Not 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 Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, 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, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14, NIV)
I reread these familiar verses recently in the wake of a painful rejection of a book project. They struck me anew with the application to a writer's life.
Even with six books to my name, I haven't obtained it. I haven't made it. And I'm far from perfect (as proved by the detailed notes in the rejection letter from the editor).
But I need to keep pressing on, to "take hold," to improve my craft, to become the writer God wants me to be.
To do that, I have to forget what is behind. I need to put past successes, my nomination for a Book of the Year award, numerous contracts and change to a full time, profressional status in the rear view mirror and move forward. I also must set aside the rejection, learn from it, but not let it stop me. I have a set a goal, a goal I believe honors God, and achieving that goal will take pressing on and straining forward.
All of my striving shares one common purpose: the prize, the ultimate gift of serving the Lord who gave everyone for me.
I needed that word from the Lord at one of those vulnerable times in my writer's life.