This is the message I have been getting from Jesus regarding my writing activities recently, and maybe you will benefit from hearing it too. Your circumstances could be very different to mine, the challenges and problems you face in your writing will be different, and so your interpretation of Jesus’ encouragement will be your own. But Jesus does say “don’t give up”, and each of us has the task of interpreting that message for ourselves.
We need that encouragement because we will all have moments when we feel that our writing and marketing our writing feels like a long weary battle. What to write? Who cares enough to read it? Is it good enough? So the questions come. Writing is a hard, exposing business, but Jesus says “don’t give up”.
Sometimes we need to step back and rest, look after ourselves, and let God look after us. As a friend of mine said of the Christian life “you can retreat but you can’t quit”. Sometimes the problem is that we don’t know how to retreat, and so we carry on to exhaustion and burn out. Better that we learn from the likes of Elijah; sometimes we need to have a rest, eat our warm cake and drink our water.
If the struggle is with God himself, this puts us in a good place. Struggling with God over something puts us where we should be. We can learn from Jacob’s example and refuse to let go of God even as we contend with him over our writing. As Jesus says “don’t give up”.
Sometimes, within our writing as within our lives, something dies. Sometimes something is taken from us something precious is released, and it has cost us to lose it. We can learn from the example of Job who, at the end of all things, submitted to God, repented and found peace. He received a new blessing from God. Sometimes in our writing, it’s not the writing we need to give up but the pet project, the human ambition, the search for approval. Who knows what God might give us if we submit to him?
The writing life, like the whole of life, can be very, very hard on us. But God is for us in that calling. It will take effort and obedience to find His way for us, but that way is there! And Jesus say’s to us, “don’t give up”.
Andrew Chamberlain is a writer and creative writing mentor. He is the presenter of The Creative Writer’s Toolbelt , a podcast offering practical, accessible advice to creative writers, and author of The Creative Writer’s Toolbelt Handbook containing the best advice and insight from 100 episodes of the podcast.