I'm optimistic but guarded these days. With The Persistent Road now in the hands of readers who will issue their own verdicts, I turn my attention to the future. But what expectations do I carry with me? For they will have a large bearing on my mental and emotional wellbeing as I work at my craft.
I've coached enough disillusioned people online that I know unrealistic expectations can lead to crushing disappointment. Implicit in those expectations can be a sense of entitlement.
Last weekend, I chatted with an individual who was disappointed with God. It was as if He owed her something. When I tried to tactfully explain that He gave His all for her, even to the point of death on a cross, she became defensive and hid behind her feelings.
I invited her to end the chat if she thought someone else could help her better, which eventually she did. I was left conflicted. I know life is difficult and everyone needs an understanding ear. But I also realize that if we allow ourselves to create our own world, it can lead to bitter disappointment. The real world functions within its own specifications, often different than ours.
God doesn't owe us anything. On the contrary, we owe Him. It takes humility to embrace that truth. But when people do, disappointment will no longer grip them.
Wrong motives can also contribute to disappointment. Because if we're in it for us and not what God wants, we're setting ourselves up for a fall.
I can't presume to know what God is going to do with The Persistent Road. But I find freedom in leaving it in His hands. I've been at this long enough to know how hard it is to gain market traction for a new book. Yet I'm still dying to know how it's going to do. Will people like it? Will it sell well? Will I hear from readers whose lives it impacted? I may never see or know what God intends for my novel until I get to the other side. In the meantime, I'll take satisfaction from having followed His lead on this project the best way I knew how.