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Be Still

By Gabrielle Meyer

Recently, I learned that one of the publishers I write for is closing their historical line. It was a blow I didn’t see coming as I watched my well-laid plans crash at my feet. After working for five years to get where I was, it felt like I was back at square one.

I’d faced rejection letters and other forms of disappointment in my writing journey, but this felt different. Before, when I had a “thanks, but no thanks” email from an editor, I knew I could work harder, improve my craft, write a new story, and resubmit. Rejections were part of the process. If anything, the rejections I received propelled me to fight harder. I knew if I was persistent, I could achieve my goals.

This time, however, there was nothing I could do. I couldn’t work harder. I couldn’t write better. I couldn’t resubmit. The decision was made and it was final.

No matter how hard I tried, I could not control this situation.

Suddenly, the idea of giving up felt like the best idea I’d had in a long time. It felt easy. I was tired and disheartened. Why keep fighting for something that isn’t in my control?

I cried out to God and asked Him what I should do. His answer?

Be still.

“Be still?” I cried back, shaking my head. “If I’m still, how will I move forward? There are hundreds—no, thousands—of people fighting for only a few slots in Christian Fiction. If I don’t work harder, do better, be faster, and give more, someone else will step in and take my place. Being still seems like the opposite of what I should do.”

But again, He whispered in my heart: Be still and know that I am God. The past five years, I’ve let you strive and do it your way. Let’s do it my way this time.

I sat in silence as God brought to mind the countless times He had proven Himself faithful, even in the darkest hours of my life, when I had no strength to fight, no will to continue, no hope that I would overcome. I didn’t always get what I wanted, but He always gave me what was best.

Always.

Are you there, friend? Are you tired and frustrated by the rejections, disappointments, and setbacks in your writing journey? Are you wondering if it’s worth it to continue?

Let me tell you something a writer friend once told me: God doesn’t call us to this journey just to get published (or stay published). He calls us to walk with Him so He can change our hearts. Right now, He’s changing my heart to see that my ways are not his ways, and his thoughts are not my thoughts. This journey He called me on was first and foremost His idea. He’s not surprised by this turn of events, nor will He abandon me now.

In being still and trusting Him to go to battle for me, I find rest. In knowing that He has this all under control, I find peace. Joy for my writing returns and I feel energized to do what He has called me to do: write.

I’m thankful for the books I have slated to release this year and the novella contracts He has provided for next year. I’m excited to see what He has in store. But above all else, I’m eager to see what He’ll do with my heart, because at the end of it all, it’s the reason He called me on this journey to begin with.


Gabrielle Meyer lives on the banks of the Mississippi River with her husband and four children. As an employee of the Minnesota Historical Society, she fell in love with the history of her state and enjoys writing fictional stories inspired by real people and events. To learn more, visit www.gabriellemeyer.com.

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15 Responses to Be Still

  1. A Dreamer says:

    So true! I believe God can take every circumstance in our lives that we may think to be terrible or don’t understand and use it to shape and mold us into the person He wants us to be. And sometimes that does require us to stop worrying and stressing and just be still and know that He is God! God Bless you and your writing journey to come!

  2. Kathy Bailey says:

    Gabrielle, this is so true. In this crazy publishing landscape, we need to stand fast. (My day job is in print journalism, specifically newspapers, so I’m getting it from both sides.) We need to be aware of the vagaries of the publishing industry, we need to keep up with them, but we must not let them control us. Thanks for the reminder.
    Kathy Bailey

  3. Janell Butler Wojtowicz says:

    I was in your place a year ago when the publishing house closed its doors five months after I had signed a contract for my debut novel. I was sad (to say the least) to come so far only to have the rug pulled out from under me before I had barely set foot on it! But God gave me the peace that comes with acceptance, and the motivation to keep going. He led me, in a roundabout way, to a new publisher less than a month later. Only God could have orchestrated that! I have no idea what’s ahead with the sequels or even this first novel, but I’m trying to yield to where God wants me to go with my life. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Melissa Tagg says:

    This is soooooooo good, Gabe. I feel like God brought me to a similar place a couple years ago. The circumstances might’ve been different, but that whisper in my heart was similar…like God was saying, “Look, you can strive and see where that gets you or you can just relax. RELAX. You’ll be at so much more peace, you’ll feel rested for the first time in years and, gasp, you’ll even have more fun.” I used to get so frustrated when people told me to “be still,” because it felt impossible…it felt like wishy-washy, trite advice. Now I realize stillness doesn’t mean doing nothing…but it does mean giving up the load I was never meant to carry in the first place.

    I’m excited to see what God has next for your journey! (And I’m also excited to see you THIS WEEKEND!)

  5. Ohhh YES and amen. So needed this. <3

  6. Yes, Melissa! Stillness doesn’t mean doing nothing. It means resting in the One who is working on our behalf. I remember the struggle you went through. I truly understand it so much better now. It’s funny how God lets us strive for a time, and He may even allow us to get what we want, but eventually we come to a place where we realize the striving has only made us exhausted and disheartened. That’s when He steps in and reminds us to rest in His will, His power, and His plan.

    Counting down the days until I see you this weekend!!

  7. Outstanding post, Gabrielle! I was wondering if we had the same writing friend. :). When I started writing fiction, one of my dearest writing mentors told me that writing a novel is a spiritual journey in which God’s ultimate goal was to conform me into the image of Christ. Her words still ring true.

    Many Blessings,

    MaryAnn
    __________________________________
    MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, DMin, MFA
    Author, Teacher & Life Coach
    http://www.maryanndiorio.cm

  8. Beth K Vogt says:

    You are a wise woman, Gabe. Thank you for sharing your (hard-won) wisdom with us today.

  9. Pam Meyers says:

    I have walked in your shoes and other similar ones over the past 20 or so years I’ve been seriously writing fiction. I’ve had specific lines close, just like LI’s historical line is closing. One was just as an editor was about to acquire my story. The last was just after my first “big book” came out, and the cancellation of the line set potential sales into a tailspin.

    I have also had to learn to “be still” and let God keep hold of the reins.

    My former agent, Terry Burns, has said we never know for sure, but sometimes the story we’ve written may only have been meant for an audience of one, as determined by God. And that is so true.

    Thanks for an excellent post!

  10. Beautifully said, and a lesson well learned. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Debra says:

    It’s a crazy roller coaster business so it’s good to have a never-changing God ! Thanks Gabrielle!

  12. Gabe, this is a beautiful post. Last year at ACW Conference, I clearly heard God say, “Stop striving in your own power and trust Me.” I still have to be reminded of this on an almost daily basis, so thanks for the reminder!

  13. Donna Gartshore says:

    So inspiring and a good reminder to us all no matter where we our in our writing journey and/or this journey called life!

  14. All things work together for the good of those that love Him. Closing the line was a strong hint that I was supposed to go in a different direction.:)

  15. “God doesn’t call us to this journey just to get published (or stay published). He calls us to walk with Him so He can change our hearts.”

    Amen and amen.