I’ve been thinking about the topic of success this week with the release of my debut novel, Five Days in Skye. It’s been a wild ride, too. The book came out of the gate far stronger than I expected, and as a result, opportunities have started falling in my lap.
And I just sit back and think, “Wow. I certainly didn’t have anything to do with this.”
The funny thing is, I never intended to publish this book. Or if I did, I figured I’d self-publish it under a pen name for the general market. I was frustrated with revisions on another project, and I needed something fun clear my head. Skye was supposed to be the literary version of cotton candy: fun, sweet, and not very substantial. I got to about 60,000 words and stalled. Things weren’t coming together. It had no heart. It had no soul.
Then in church one weekend while we were studying through Ezra, our pastor spoke on obedience to God’s calling. The exact verse eludes me, but God told me very clearly, “This is not what I called you to do.” I walked out of the sanctuary with absolute understanding that He’d called me to write inspirational fiction and the assurance that if I was obedient, He’d do the rest.
I rewrote it for the Christian market, pitched it at ACFW, and less than a year after I’d started writing it, was offered a contract by David C Cook. I was so grateful for the confirmation, the quick turnover. The last line of my acknowledgements page sums up my feelings on the subject: “Any good I accomplish is solely because of Your grace and mercy.”
But somehow, in the ensuing chaos of editing and marketing, I started to get stressed. What if no one liked it? What if no one bought it? What if the reviews were horrible? Worse yet, what if no one got my point of view and was horrified that I would write something like this and call it Christian fiction?
Once more God had to nudge me to get my attention. The night before my release, it was like He was saying, “Relax, okay? I’ve got this.” Don’t laugh. That’s exactly what popped into my head. Apparently God speaks to me in slang sometimes.
The thing is, it’s too easy to take the responsibility and the credit in anything we do. When we make decisions on our own, we are responsible for our mistakes and our own success. But when we are obedient to God’s calling, His will, and His direction, suddenly the pressure is off. It’s now His responsibility, and He is far more capable of seeing to an endeavor’s success than we are.
How freeing is that little revelation? God pushed me in the direction I needed to go with this book. He’s brought me the opportunities. And now I can sit back, be diligent about meeting my responsibilities, and give the rest to Him.
He’s got this one.