I was talking to my mom recently and she said something that surprised me.

She said that you can tell when God is testing you versus punishing you based on your own behavior.

She said during a trial, you are behaving correctly, within God’s parameters, you’re not doing anything wrong but you’re still not getting the results you might want. That’s a trial.

And a punishment comes I guess, when you’re doing something very wrong.

I heard elsewhere that when that kind of thing happens, it means that God wants you to pray more, call on Him more. He wants you to connect with Him more.

I often find inspiration from the people around me.

I know people who patiently wait, and wait, and wait for something they really want.

They never stop asking God for it.

They keep asking, and even when they don’t receive it, they don’t get fed up and think OK, forget it then! No, they just keep on praying and doing what’s right, and keep on asking with hope. And eventually, long after the time line they had in mind passes, they do receive what they wanted.

Recently I received a rejection on a project I had high hopes for.

It happens.

A lot.

And I felt like saying, “Okay God. Doesn’t mean I’m going to stop. I’ll keep on keeping on.”

It really helped that I had other projects I was also invested in.

And it meant that I needed to send this project out to other publishers. Other places.

And perhaps I need to resist second guessing myself on whether it’s really that good.

And maintain my belief that yes, it is.

They just couldn’t see it.

I was wondering if I would cry.

Sometimes that helps.

I have found that pretending to be stoic when something really upsets you can be a useless exercise. It will make the hurt linger.

In the past, when something really awful happened, I’d often give myself a time to cry, and be sad. Let the disappointment and pain of rejection or whatever negative feeling I was having, flow over me, don’t hold back. Let the tears flow and pretty soon I found that they stopped on their own.

I’d tell myself go ahead, cry some more, but then, funnily enough, I couldn’t. The tears were gone. The sadness was subsiding.

I was okay.

I still didn’t like what had happened, but it wasn’t the end of the world.

And then I’d pick myself up and continue.

This time, the tears wouldn’t even come. I just kind of shrugged and got back to work.

Not sure what to make of that.

I also gave myself permission to ask for what I really want. I want to be world famous. I want my work to influence hearts and minds towards turning to their Lord and Creator or whatever they might call Him.

I want my books and stories to encourage all people to be their best selves, and do good towards each other.

And yeah, I want to make a lot of money while doing that!

What’s wrong with money??? Nothing!

And with it you can do a LOT of good!

So after talking to my mom, I realized this was a trial. I’m doing everything I can that’s right, and I’m still not getting the result I want. So this is a test, a trial, and I’ll just keep on.

Even then, I’m fortunate.

It’s not a punishment!

And I’m still doing fairly well in a field that’s getting increasingly difficult!