What If My Writing Dreams Don’t Come True?

We have a special guest post on the COMPEL Training blog from Kimberly Henderson! Kimberly is a fellow writer who serves on-staff at Proverbs 31 Ministries as Lysa TerKeurst’s Content Coordinator. Today, she is sharing with us a timely message about passionately pursuing the Lord while facing disappoint or delays on our writing journey.

I’m not sure when the desire to write a book was first birthed in my heart. It’s a dream I’ve carried around for so long, I find I can’t look back and pinpoint the exact moment when the idea first took root.

What I can remember, however, is the day God used the story of Moses to do an unexpected heart check on the focus of my desires.

In Deuteronomy 31:1-8, we find Moses speaking life and encouragement over Joshua, the man chosen to lead God’s people into the Promised Land instead of Moses. Moses tells Joshua he doesn’t have to fear and reminds him to trust in God. Words that were wise and needed, for sure. But as I sat reading this passage of Scripture a few years ago, I confess my insides started to feel bristly.

Honestly? I would have struggled with Moses’ assignment. Not just the part about being an encourager in the face of my own disappointment. I would have wrestled with not getting to enter the Promised Land. While my head knows a case of disobedience on the part of Moses is what kept him from entering in (Numbers 20:7-12), my heart cries out, “But he worked so HARD. He deserves to go into the Promised Land.” Yikes. Entitlement issues, anyone?

Moses had worked hard. He had gone before hard-hearted Pharaoh time and time again. He had led a stiff-necked, complaining bunch of people for forty years. But did Moses pout, shake his fist at God, or throw in the towel when he first found out he wouldn’t be the one to officially lead the people in? No.

He still followed God. He still led for as long as God asked him to. Then he encouraged his successor.

As I read about Moses’ faithfulness and humility, I felt the Lord impress some motive-checking questions on my heart…

Kimberly, if I told you right now that the dreams you are holding onto will never come to fruition, that the things you think you want, even think you deserve, will never come your way – would you still follow Me? If I told you that you will never reap for yourself some of the things you are sowing, would you still obey Me?

I didn’t have to ask Him which dreams He was referring to. I knew He meant the ones connected to the idea of having my words tucked into the pages of a book. And while I wanted to immediately answer, “Yes, Lord. Of course I’ll be fine if those dreams don’t come true!” … I couldn’t. Because I knew my heart and flesh would struggle. Deeply.

Acknowledging this struggle demanded I take a closer look at Moses – search for clues about what kept him following and serving the Lord in the midst of a disappointment that could have shut him down.
Here is what I discovered:

1. Moses had truly experienced God.

Moses wasn’t relying on someone else’s story. He had his own burning bush, sea parting, mountaintop meeting, face glowing story that came from his daily walk with God.

Am I experiencing God for myself? Not just once in a while, but continually?

2. Moses trusted God.

If we were to read every passage there is to read about Moses, we would see that God asked Moses to do some pretty crazy things. Yet, Moses obeyed. There was obviously a deep level of trust.

Do I really and truly trust God, His plans and His love? Do I trust His timing and His ways?

3. Moses cared more about God’s presence than “arriving.”

In Exodus 33:15 we find Moses saying to God, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” If God wasn’t going, Moses wasn’t going.

What is it I want most? Am I going to try to run ahead of God to get what I want or am I pressing in to Him right where I am?

4. Moses made God’s will his goal instead of his own personal glory.

Not only would Moses not be the one to lead the people into the Promised Land, he had to purposefully encourage the next leader.

Am I encouraging others who may go farther than me? Am I sowing into other writers and cheering them on? Or is this really all about me?

5. Moses was willing to carry a vision that was about someone other than himself, thinking and acting generationally instead of selfishly.

Wow. This point really gets me.

Am I willing to sow my time and my words where I may never see the harvest this side of heaven?

These truths and questions challenge me in the best of ways. Not because I believe God is saying the desire to write a book is wrong. No. This is about the sweet and needed reminder that He wants to be our deepest desire. Our soul’s greatest pursuit.

I know how hard this can all feel. But I’m praying we know there is no destination, dream or personal desire that will ever fill us like an intimate, daily walk with Him. And the promise of His presence is far sweeter than any “promised land” our hearts may long for.

Father God, help me to be more like Moses. Following You even in the midst of disappointment. Willingly sowing into others – even when they’re doing what I long to do. Delighting in You daily instead of living with my eyes fixed on some distant destination. Today, I say “yes.” Even if my dreams are never realized, I will follow You. Amen.


Tracie Miles has been the Director of COMPEL Training at Proverbs 31 Ministries since January 2017, and has been volunteering on the speaker and writer teams for Proverbs 31 since 2007. Tracie is an author coach who works one on one with writers of all levels to help them pursue their writing dreams, and can be found at www.traciemiles.com. She is the author of seven bestselling books, including Living Unbroken, Love Life Again, Unsinkable Faith, Stress Less Living and Your Life Still Counts, and has a new book releasing July 2024 called God's Got You: Embracing New Beginnings With Courage and Confidence. She is also the founder of the national Living Unbroken Divorce Recovery Program, a 7 week study series to help women heal and recover together. Tracie has three grown children, two of whom are married, and lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. You can connect with Tracie on her website at www.traciemiles.com as well as on Facebook and Instagram.

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  1. Great words and great questions.

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I was confronted just this week with my very own quiet-boil attitude of “victim” because circumstances prevent me from living the life i envision. And if I’m the victim, then there must be a “perpetrator” or someone or something that is the obstacle to this “life” I so desperately want and believe I should have. Well, a few days ago, I was given a gift in the form of a stern word. Basically, I was told that my victim mentality equals a habit of self pity and bratty immaturity. I’ve been stomping my proverbial foot because what I WANT isn’t what HAVE. After I processed this rather rude assessment, I began to see the truth in it. I began to see that I am denying myself abundant life by my refusal to accept the blessings that I’m being offered because they’re not the blessings of my choosing.

    I believe the question posed here is at the heart of, well, everything. Will I still follow the Lord even when my “want” is not my “is?” Here is where my answer must fall: Where else could I go? You, alone, have the words of life. Amen.

    ***DISCLAIMER: there are many women (and children and men) who are truly victims and need help, comfort, and protection. They do NOT need stern words. In my case, I felt my sense of entitlement violated, and I adopted a “poor me” mindset. Please know that my intent is not to diminish the pain that is a reality for many people.

  3. This one really hit home in my heart. Especially # 3 Exodus 33:15 we find Moses saying to God, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” I remember there was a song that I use to listen to when I was just learning as a (beginner) Christian and I didn’t want to go forward in life unless He was with me. It is still the same today but sometimes I forget this is not me calling me to do what HE HAS CALLED ME TO DO. Thank you for this, and helping me to challenge myself to remember that God gets all the Glory.

  4. Thank you Tracie. This was gut-wrenching.

  5. Paula St. John: May 21, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    Thank you. I needed this reminder to refocus on Jesus.

  6. Thank you Kimberly. These words are exactly what God desired to say to me today. Nothing compares to a daily walk with Jesus! All things in his time not mine.

  7. Kelly Blackwell: May 19, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    These words so touched my heart. This is the place I long for my heart to be. This is the focus I need and desire. Thank you.

  8. Disha Moreau: May 19, 2019 at 8:11 pm

    Thank you for sharing this! God spoke to me in a deep way.

  9. Wow…this spoke to me in such a powerful way! I have struggled lately and I think my struggle has everything to do with my priorities. I’ve been putting my will ahead of His, yet I keep saying, “But God, you gave me this gift! Why shouldn’t I desire to use it?” But my focus is all wrong. Like Abraham, I must be willing to lay the promise on the altar and trust there will be a ram in the thicket. God bless you for this word.

  10. The timing of this article – wow. I needed to read this .

  11. Stephanie Hamilton: May 17, 2019 at 11:32 am

    This was so timely for me today. Thanks for listening the the Holy Spirit and sharing this with us.