Saturday, June 13, 2009

Believing Is Seeing

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a ridiculous hockey fan, and now that my Pittsburgh Penguins have won the prized Stanley Cup, you'll have to excuse me for using this space to celebrate. I'm just a little excited.

But what makes it even more fantastic is the dramatic way the Penguins made it to the top this year, like one of those sports-themed movies with the high-powered soundtrack and Kleenex moments.

Just last year, they suffered a hugely disappointing loss in the Stanley Cup finals against the Detroit Red Wings and were relegated to watching their opponents celebrate on Pittsburgh ice. That was followed up with the off-season departure of some of their key players for other teams and the fact that many in the hockey world had written them off before the season even began.

By mid-season, it seemed the naysayers knew what they were talking about. The Penguins were several points out of playoff contention, struggling to string together even two wins in a row. Injuries had forced them to shuffle the lineup, and the forecast for failure seemed all too real.

But that all started to change with the arrival of a rookie coach - a lower leaguer who sported a completely different approach to hockey and a ton of optimism - and a few, highly undervalued players acquired from other teams. And suddenly the tide began to turn. Disappointment and doubt were replaced by increasing belief, and the team eventually found themselves not only in the playoffs but moving deeper and deeper into them on the back of solid teamwork and plenty of fight.

By the last round, they were showing incredible resilience and confidence, and they soared into the finals to be matched up with the same team they'd faced - and lost to - the year before. They quickly went down in the series 2-0, a situation that could have easily riddled them with doubt, but they never quit or counted themselves out. And finally, after gutting it out through seven games, they victoriously skated the coveted Stanley Cup around opposition ice.

Sports fan or not, if you're a writer you should be able to relate to this idea of needing to face a challenge in your life with belief and determination. It's never been a simple feat to make it past an editors desk, and in these economic times with magazines and newspapers slipping into history, it seems an almost impossible task.

But is it what you're meant to do? Because if it is, you may have to confront the idea that a long, grinding road to publication lies ahead. The likelihood is there are going to be difficult losses, seemingly insurmountable challenges, and the need for hours of training and hard work. There will likely be naysayers and times when you'll see other people triumph in front of you while you feel the heartbreak of just missing out. Sometimes it may seem like you're just wasting your time and will never be able to overcome the odds.

But belief is key to completing any task the Lord has called you to. Belief in the fact that what the Lord wills, He brings to pass. Belief that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. And belief that He never fails to honor a heart committed to His plan.

So if you're frustrated right now, spend some time in prayer openly seeking His will. And if you soundly believe writing is the path He has you on, just believe. Trust that you have the support of the Creator of the universe, and take it one day at a time. Don't try to figure out His timetable or His reasoning. Don't second guess or focus on human opinion. After all, we aren't talking about a God who is limited to human reasoning.

Our God is "able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us" (Ephesians 5:20).


Lori Stanley Roeleveld said...

So, obviously, following the ups and downs of the Patriots is good training for me to endure in writing. Congrats on the big hockey win!

Jennifer Valent said...

In my completely professional opinion... yes! :)

Hopefully you won't be in the air for their next super bowl!