When Someone Believes In You Before You’re Ready

by | Jun 24, 2014 | Encouragement


I scoot into the vinyl both next to H for his impromptu business meeting during our vacation seven years ago and I walk away with a job offer.  But the job isn’t the most surprising part of the 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 for who we are, not for what we bring to the table?

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, with flexability 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 happens to work for my husband years later and becomes a surrogate grandparent to my kids.

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 toward 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, writing contracts and an agent.

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.

Perhaps saying yes to interruption is where prayers are answered. And where belonging leads to belief.

This is one of my most popular posts, originally published in September 2012. I hope the message blesses you this week. As I prepare my daughter for college, I’m thinking often about calling and purpose and the way God’s plans for us are impenetrable.

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  1. Becky Keife

    Shelly, what a beautiful testimony to God’s divine plan and intimate answering of prayer in your life. This is a message of encouragement and hope that my heart definitely needed. Thank you for reposting it.

    • Shelly Miller

      Thankful knowing this encouraged you Becky. So I chose to do it at the last minute!

  2. Jamie H

    Thank you, Shelly, this is beautiful. I have always wanted this sort of thing: “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 yet, I just keeping going until that thing hits me in the head, writing or not. Yours is definitely beautiful. I will reread and let it marinate in my mind a while, this one.

    • Shelly Miller

      I think that sometimes we stumble upon our gifts that have been right in front of us all along but it takes someone else to call them out. Thanks for reading Jamie, keep writing, persevering and being faithful and you’ll see the fruit of it. This I know.

  3. Jody Ohlsen Collins

    Shelly, I had to smile while reading, ‘hey……..Deidra wrote something like this last week’ then saw it was from your archives. Nonetheless, a powerful message. Thanks for reposting.

    • Shelly Miller

      Oh yay, I didn’t think about that. She did didn’t she?

  4. Beth

    I’m co-leading an incourage group for military wives and last week we were discussing spiritual gifts and this very topic came up >>>> “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.” So true. You have a gift friend. Thank you for the encouragement always found here. Blessings.

    • Shelly Miller

      It blesses me knowing you are encouraged here Beth. I know you do the same for those military wives. Can imagine the conversations are rich.

  5. Angela

    I’m glad you re-posted this! It’s definitely relevant to me. I have
    just recently ventured into the blogging world, with the help of nudging
    from family. It’s true you need someone to believe in you. I have
    always loved writing but haven’t had much opportunity to share, and as
    God gave me the passion I’d like to be able to make use of it.

    • Shelly Miller

      Angela, I would love to have your blog address, can you post it here? Thankful you were led here and the words were an encouragement to you. Keep being brave and the more you step out, the more joy you’ll get back. Sometimes it just takes that first step into new waters. The longer you wade into the them the warmer the water gets and then you don’t want to get out!!

      • Angela

        Thank you. It’s seekingbeyond.weebly.com
        Your comment actually ties in with a Beth Moore study I’m doing, The Inheritance. The last couple weeks focused on taking hold of the purpose God has given you.

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