Do you ever feel out there on a limb all by yourself—personally, creatively, professionally, spiritually—it can happen in all sorts of ways, even to those of us who are blessed with a loving support system, which I definitely am.
There’s a difference between loneliness and what I call “alone-ness.” I’m lonely when I’m away from Dave or the rest of my family, but I know I’m not really alone. As soon as I get back home, everything will be fine. But “alone-ness” is that feeling that you truly are solitary in some sort of way.
I’ve been feeling that way about my fiction writing, which makes no sense, because everybody involved with it, from my agent-and-friend Leslie to a truly wonderful editorial and marketing team at Revell Books, couldn’t be more supportive. But still. There it was.
My cousin helped me figure it out on his way to reading the announcements at church last Sunday:) We were just chatting at the piano, and he said he thinks that God presents us with opportunities, but we have to trust Him enough to take them if we want to enjoy everything He has in store for us. When we’re doubtful, we hold back. But if we’ll just have faith that God will provide whatever we need, and take that step, amazing things can happen.
I thought about that all week. And then yesterday, I had lunch with Kelsey, Karen, Michele, and Hannah from Revell. We had never met before. And let me tell you, people of the digital age, there is STILL a big difference between emailing folks and eating barbecue with them. Kelsey chose Missing Isaac and was the editor who guided me through shaping the manuscript. Karen, Michele, and Hannah are teaching me the ins and outs of book marketing and publicity and working hard to help me.
Okay. So the alone-ness was in my head. It usually is. But that doesn’t make the hole in my heart or the pit in my stomach any less real when I'm in the throes of it. The real source of it? In my case, it’s usually fear. Why did I do this, what’s going to happen next, will this be a total disaster, where’s a pillow to cover my head with?
The cure for fear is faith. Like my cousin said, you just have to follow the path that lights up in front of you and trust that God will guide you to a good place.
There’s an old hymn that, to be honest, I never liked growing up because I didn’t think the melody was pretty. But last night, the words just popped into my head. And I found a lot of comfort in them. Maybe you will, too, the next time you find yourself in a cloud of alone-ness.
Have faith in God when your pathway is lonely.
He sees and knows all the way you have trod;
Never alone are the least of His children;
Have faith in God, have faith in God.
Have faith in God when your prayers are unanswered,
Your earnest plea He will never forget;
Wait on the Lord, trust His word and be patient,
Have faith in God. He'll answer yet.
Have faith in God in your pain and your sorrow,
His heart is touched with your grief and despair;
Cast all your cares and your burdens upon Him,
And leave them there, oh, leave them there.
Have faith in God, He's on His throne,
Have faith in God, He watches o'er His own;
He cannot fail, He must prevail,
Have faith in God, Have faith in God.
[From “Have Faith in God” by Benjamin Baylus McKinney, 1934]