How many times has God asked you to do something, and you try your best to find a way to get out of it? *My hand is raised.* We don’t mind when He asks us to do something easy. But when He asks us to do something that we feel is beyond our capabilities, many of us try to find a way to reason or bargain our way out of it.
A few years ago, God impressed upon my heart to write a book. My first reply was, “God, I can’t write a book!” But, He didn’t relent. Over and over the thought came to mind, and before long I couldn’t quit thinking about it. I continually told God that I couldn’t do it, and I had plenty of legitimate excuses why it just wasn’t a good idea.
I said, “God, I’ve been out of high school for way too long. I have forgotten so much about writing!” I argued that no one would want to read anything I wrote. Then I checked into all the publishing routes and discovered that most anyone can self-publish a book, and there are countless companies out there who are willing to publish anything if you pay them enough money. But, self-publishing doesn’t offer much when it comes to marketing, especially when it comes to getting your book noticed by well-known book sellers.
I didn’t have an extra $10,000 laying around to spend on a self-publisher who would never try to sell my book either. I knew I did not want to go this route. However, I knew that the odds of being published by a traditional publisher were slim to none! And, I told God that I just didn’t have enough time because I travel and speak, etc., etc. I pointed out all these things to God— repeatedly.
But, still, God didn’t relent! So, what did I do next? I entered what I like to call the bargaining stage. I just knew this would work! I decided to tell God I would write the book if… Then I tried to drag out the most impossible obstacles thinking our God—the God of the entire universe—would give up and say, “No child, that’s too hard!”
So I said, “God if You will send me a professional editor and a literary agent that really knows what he/she is doing, AND if You will make sure that my book is accepted by a traditional publisher, AND if I have to pay little or no money out of pocket; then I’ll write the book!" That should do it, I thought. Surely now God would stop bugging me about a book.
About two weeks later, I got a Facebook message from a very distinguished, published author of several well-known books—L. Edward Hazelbaker. He asked me if I had ever considered writing a book. I looked toward Heaven and said, “God, are You kidding me?” Needless to say God was already putting the pieces into place. L. Edward Hazelbaker became my editor and literary agent and was unquestionably sent by God to make this work successful. God always sends the best! God also sent the traditional publisher I had prayed for, and my book was officially released on Feb. 1st.
However, the writing process was arduous, and many times I wanted to give up. I wanted things to happen fast. I didn’t want to wait. I became impatient, and I thought this should happen super quick because God wanted me to write this book! And, to be completely honest, at one point I just gave up. I started doubting myself. I doubted the worth of my message. I doubted that the book would ever be published, and I decided to put it aside and just focus on my ministry.
But, what if the thing God has asked us to do, is the ministry He wants us to focus on? I’ll tell you what happens. Everything around us comes to a screeching halt, or at least that was my experience. I stopped getting calls to come and speak. I had nothing on my calendar for at least six months! The other ministries I was actively involved in seemed to dry up and quit producing fruit. I was devastated.
I poured my heart out to God and asked Him why this was happening. He clearly whispered into my Spirit, “As soon as you finish writing the book I asked you to write, I will re-open the doors that have been closed. Stop running, and write!” As bad as I hated to admit it, I knew that He was doing this to make me focus on the one thing He had called me to do in that moment. And so, I started to write again.
I was so sick of waiting, but God was using that very thing—the waiting—to help me understand that we learn valuable lessons in the waiting process. One of the chapters in the book actually deals with the topic of waiting. If I hadn’t gone through that tough waiting period, I wouldn’t have learned what God wanted to teach me in that season. And, very likely, that chapter wouldn’t have been included in the book.
I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to hold that first copy of “Beauty From Ashes: My Story of Grace” in my hands! I still catch my breath when it pops up in an advertisement from Christian Book online. I almost have to pinch myself. I’m continually humbled and amazed by the people who message me to tell me how the book has changed their lives, or inspired them—especially the chapter about waiting. It thrills my soul! And, you know what? As soon as I finished writing the book, those doors started opening again—even more doors than before!
When I think back to how I tried to bargain with God, and I tried to get out of doing what He asked me to do all because I thought I couldn’t do it; I am so grateful that He didn’t give up on me. Has God asked you to do something that you think would be impossible for you? Have you been trying to bargain your way out of it? I have found that there are no obstacles too big for our God. Nothing is impossible for Him, and He will send you the people, equipment, and empowerment to do what He has asked you to do. Stop bargaining, and do it.