Do you feel like you’re fighting a battle in your writing, publishing or marketing of your book? How do you handle the trials that come your way?
I want to encourage you today with the story of Hezekiah and how he persevered and won his battle. I hope this encourages you to never stop and continue to do all God has gifted you to do.
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The Importance of Perseverance
Writers, what happens when you come up against obstacles? Do you press through? Give up or get discouraged?
In this training, I’m going to talk about perseverance and why it is important.
There will be moments in your journey where you’ll want to give up or when it gets hard or you hit obstacles. You will have enemies like voices of people saying, “Why are you doing this?” You get bad reviews, hear criticism from others, or your own stinkin’ thinking’ “What do you do at that moment?
God’s Time versus Our Time
One of my favorite verses for my business and on the topic of perseverance is Galatians 6:9.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time” It means in God’s time, not our own time. “At the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
I recently shared my own story in a podcast titled Did You Give Up Too Soon. You can go back and listen to that.
But I didn’t tell you in that podcast was when I had my first failure for my art business. I had set up an online classroom, paid money for resources and didn’t even make back my initial investment.
I didn’t know the big picture or see what was coming. That is just less than a year later, I would use that same system I had set up.
God had led me to set all these things up and have this in place. So I could create courses to help artists build a business.
I have courses now called Etsy Entrepreneur, Etsy Shop Makeover, and I have a series of at least 5 other courses in the work.
It’s crazy! People are getting results. They’re starting their Etsy shops. They’re selling things, and it’s amazing what God is doing. I’ve earned thousands of dollars from these courses.
But I couldn’t see that when I had my first failure. In my entrepreneurial mind, I had failed. I didn’t even earn back the money I had spent setting it up. Not knowing what was ahead. It was simply the foundation. It was setting all these things up for what was to come.
Sometimes when we’re in a writing situation, a business, marketing, or have a book launch, and it doesn’t go well as we think, we don’t see the big picture yet. It’s like a puzzle piece. We have one piece of the puzzle and God has the box top. Right?
God sees the full picture.
I’ve been reading through the New Living Translation One-Year Bible. And today, I wanted to talk about King Hezekiah. He was an amazing king.
There were a few great kings. King David is the most famous of all and amazing. But King Hezekiah was pretty awesome. I wanted to share a little bit about him.
In 2 Chronicles 29:2-3, “In the first month, he reopened the doors of the temple. He repaired them and then called Israel to return to the Lord.”
In 2 Chronicles 30:6, He began removing pagan altars and shrines, and it says, “He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight.” Hezekiah was cleaning the house from the beginning. He was like, “We are going to put our eyes back on the Lord. We’re going to put our trust back in Him.”
How to Seek God Wholeheartedly
In 2 Chronicles 31:21 is something I love and find interesting. I think this is a great thing for all of us, as writers, authors, and business owners. This is about Hezekiah.
“In all that he did in the service of the Temple of God and in his efforts to follow God’s laws and commands, Hezekiah sought his God wholeheartedly.” He sought his God wholeheartedly, and this is what I love. It says, “As a result, he was very successful.”
His success was not based upon his efforts or on what he did. Not because of his a genius or an amazing writer. Neither on his marketing or business plan. His success was based and a direct result of seeking his God wholeheartedly.
Can I get an Amen?
As I’m reading back through the Old Testament, the kings had success because they put God as their provider. They put their trust in God. They sought him wholeheartedly. As a result, they were successful. It is clear, cause and effect.
Are you seeking God wholeheartedly today?
Work in Progress
The Assyrians began to come against Israel, warring and threatening them and wanting to take over Judah. It says in 2 Chronicles 32:5 “Hezekiah worked hard at repairing all the broken sections of the wall, erecting towers, and constructing a second wall outside the first.”
Once he heard that these threats were coming, he started to go to work repairing the wall.
Now, this is kind of a picture, do you have some vulnerable places in your wall? Emotionally, spiritually, and relationally? Are there places that as you move forward in this calling that God has for you to write, publish, and impact lives beyond what you can even think or imagine? Is there some repairing that needs to be done?
I know I’ve needed to go through some deep healing of some stuff in my past. I talked about it in my book Broken Crayons Still Color, and it continues. There are always things. We are a work in progress.
Be Strong and Courageous
Verse 6, “Then Hezekiah encouraged them,” I love it because Hezekiah is an encourager. I feel like God has given me that gift of an encourager as well.
It says, “He encouraged them by saying: ‘Be strong and courageous!'” I love that phrase.
God said that to Joshua when they were getting ready to enter the promised land. I think depending on the translation it’s 10-12 times throughout the Bible [2 Chronicles 32:7] “Be strong and courageous! Don’t be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria or his mighty army, for there is a power far greater on our side!”
He knew that it wasn’t up to him! It wasn’t up to his strategies or resources. There was a power far greater on their side that was going to help them to have victory.
There is a power far greater on your side, writers. A power that is far greater than your resources, creativity, outline, and marketing plan. We simply need to seek Him, right?
He says, “He may have a great army,” talking about the Assyrian army, “But they are merely men. We have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!”
Faith and Trust in the Lord
In a previous podcast, I talked about Jehoshaphat. I wonder if Hezekiah knew the stories of Jehoshaphat and King David. How God fought for them and all the stories throughout. Does he know about that? Or he had such faith and trust in the Lord? Because of his relationship with him, Hezekiah took the stand. But his enemies came and they began to taunt and threaten him.
We have those enemies too that threaten, taunt, come against us. It could be people, family or friends that leave comments and reviews. It could be our own thoughts or lies of the enemy.
The letter of the king of Assyria sends to Hezekiah and says to the people, [2 Chronicles 32:15] “Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you! Don’t let him fool you like this! I say it again—no God of any nation or kingdom has ever yet been able to rescue his people from me or my ancestors.” Just taunting them and threatening them.
[2 Chronicles 32:16] “mocked the Lord God…heaping insult upon insult.”
So, what do you do when you’re in that situation? When your enemies and obstacles are coming up against you? It says, [2 Chronicles 32:20] “Then King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz cried out in prayer to God in heaven.” Again, there’s a theme. The same thing with Jehoshaphat, he cried out to the Lord in prayer.
It does look impossible. This does hurt. Sometimes people’s words hurt. Yes, this is hard! Nor, I don’t know what’s going to happen.
When you’re writing and publishing a book, many times there’s a lot of unknowns and going into that. Not knowing how it’s going to turn out. What’s going to happen. What’s the result and all of these things. It says they, “cried out in prayer to God in heaven.”
Cry out to the Lord
I find it interesting that it says, “cried out.”
Have you ever cried out to God in prayer? In a loud voice crying out or with literal tears? I know I have.
It says, they cried out to the Lord in prayer. I can almost hear them yelling, screaming and crying out. Again, cause and effect. Prayer seeking God, this was the effect.
[2 Chronicles 32:21] “And the Lord sent an angel who destroyed the Assyrian army with all its commanders and officers.” Done, end of the story, one sentence. It all took one angel. I don’t think I saw that before until I read it again.
I’m like, “it doesn’t say an army of angels, it says the Lord sent an angel.” One angel and it completely wiped out this Assyrian army that had been conquering nation after nation.
God does it differently every single time. His approach is different for every single nation. What we can know is His character. He responds to trust. He responds to prayer.
This whole topic of perseverance is when enemies come, taunting or saying things to you or when obstacles are there, what will be your response? Are you going to press through? Or are you going to give up?
There is wisdom in listening to the Lord. Sometimes we are to surrender. We are to let go.
But many times, we’re to keep moving forward. It doesn’t mean we have to figure it out in our own strength. Nor we have to come up with it. We have to do it. Pull ourselves up with our bootstraps. It means crying out to the Lord. Coming to Him for His resources and His power. He can wipe out our enemies in one sentence, with one angel.
Put your Trust in Him
[2 Chronicles 32:22] “That is how the Lord rescued Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem from King Sennacherib of Assyria and from all the others who threatened them. So, there was peace throughout the land.”
Peace, it’s such a gift, isn’t it? And we can have that gift of peace from the Lord.
I want to ask you today and encourage you to do some journaling.
Write what enemy is threatening and taunting you today with writing, marketing, or publishing your book.
What is that big enemy right now? It could be something like perfectionism, someone has said to you or fear. So many different things. Try to be as specific as possible. Like when you say fear, fear of what?
Then, do you truly believe there is a power far greater on your side? Do you believe you have access to that power?
I just want you to take a moment to seek the Lord wholeheartedly as Hezekiah did. It says that when he sought the Lord wholeheartedly, it brought him success.
Put your trust in Him and not your own abilities, resources, or other people. We can be strong and courageous when our focus is on God’s power, and not our own.
Never Give Up
I was recently talking to a writer. He was so discouraged and depressed.
I encouraged him not to look at their own strength and not to give up. But to look up, fix your gaze on God and His power.
It’s so easy to focus on ourselves, right?
It’s so easy to see. Like what I did with my art business. In my mind, I see what I could see in that limited amount of time. I was looking at my own abilities, my own resources, the numbers.
It’s easy to look at all those things instead of fixing our eyes on Jesus. Fixing our eyes on God. The power that’s greater than ours. His strategy is typically different from us. We can ask and cry out to Him for help.
So, I want you to take a moment to journal about this. See what God brings to your mind. And I want to encourage you today with this quote, “Never give up!” Right?
If this is what God’s called you and has given you to do, He will provide what you need in getting across that finish line.
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Pamella Bowen says
Thanks for this, Shelley. Yes, you have the gift of encouragement. It’s worth being in your mentoring group just for that! Keep on encouraging, girl!
Shelley Hitz says
You’re very welcome Pamella!!
Sally Poyzer says
Some great encouragement, Shelley!
Shelley Hitz says
I’m glad it encouraged you Sally!
Elizabeth Meson says
I need to wholeheartedly get into my writing!
Shelley Hitz says
I’m cheering you on Elizabeth!!