|Painting by Steve Bjorkman
Nearly six years ago, I left my publishing position as an editorial director to begin a freelance career. I didn't know exactly what to expect. God had clearly told me I would have the work I needed--but exactly what that meant, I didn't know.
I thought it might mean being sought after and kept busy as a book editor. I thought it might mean publishing some of my own work for a change. I thought it might mean a reasonably nice-looking bank account balance.
And it has meant those things. Part of the time.
The rest of the time, I've wondered and fretted and felt kind of alone out here. But even during those times, I still had the work I needed ... exactly what I could handle with the other important things going on in my life.
Like the birth of our first grandson.
Like a trip to Bosnia where our daughter and her husband (and that new baby!) were living and working.
Like our second daughter's wedding.
Like my mom's illness and passing.
Like my husband's knee replacement surgery plus complications.
And other ups and downs.
Now, some women I know could handle all these things and a heavy workload too. But I know myself. I need spaces in the day, in the week, in the year. This doesn't mean I don't sometimes wish for the visibility, influence, and financial successes my more type-A sisters enjoy. It just means I know that lifestyle's not for me.
In addition, I know some writers and others look at me and find me quite accomplished. I've written and published four books these past six years, with two more due out in the months to come. I've edited books for some well-known publishers and worked with some wonderful authors. I've not gotten rich, but I've paid my bills. I started this blog. I want to write and publish more; I think maybe I can. (I'm also a very good editor ... should you happen to need one.)
My heavenly Father was right. He has made sure I've had exactly the work I needed. Even if it was less than I thought it would be. Even if to someone else it has seemed like a lot.
This week I discovered two wonderful blog posts about this what's-enough? conundrum. The first came from a writer I've been following on Twitter, Anita Mathias. On Monday this week in When Your Blog Is Not on a Blogroll, she wrote about the torment of more versus God's kind of more. Anyone wanting publishing success can identify with the pressure to be and do more that Anita identifies.
Then, also on Anita's blog, I found this guest post by Jennie Bishop, author of The Princess and the Kiss and the founder of PurityWorks, a vocalist, and the good friend of a good friend. Anita's in England and Jennie's in Florida, but yes, she's been following Anita too. Jennie wrote about the peace of learning to "lay out"--to let someone else take the spotlight at times.
Yesterday when the very accomplished illustrator Steve Bjorkman posted his amazing painting on Facebook, he wrote this caption: "I can only do the part given to me to do. I cannot bear the weight of whether or not it changes the world."
Steve added, "I am only saying that I can only do what I am called to do ... and not feel that I must produce the results I want."
And that just summed it all up for me! Simple trust ... and perfect peace.
I don't know what it is you want to accomplish. I don't know what it is you feel pressed to do. But I know that how the world says you must do it probably isn't the way at all.
"You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you."
What do you think?
What do you feel pressed about? How can you trust him today?
Image, Steve Bjorkman