When Someone Believes In You, More Than You Believe In Yourself

by | Sep 4, 2012 | Uncategorized

I scoot into the vinyl both next to my husband for an impromptu business meeting during our vacation five years ago and walk away with a job offer.  But the job isn’t the most surprising part of those moments during conversation over plates of pancakes and sausage.

It’s the way the Director of Communications considers me for a writing position, knowing my limited experience. She asks questions about my background in marketing and publishing, my love for photography, and the way I pioneer my children’s elementary school yearbook into the digital age. I had no idea then, how the fragments of my experiences would culminate into a writing life.

On gut instinct, she hires me to write features and news articles, for four years.  Don’t we all need someone to believe in us, not for what we do but for who we are?

This job, it’s an answer to weeks of prayer about contributing to our family income. And I am specific. Asking God for work during the hours my kids are in school, flexiblility to volunteer and take inevitable trips with my family. It seems like I’m expecting a bit too much.

But God, His arms stretch wider than my capacity and my limited thinking. He has a call in mind, not a job.

I spend those initial days pacing the floor with Strunk and White’s Elements of Style, underline and memorize passages in Zinsser’s On Writing Well to bridge the novice gaps. Read newspaper articles and analyze sentence structure in magazines to hone my skills. Take LaMott’s Bird by Bird advice to heart and write lots of “sh***y first drafts.”

Time is a selfish bedfellow, one that doesn’t leave room for stretching into conferences or classes on writing.

My voice shakes during the first phone interview. I take excessive notes, ask needless questions. My guinea pig, the kind  man with the radio voice, he just happens to work for my husband now.

I expect my first stories, the ones I labor to deliver for hours hunched over my keyboard, to resemble shreds of the originals after the editing process. Pray my identity trumps the inevitable rejection. And I learn something.

Sometimes you don’t realize the call on your life – that thing that makes your heart sing because God creates you to do it – until someone recognizes it in you first. And being faithful to the process that defines calling, no matter how painful, lengthy and uncertain, can be a journey of transformative grace.

A key to victory through life’s difficulties, it’s one person who believes in you more than you believe in yourself.

You can be that one person for someone.

That breakfast on vacation, it leads to a slew of writing assignments and divine appointments with people that believe in what I bleed on the page. An essay chosen from thousands as a finalist for a writing contest. Abiding friendships with people I haven’t looked in the eyes, yet.

And this twisty, uncertain road of finding my voice amidst the writing crowds, it all starts with tagging along for an impromptu incident, that was planned all along.

How about you, who does God use to lead you into calling?

This post is part of a group blogging project celebrating the release of Inciting Incidents (Moody Press), a book featuring the stories of six creatives who share honestly about surviving life’s difficulties while attempting to do great things. You can visit the “Share Your Story” section of IncitingIncidents.Org to check out posts from other synchroblog contributors, or visit the sites of the authors: Sarah Cunningham, Jeff Goins, Dave Hickman, Blaine Hogan, Tracee Persiko, Stephanie Smith, Mandy Thompson and David Wenzel. In addition, you can hear more about the project in this NPR-style interview series by Moody Radio.

Also, if you pick up the book in the first two weeks, Moody will give you a bundle of free resources, including two full-length e-books. The book is available immediately at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Christian Book.

Linking with Soli Deo GloriaGod Bumps, Unwrapping His Promises, WLWW, Walk With Him Wednesday.

Subscribe for Shelly’s stories and free resources here: https://shellymillerwriter.com/free-resources/


  1. Tanya Marlow

    I’m so glad you had someone who believed in you! And I LOvE Bird By Bird – I found it very releasing! I’ve just written my own inciting incidenta post! It’s been fun to do this synchroblog – though challenging to look back through my life and the failure therein.

    I like the encouragers, they make such a difference – thank you for being an encourager to me.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Tanya, so glad you joined in on the fun. A good prompt is so great for digging into the recesses of the memory isn’t it? So glad we can be an encouragement to one another.

  2. Nancy Franson (@nancyfranson)

    So much to love about this, Shelly, especially since I am in such awe of your mad writing skills! I assumed you came out of the womb as a gifted writer 🙂

    This line: Sometimes you don’t realize the call on your life – that thing that makes your heart sing because God creates you to do it – until someone recognizes it in you first. I’m really starting to see how important it is for us to do this for one another–be the encourager, make the connections, help someone take the next step.

    All the Way, My Savior Leads Me is one of my favorite hymns, and it kept coming to mind as I read this. Also, when am I ever going to get it through my head, or into my heart, that there is no such thing as expecting a bit too much from God?

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Oh Nancy, you are so kind. I feel quite mediocre when it comes to writing, really. And you have been one of those encouragers I’ve needed actually. I’m not sure if my head and heart will ever match up when it comes to asking and being surprised at the way He delivers. Glad I’m in good company on that one.

  3. Pam@Writing...Apples of Gold

    What a dream of a job! This encourages me to keep on keeping on that he has that willing person in my path soon for what I’m praying urgently for along these same lines, open doors. I love how God brings people to us in unexpected ways… I actually just received a tip out of the blue from someone whose influence could be a help…sent my resume off with a prayer. .

  4. Spiritual Glasses

    “Sometimes you don’t realize the call on your life – that thing that makes your heart sing because God creates you to do it – until someone recognizes it in you first.” Words I had to read a second time around while saying out loud to myself “God, I love this!”
    So grateful for spaces that link us all together new and old. Thank you for sharing your incident. It truly was beautiful. I shared one too. The incident that was and continues to be painful yet I see Gods hand in the stretching of where he has me.
    Hope to connect again in the future!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      So happy to meet you through the Inciting Incidents link. Enjoyed your story very much and I hope we connect again too.

  5. Sandra Heska King

    “I have no idea then, how the fragments of my experiences will culminate into a writing life.”

    How He leads us into our calling. Who’d guess? And I’m blessed to be an abiding friend you haven’t looked in the eyes–yet.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I’m glad you copied that sentence because I needed to re-write it. It didn’t read well. So glad to have you as an abiding friend beside this journey Sandy. Will I see you at Laity?

  6. Lynn Morrissey

    It is amazing, Shelly, how, in retrospect, we can look back with the gift of present perspective along a circuitous, twisty terrain and realize that we have, indeed, landed upon our God-ordained destiny….that all those seemingly random experiences and sometimes desperate detours have been used by Him to prod and shape us into His purpose for us–to bring us to the culminating point where we can be used by Him in a way that pleases Him most. How wonderful that He provides wise guides along the way, like your Director of Communications, to notice what we’ve packed in our bags, when perhaps we were too busy, distracted, or consumed with life to realize exactly what we had thrown in there. God so obviously has packed a pen in your bag, and an insightful lady encouraged you to pick it up. There’s no question that one doesn’t need some kind of training to use it professionally….such as a firm grip on the proper use of language, for starters. Who’s to say, though, how God will determine where, when, and how He will train each of us. God often does not take the conventional route (so we needn’t feel compelled to do so). You’ve done brilliantly with your classic S & W, and likely a host of other books on writing that you didn’t mention (because I can tell you are prolific reader, too). But the thing is, the thing no training can give you is your willingness to be used transparently of God to write the messages that *He* lays on your heart, and no one but Him has given you your writing voice, your own clarion carillon of sounds and sentences and significance that will make a joyful noise and a mighty impact for the Kingdom of God. This is His gift to you, and now, to your readers, because you have dared to heed the call! Oh thank you, dearest Shelly, for doing so!

    • lolitavalle

      Just amazing, Shelly. And Praises to the One who makes all thing beautiful.


      • Redemption's Beauty

        Amen, all things beautiful Lolita. Like your heart for Him.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Wow Lynn, I’m seeping in your words. Read them several times. What a gift to unwrap. You are such an encouragement . . .and God knew I would need that. Thank you.

      • Lynn Morrissey

        My goodness. That is how I feel about YOU!

  7. Amy L. Sullivan (@AmyLSullivan1)

    You inspire me to live better and pray for the specifics because God cares.

    God uses forever friends to lead me, and He uses people I only know online, but wish I could meet in real-life. Y-O-U!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Amy, I’m humbled, really. And what a gift it would truly be to meet you in real life. Maybe some day.

  8. Mari

    How powerful it is to have someone believe in you …especially when they aren’t related to you, lol. I am thinking as I am reading this about how I can believe “in” people and “for” people and their talents, dreams. I think I need to make more of a conscious effort to develop this.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Mari, oddly my greatest encouragers are not my family members. My father has never read anything I’ve written, or at least he hasn’t admitted to it. God has more than filled in the empty places with others and I’m thankful.

  9. simplystriving

    don’t you love how God makes something out of nothing when we we simply show up? I’m learning it’s not all about me and my capabilities, but how sensitive I can be to Him and His capabilities. . . So blessed to hear more of your writing journey, friend, as I never would have dreamed of this for myself! I’m no Shelly, but I now wonder what He can do through me to benefit my family and glorify Him at the same time…you know what–I’m going to show up.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Me too Nikki, learning its not all about me and my capabilities. I sometimes feel like I have to continually relearn the lesson as I suffer with self-doubt. But we all have a contribution, a message that is unique to the rest of the world. And I know you’ll show up and reveal His glory in it all, that’s just who you are.

  10. Monica Lee

    Really nice Post, Shelly and just what I needed today!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Aww, what an honor to have you here Monica. It makes me smile knowing this filled an empty spot today.

  11. dukeslee

    I’m really resonating with what you say here about getting a “call” not a job. I felt that way in particular when I was asked to apply for an adjunct professor position at a Christian college about 30 miles from here. That was so NOT on my radar. But within a few weeks, I was in the front of the classroom, fresh syllabus in hand. The first paycheck came, and I was like: “You mean, I get PAID to do this?” 🙂

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I think He’s constantly calling us to do things beyond what we think we can do, so we know its Him living in and through us more than our capabilities. I would love to have you as my professor.

  12. Sharon O

    Isn’t it wonderful how God just takes care of us so well… and we don’t even have to seek it, he will provide so long as we are faithful to trust him.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Yes, Sharon, I’m nodding my head with you and thanking Him.

  13. Jennifer Richardson

    i love how grace seems to wander
    into the most unlikely places
    wearing pancakes like a jaunty hat
    and grinning over how we could just NOT
    have guessed that was coming:)
    it’s a magnificent heart inside
    this shepherd of ours…thanks for helping
    me see it a bit clearer.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Clarity, its a gift. One I seek to open most days. So glad you got some here Jennifer. Grace wanders in the most unlikely places. Love your words.

  14. Lori McClure (@lorimcspeaks)

    It’s so important to have someone believe in you and to believe in others. It’s sometimes easier for me to champion others than it is to accept the championing, but we all need it. We can’t do it alone. Love this post 🙂 And thanks for all the information at the end.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I’m with you Lori. It’s easier for me to be the cheerleader for a slew of others than to believe it for myself. I’m working on changing that, one day at a time.

  15. Judy

    I love this ‘…that thing that makes your heart sing because God creates you to do it’ – how blessed we are when God makes a way for what makes our heart sing to intersect with needed income.

    My teens and I have spoken from time to time about this idea. (Like you, I feel so blessed in my work. I tutor very young students who struggle to learn to read – their successes and my joy wondrously connect.) Always, we come back to the place of appreciating that it is a very great grace if we receive work that feeds us in this way, fulfilling desire, giving meaning to our days, and providing financial compensation. Then the discussion shifts to the need for a deeper compassion and/or appreciation for those in our society for whom such a gift has not been given – those without employment, or the dear people who collect our garbage…etc. and the hope that in their lives there is time and a place, apart from paid work – a hobby perhaps, that feeds their creativity. We are left with the realization that like all gifts, it can be something hoped for, but not expected, and that the appropriate response to receiving it will always be to give thanks.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      It is a gift to do that thing that makes your heart sing and I realize that it doesn’t happen that way for everyone unfortunately. For some of us the road to get there is long and arduous and painful. I like what you expressed in your last sentence Judy, that the appropriate response in all things, expected or not, is thankfulness. Thanks for sharing your heart here. Appreciate it.

  16. joepote01e Pote

    “But God, His arms stretch wider than my capacity and my limited thinking. He has a call in mind, not a job.”

    Love this! His call truly resonates with our heart’s desire, doesn’t it?

    Thanks for sharing, Shelly!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      It does, but sometimes it takes awhile for that realization. I pray every day that I will have eyes to see, ears to hear what it is He wants me to do with each day He gives.

  17. wynnegraceappears

    Shelly, Beautiful. Thank you for encouraging me as a blogger and writer. Thank you for inspiration, answers, and kind words early in my journey. Forever grateful for the undergirding and support. From deep down, thank you.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I’m not sure I’ve done much but grateful to know you’ve been encouraged Elizabeth. Glad you’re enjoying the journey.

  18. Jennifer Dougan

    “You can be that voice for someone,” — Thanks, Shelly, for sharing your story here and for encouraging us to look for people to invest hope in.

    Hopping over here from Scribing’s link up. Have a lovely week!

    Nice to meet you,
    Jennifer Dougan

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Great to meet you Jennifer. May we always give away more than we receive.

  19. Mary Beth

    It’s funny how we can often so easily see the greatness in others but we struggle to find it in ourselves.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      So true Mary Beth. It’s something I’m not fond of in my own life.

  20. kelliwoodford

    If anyone has a call, Shelly, it’s you. And the awesome part about you is that you’re more than just raw talent, friend.
    You’re heart, too.
    You love and you pray and you take time to email personal and you encourage. You bless others with words, yes, but somehow even more (!) with a heart given over for Him to love through you.
    Leaving here, as usual, lifted.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Kelli, you brought tears to my eyes. I’m so humbled and touched by your words to me. Thank you.

  21. Jennifer Camp

    Shelly, I am so encouraged by your story, and I love knowing more about you. It is amazing and humbling to realize, in tiny bits, glimpses of what the Father has put within us, to discover — and to bless others with — all along. I would love to sit across from you in a vinyl booth, too, someday. 🙂

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Oh me too Jennifer, would love that – to sit across from you and share heart dreams. There is so much I want to share about His faithfulness but can’t write in a blog. Someday.

  22. lolitavalle

    I just have to share Lynn’s words…. about the unique “clarion carillon of sounds and significant sentences. Who else can used those brilliant words to describe the gift of God for Shelly over her own unique style of writing, but Lynn.

    Yes, Shelly, we are the unique readers God sends your messages to. Not only the significant message but the way they are delivered, which makes us thirst to come back this fountain where they flow freely, grace-fully and profoundly.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Your words lift me Lolita. Self-doubt has come with her suitcase trying to take over my spare bedroom. It’s all I can do to get her to move on.

  23. Danelle

    This post was so heart warming. Doors open exactly when they are planned to and it can take us by surprise. The best kind of surprise. I was cheering in my heart as I read about your journey so far as a writer. How awesome!
    You know you bless me. The fact that you take time to read my little blog and comment just melts my heart. You not only have the gift of writing, but the gift of encouraging others.
    Thank you Shelly. I can’t say that enough.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Danelle, YOU also have the gift of writing and encouragement and I am so privileged to share this journey with you. Love your heart, the way God is growing you from the inside to be a couragous woman in all things. You inspire me, really.

      • Danelle

        Thank you Shelly. 🙂

  24. V

    What a wonderful story! I am really challenged by what you said about being “that” person for someone else. I am always so busy trying to identify the person who believes in me that I have probably missed opportunities to believe in someone else. I am going to change my prayer life and ask God to show me who I should be believing in.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Oh wow, this really blesses me. It is so true, that it is more blessed to give than receive. And ironically, I’ve learned more about myself by giving to others. So glad you stopped by.

  25. suzannah | the smitten word

    shelly, thank you for weaving these threads. you bless and challenge me with your story:)

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Suzannah, its been great to find you. I appreciate your kindness. Thank you.

  26. Elizabeth Stewart

    What an encouraging story of God’s confirmation of your gifting. I love also your challenge to recognize and encourage the gift in others.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I wrote it to remind myself. Sometimes its good to go back and remember His faithfulness in order to move forward.

  27. Emily Wierenga

    And being faithful to the process that defines calling, no matter how painful, lengthy and uncertain, can be a journey of transformative grace.

    LOVE this girl. love all of it, but especially this, because it reminds me that our life purpose is not an end-point, but a journey. bless you.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Oh, I love your wise words Emily. Yes, we are definitely on a journey. I was thinking about that today, that as you grow older you settle in to who you are instead of who you think you should be, which is a journey, not an end point.

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