Because I was caught up in being a commercial success, I never stopped to realize how God used my testimony. I considered what I had done to be a failure. I gave up because the book did not produce my desired results. I did not stop to think or ask if it had produced God’s desired results. People kept asking when I would write another book and what my next project would be, but I did not feel like I could succeed at anything. An unsuccessful marriage, short-lived law career, and not being invited to be in Oprah’s Book Club left me feeling like nothing that I would do would ever matter. Feeling like a failure led to other behaviors for which I am not proud, but thank God that when He has a path for you, He will pick you up and put you back on that path with a better understanding of Who is in control.
In an attempt to please other people, I tried to write another book. I followed the same format as the first one. I looked at Scriptures that spoke to me. I wrote an outline. I started writing. I pitched it to publishers and literary agents and got rejection after rejection. I could not understand why God would give me a gift and not let me use it. The truth of the matter is, God gives me plenty of opportunities to use my gifts and talents, but when I do not see their usefulness, I feel like a flop, which is right where the devil wants me. Because the devil knows that my ego is so big that I am unlikely continue on a journey if I am not getting some sort of accolades. But, this is not about me.
Have you ever noticed that when you are not doing what God calls you to do you feel miserable? Not only do you feel miserable, but a lot of times, you want everyone around you to be miserable as well? So, I asked, “God, how do you want me to use what you have given me?” He replied, “Just write.” I responded, “But,”--because you know we like to throw those “buts” in there when God gives us an assignment; am I right, Moses--“Lord, nobody wants to read or hear what I have to say. It seems like a waste of time and effort.” He said, “I want to see what you have to say. Does anything else matter?”
That was the problem. Everyone else’s opinion mattered more to me than what God desired. When the psalmist wrote, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” I thought, “Yes, please. Lord, I love you. So, I’ll take a Christian male about six-foot-six, a writing and singing career, and a mansion with maid service, for the win!” That is so not what that verse means. That verse means that when you get in sync with God, His desires for you become you desires. You start to understand that regardless of the outcomes you see in front of you, there is a greater plan at work; the Master’s Plan. He doesn’t need your help, but He will use it if you are a willing vessel.
So, I started writing as I was instructed. I honestly didn’t think that I would have something to say, but nearly every day, there is something on my heart to say. At times, that old, ugly monster of discouragement tries to bring me down by saying, “No one reads what you write, no one listens to your music, and no one cares, so why are you doing this?” My response, “Because my Daddy said so.” And, the Lord knows that I need encouragement, so every once in awhile, He lets me see His gifts to me reach someone that I do not know or did not think was paying attention. But it is not about me getting attention; it is about me giving God glory. It is about letting others know how He has surrounded me with loving people and life-changing experiences. If you know what your gift is, just use it to His glory because nothing else matters. If you do not know what your gift is, just ask God to enlighten you. He wants to use us as vessels for His greater works, but we can only be used when He is the center of our focus. Ms. EV