By Gerry Wakeland
How often have you found yourself ready to throw in the towel? You feel like God doesn’t love you because the doors you long to be opened just don’t open. You think to yourself, “Maybe this speaking and writing is really not what I’m supposed to be doing.” Take heart. You are not the first to feel this way. Nor will you be the last. We all find ourselves in this rut from time to time.
I joined the CLASS staff in 2006. Shortly afterward I attended my first Glorieta Christian Writers Conference. There I met Marilyn Larson. We hit it off right away and soon Marilyn was sharing with me her writing dreams. After that, every time I saw Marilyn I would get an update on the progress of her book.
A few years later, after the writer’s conference had moved to the Ghost Ranch, Marilyn came to me filled with excitement. A publisher had asked her to send him her manuscript. It looked like her dream was finally coming true. Weeks passed, and then months. Marilyn heard nothing. She contacted the publisher she had talked to but there was no response. Marilyn was crushed. I remember her saying, “Maybe it wasn’t meant to be.” Marilyn’s book, her story, was important to her and to God.
In the fall of 2016, I received a package. In it was a copy of Marilyn’s book. Ten years later, not published the way she expected, but her dream had come true. God was faithful.
This is but one of many stories I could share with you. Why, because I want to encourage you. You may feel like your dream will never become a reality. Perhaps life has interrupted your speaking or writing goals. This happens very often. That does not mean you should toss them aside.
Best-selling author, John Grisham did not find it simple breaking into writing. Finding a publisher for his first book, A Time to Kill, was not easy. The book was rejected by 28 publishers before Wynwood Press, an unknown publisher, agreed to give it a modest 5,000-copy printing. It was published in June 1989. Since then Grisham has gone on to pen 36 novels, selling over 250 million copies in 42 languages. He just never gave up.
Florence Chadwick was a long-distance swimmer. In 1952, Florence attempted to swim the 26 miles between Catalina Island and the California coastline. As she began, she was flanked by small boats that watched for sharks and were prepared to help her if she got hurt or grew tired. After about 15 hours a thick fog set in. Florence began to doubt her ability, and she told her mother, who was in one of the boats, that she didn’t think she could make it. She swam for another hour before asking to be pulled out, unable to see the coastline due to the fog. As she sat in the boat, she found out she had stopped swimming just one mile away from her destination. Two months later, she tried again. The same thick fog set in, but she succeeded in reaching Catalina. She said that she kept a mental image of the shoreline in her mind while she swam.
We can learn from Florence Chadwick’s example. We can keep trying and we can keep that mental image of accomplishment in our minds. Whether you picture the cover of your first book, or see yourself standing on a platform speaking to thousands of people, stay focused. Go after what you want and as English Statesman Winston Churchill reminds us, “Never, never, never give up.” You may be the next John Grisham.