like Libby and me are—but this goes for anything and everything you do. Sports, music, dance, art—whatever you’re dedicated to doing and whatever you feel called to do. There is a purpose for everything. Remember that.
I’ve been where you are. Absolutely tired of writing, completely unsure of why you still bother. Consumed by so many other things—especially the naysayers (or even your own inner critic) who tell you it’s not worth it, you’re not good enough, you’ll never succeed. All those lies that accompany any feat in life and more are like battering rams beating against that youthful dream of writing away the rest of your days in a cozy desk chair, watching the money roll in, and getting regular fan mail from readers and viewers of your latest film adaptation.
Yeah, that place.
And even though that place is one of the deepest, darkest ones you can find yourself in, there is a way out. Trust me.
Just step back, take a breath, and remember why you do it.
Losing focus and forgetting your purpose is a slow process, but one that’s all too easy to fall into. Once you’ve taken your eyes off the prize, so to speak, writing—or anything you do—can become a striving after wind.
Think back to your first story. To that rush of excitement at penning those first few lines. To the satisfaction of filling page after page with prose—however rough. What was it that prompted you to begin writing? What was it that made you cling to it when giving up and letting go seemed like the right thing? Why did you look forward to that window of time you had to get in a few words?
For me, it was—it is—God. I wrote then and I write now because I believe in what I write and I believe that God has given me the ability and the passion to do so because He has a great purpose in store. But sometimes that seems so unattainable. I only have a smattering of readers and followers on my blog—how am I supposed to make a difference when I only have a tiny circle of influence?
But that’s just it.
It’s still a circle of influence, isn’t it? And there’s still something I can do or say to brighten someone’s day, change their perspective, or fill them with hope.
What about you? Do you often wonder if what you’re doing is worth it? If anyone cares or is impacted by it?
Trust me, it is. Someone out there cares, and more importantly, God does.
Remember why you started, and remember why you continue to do it. Remember to thank God for giving you courage and strength, and for blessing you with the desire and ability to write.
If you don’t press on, you’ll never obtain your goals. You’ll never put your thoughts, your heart, out there. You’ll never get to see how far He can take you.
Let this be a reminder on the hard days that you’re not alone and that there is a reason for all of this—and oftentimes, it’s the reason why you started in the beginning. Slap a sticky note on your bathroom mirror if you have to (that’s actually not a bad idea); just make sure that you don’t let the worries and the weight of the world keep you from pressing on and chasing your dreams!
“Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
With love and blessings always,
Grace A. Johnson is a teenage Christian fiction authoress, book reviewer, and avid reader. She lives in beautiful (but humid) South Georgia, surrounded by farmland and forestry, with her parents and six younger siblings. She has written four novels, three of which are published, and a smattering of short stories and novellas, which you can find on Amazon. She’s also a homeschooler who loves learning about history, linguistics, art, and the world around her. You can find her on Goodreads, Pinterest, BookBub, or blogging on her website at www.graceajohnson.com. Join her for a virtual cup of tea and a free short story when you sign up for her e-newsletter!