Called to Faithfulness

Posted by on Sep 17, 2013 in Articles | 0 comments

“God has not called me to be successful; He has called me to be faithful.”  Mother Teresa



Failure.  That’s me.  Okay, okay.  I guess that isn’t completely accurate.  There are days when I feel like I’m failing.  I have a hard time seeing how what I’m doing is, in any way, successful.  My book is a LONG way from the bestsellers list (some days it isn’t even on the “selling” list!)  There are weeks when I will spend hours pouring over scripture and longer hours working on this space and, when I check my site stats a few days later, only one person has even viewed the post.  I’ve had speaking engagements where the listeners will clap politely, smile in my direction, and leave.  Not a single person will come to the front for prayer.  Did my words reach them?  Did they even feel the Lord’s presence?  Is this really what I’m supposed to be doing?


I left a recent book signing feeling the weight of my lack of accomplishment.  The event had drawn over 3,000 people the previous year.  Most of the vendors were crafters, Tuppeware sellers, or cosmetics reps.  There were only two authors – me and a children’s author.  Very little competition.  Out of the fifty books I’d loaded into my car that morning, forty-nine came home with me.  One book sold.  That didn’t even cover the cost of my gas, not to mention my cost for the space at the market.  Hardly what you’d call a prosperous day.


“God, I’m so ready to throw in the towel.  I’m failing, Lord.  I’m starting to doubt that I was even called to do this.  Maybe I just wanted to write so desperately that I thought this was what you wanted me to.  I want this to succeed, but around every turn, I see failure.  I don’t feel like I can do this anymore.”


I closed my eyes and shook my head as I finished loading my car.  I may not have been thrilled over some of my previous jobs, but at least I brought home a paycheck every week.  “Maybe I should check the classifieds,” I thought, opening the car door and dropping into the seat.  “’Help wanted:  only failures need apply.’  That’s the kind of job I’ll look for.”  I turned the key, pulled out of the parking lot, and had my own little pity party the whole way home.


The pity-party was still going when I woke up the next morning.  I had to haul myself out of bed (why get up if all you’re going to do all day is goof things up again, right?).  I dragged myself into the kitchen and stared out the window at the blowing wind until my coffee was ready.  Taking my steaming mug, I made my way to my office to check my messages.


“Two more book signing opportunities, a ‘maybe’ speaking engagement,” I read as I scrolled through my emails.  A part of me wanted to send an immediate “No thanks” response but something made me wait.  It was a Facebook message that made me spend some serious time considering my definition of success.


“A year ago, I heard you speak at a women’s event.  I was embarrassed to come up to you that day, but the message you shared was exactly what I needed to get me through the difficult situation I was in.  I’ve since downloaded your book to my kindle and that has also really spoken to my heart.  I just wanted you to know that you’ve really helped me.”


I leaned back in my chair, stunned.  There was much more to her message, private issues that she shared with me that I will keep to myself.  It was hard for me to imagine that what I shared could have any impact on what she was going through, but somehow it did.


“See,” the still, small voice of God spoke to my heart.  “What you’re doing matters more than you realize.  There are people you will never hear from who’ve been deeply touched by your words.  You may go weeks that not a single book sells, but the one person who comes to you will receive encouragement or truth from the time they share with you.  Stop looking at success in terms of profit, sales, recognition, or any other way the world defines success.  Just be obedient to the work you have to do and leave the rest up to me.”


We will never fully understand God’s ways.  His perfection and majesty are beyond our comprehension.  When He calls us to do His works, we often paint a picture for ourselves of the way it’s supposed to go, what the outcome should be for us, leading us to disappointment.  Instead of visualizing success in our work, we need to surrender ourselves to the Lord, work in faithfulness and leave the results to God.  God’s success story is far greater than anything we can imagine!



“Trust the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.”  Proverbs 3:5

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”  Hebrews 10:23

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