I’m a writer. I freelance and I’m working on a book series. So, I hear the word no a lot. Like, a lot. I even have a folder in my email full of nos from book agents, job opportunities and pitches to editors. It seems cryptic doesn’t it? Who wants to relive their failures over and over again? I don’t. But it does fuel me. It’s a reminder of where I’ve come from and where I’m headed.
Last week marked three months of unemployment. It doesn’t even feel like it’s been that long. I didn’t realize it until a coworker posted about it on Facebook. Then this sinking feeling set in. Like, damn. Here I am, again.
If nothing else, the last two years have tested my faith and brought me closer to God in ways that would not have happened otherwise. When you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom, like no one understands what you’re going through or even cares, God does. He’s always there, He’s always listening.
This time around when I’ve been at my worst, I’ve cried out to Him. “Lord, what are you doing?” or “What am I supposed to learn from this?” or my favorite as of late “What is your plan? Show me your plan, order my steps.”
Over the last three months there have been some opportunities that felt perfect. Ones that I knew I was going to get, but then I didn’t get them. As I write this, I have about 20 days to figure it out. Twenty days until my lease is up and I have to move back home.
Last week, I read a three-day devotional titled When God Says No. It was just what I needed. Growing up in church, I was always taught that God doesn’t say no. He either says yes, or, I have something better. That brought me comfort. It still does. Every time I get a no, I believe it’s because God has something better planned. And if an opportunity that seems so perfect wasn’t right for me, that means He’s really got something amazing up His sleeve. He even says so in Ephesians 3:20:
“God has more in store for you than you can even imagine.”
And He does have something amazing planned. For me, for my family, even for you reader. Even if you don’t believe in Him or haven’t opened your Bible in weeks, months, years, He is still working on your behalf. What’s amazing about God is that He doesn’t hold grudges. He doesn’t hold our failures against us. He continues to work on our behalf.
Growing up, when my dad told me to do something I didn’t want to I’d ask why. His response would almost always be “it builds character.” I don’t even think I knew what he meant at the time, but I knew it was a battle I couldn’t win. So, I’d complete whatever task was asked of me and move on.
Over the last few months I’ve asked my heavenly Father why I have to go down this path. Why whatever He’s trying to teach me had to happen this way. As I read day one of the aforementioned devotion, I got an answer:
There’s that word again. Character.
In my short 24 years of life, every no, every denial that felt like the end has always really just been the beginning of something great. It’s hard to see when the sky is so dark and the fog so thick that you can barely see to take the next step. But that’s what faith is.
I’m writing this knowing that I have no idea what happens next. I don’t know what God has in store for me. But I know it’s great. This waiting, this heartache, is preparing me for something better.
I want to close with a short story. On Saturday, as I wrapped up my workout a song from my god-fathers wedding playlist came on shuffle. It immediately brought me to tears. The song has a message of encouragement, of holding on and pressing forward even when you want to give up. It says that there is a master plan in motion being set by our creator. And what He has for you friend, is really going to blow your mind.
So, if your find yourself in a slow season. A time of depression, unhappiness or failure. It’s okay. Know that you’re not alone. Know that you are valid in how you feel. But please, keep going. I promise you, the best is yet to come.
There is power in prayer. If you’d like me, or anyone who may be reading this to pray for you, leave a note in the comments and we will lift you up in prayer. If you don’t want it to be public, you can email me, or DM me on Twitter. You’ve got this!