If you’re a novice when you get into the writing business (or any other kind for that matter), one mistake you may make is, to believe in overnight success. Overnight success of a book, movie or song, is a very rare phenomenon. In fact, I, personally, believe there’s no such thing. Because every “overnight” success has a story behind it. Much work had already been done in the past leading up that successful front that you now see. Nothing good and lasting appears out of thin air. It has to be in the works for a while, and when it has fully matured, it is then able to stand on its feet.
That being said, it’s starkly unbelievable the number of people that start out to achieve a dream, and then abandon it along the way because they’re not aware that the road to success is hard work. TV has made people believe in delusions that aren’t true or realistic. So when a person faces odds and adversity, they believe the forces working against them are peculiar to them and them alone, making them cynical and/or ill-prepared. This has led people to not finish well, or to not finish at all.
How then do you manage the feat of finishing well in a world where it seems nothing is working for you?
While I write this from a Christian point of view, the principles apply even in the secular world:
1.) Be sober, calm, and keep your head in all situations.
“But you, keep your head in all situations …” —2 Tim. 4:5a
“1When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, will be with you. 2When you’re about to go into the battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army. 3He shall say: ‘Hear, O Israel, today you’re going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them. 4For the Lord your God is the one who goes before you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.’ 5The officers shall say to the army…” —Deut. 20:1-5a
Before you started out, you had a passion and heart desire that you believed in, and there are principles upon which you based these beliefs. It might be that you heard a Word or a call from God, or a knowing in your heart that this is who God created you to be. Everything that has happened in your life, including past sermons and Scripture that initially called your attention, have led up to the belief that this is who you are. But somewhere along the line, battles came that tested your faith, and now you question whether God’s actually on your side, or if He even called you at all. This is the moment to step back from all the noise so that you can be sober and still (calm) before God. Because it’s only in the stillness that you can hear Jesus speak nourishment back to your soul, which will keep you going. Every other person/thing, including the veterans with similar visions as you, come second. This is important so that you will remain stable in the Word that first led you to believe. Otherwise, you’ll run in circles of confusion, and may eventually give up when you shouldn’t.
2.) Develop Endurance
“…Endure hardship…” —2 Tim. 4: 5b
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” —Hebrews 11:6
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” —Jer. 29:11
It is NEVER possible to see the whole picture of what God is doing, unless you persevere to the end. Only then can you in retrospect fully understand. This is why it’s impossible to please God without faith. You MUST trust His promise that says He has a good future planned for you with an expected end. This faith is what helps you run a steady course on the path God has placed you on. Life will always be larger than you can ever imagine it to be, and God’s plans are bigger than just you. It’s for this reason that His ways and thoughts are higher than yours and mine. You must understand that between your “beginning” and “end,” the in-between requires steadfastness if your journey will be fulfilling and complete, because you can never see the whole picture looking at it in the middle.
3.) Do the Work…
“…Discharge all duties of your ministry.” —2 Tim. 4:5d
… And do it well! Be the best that you can be as opposed to being the best that there is. You cheat yourself when you settle for the latter because, all you’ll probably accomplish is break a record that has been set. Consider the possibility that the record you’re aiming to break may possibly be your starting or middle point if you refuse to make the record your standard bar. The best that you can be may be able to far surpass what has already been accomplished in such a way that it may change the world forever. Also, whatever it is that you do, do it well and be it on all seven days of the week. It’s funny that some Christians actually live their lives as though they believe that God will only demand an account of their Sunday church attendance/activities, and so they ignore being diligent where God has placed them from Monday through Saturday. This simply isn’t true. Scripture says God will require an account of your ENTIRE life.
4.) Invest In People.
“For I am already being poured out like a drink offering…” —2 Tim.4:6a
Myles Monroe spoke expressly in one of his books about the beauty and reward of dying empty. It’s a beautiful thing to allow yourself to be poured out for the edification of other people. This is the only way to be truly fulfilled. You haven’t lived until your life has impacted the world around you. As the saying goes, “A chair isn’t made to sit in itself, nor a house built to live in itself.” The purpose of a chair is only fulfilled when a person sits in it, and so it is with a house when a person lives in it. In order words, nothing in this world is made to benefit itself. True satisfaction and fulfillment enter a person’s life when they serve others and invest positively in people and community.
5.) Fight the Good Fight of the Faith.
“12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if at some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.” —Phil. 3:12-15
“I have fought the good fight …” —2 Tim. 4:7a
This implies that there are enemies of your faith—faith, the very thing that spurred you to begin this journey in the first place. One enemy of faith is ignorance. Scripture says that the people of God perish for lack of knowledge. Staying ignorant will perish your dream and cost you the reward of your journey. Secondly, being unpersuaded to act on what you know. So now you’re no longer ignorant. But what have you done with what you know? Are you allowing fear and other factors to get in the way? For others, they’re waiting to start “big.” Very few people are opportuned to begin this way. Most people who claim any kind of success had to start with the little in their hands. Learn that you must NEVER despise the days of little beginnings. This is what will test the stuff of you. Use what you know now and do something valuable with it, and then you can grow from there. Even in Christianity, Scripture says that a “doer” of the Word is the real Christian. Not a “knower.” This applies to everything. Are you doing what you should, or remaining unpersuaded to act? Thirdly, unforgiveness. People are grossly unaware of how unforgiveness has stood in the way of their moving forward. Not only is this a spiritual barrier (because Jesus says that unless you forgive, you can’t move mountains Mark 11:22-25), emotionally and mentally, you remain stuck as well. There will be a point in your life which you can’t get past, because you haven’t let go of the past, so you actually can’t step forward into a brighter and happier future. You don’t believe me? Ask someone who’s kept a grudge for years. There’s always something that grudge has stopped them from achieving—marital success, healthy relationships etc. You must forget the past to press on forward (Phil. 3:12-15).
6.) Finish the Race.
“I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race …” —2 Tim. 4:7a&b
Actually, finish EACH race well. It’s imperative that you’re able to determine where each race ends so that you don’t give up before the end, or go past the point that you should. When you study the life of Jesus, you’ll realize He always knew when to walk away, leaving the Pharisees looking foolish. He never went past a point that He shouldn’t. Scripture called Him wise for this. Also, in the garden of Gethsemane, where He prayed to God, if he’d given up then, he’d have given up too soon. The victory of the race started when he let Himself be arrested, tried, and crucified. When He died and resurrected, the victory of the race was complete. This is why it’s important to understand where the end is. That you’re going through pain doesn’t mean your dream/vision is suffering loss. It could be the very thing that will lead to your victory. This was also the case with Joseph, Job, Naomi, Ruth, and David. Remember what God says, “All things work together for the good of those who love God.” You MUST remember this, or you’ll be discouraged and give up before the race is over.
7.) Keep the Faith.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” —2 Tim. 4:7
Whatever the end of the race looks like, please keep the faith. No matter what. Even when it’s gloomy. Examine Apostle Paul’s story. He was eventually executed. But even while facing execution, he still believed he’d finished well because he knew God would take his work beyond his life on earth. This was the lesson he was trying to pass across to Timothy. What about the great artist, Da Vinci? Did he know his work would be a masterpiece and celebrated years after he was gone? He probably never got much for his work during his lifetime. But today, his art is a standard in the world of painting. This is the same with Michelangelo. The underlying lesson? Even in the face of adversity at the end of your race, do NOT give up your faith because your dream/vision can possibly outlive you.
About this Contributor
Miranda A. Uyeh is the founder and editor of To Be A Person (TBAP), the author of Christian Romance/Suspense fiction, To Die Once: Child of Grace #1, a Mogul Global Ambassador, and a copywriter. She was a one-time shortlisted judge for the Inspy Awards, in 2014, in the Contemporary Romance & Romance/Suspense Category. In 2016, Miranda was honored to be one of 500 book reviewers across the world invited to help launch Tim Tebow’s book, Shaken.
When Miranda isn’t reviewing books/entertainment or hosting interviews on TBAP, she’s writing, reading for fun or relaxing with a good movie! When she gets bored with the world, she talks to God about it!
The article, How To Fish Well, first appeared on To Be A Person (TBAP).