When I was in the process of writing my first book, I signed up to attend a writer’s conference, where I would meet with publishers to present my book proposal. After presenting my book idea to the first two publishers, neither requested a copy of the proposal that I had worked so hard to put together. After those two first appointments, discouragement started to weigh me down. That’s when I decided to retreat to the conference’s prayer room.
In the darkness and silence of that room, a terrific wave of insecurity washed over me. While sitting among several published authors and listening to the success stories of New York Times best sellers, the old inadequacy monster started to haunt me. Familiar voices echoed in my mind, voices that accused me of being arrogant for writing in a language that is not even my native tongue.
I was about to start hyperventilating when it happened. As clearly as the sunshine now piercing through my office window, I heard God whisper: “You will not get up from this place until you surrender your unbelief to me.”
I understood exactly what those words meant. Just a couple of days before leaving for the conference, God used a familiar passage in the book of Joshua to strengthen me for the journey ahead. As he spoke to Joshua before facing the “giants” across the Jordan, he reminded me to “be strong and courageous,” for he would be with me wherever he sent me. His message that day filled me with gratitude for his sufficiency and grace, helping me pack with confidence.
Yet, only a couple of days later, all my assurance seemed to vanish at the first closed door.
As I walked out of that prayer room, the image of an onion came to my mind. Yes, an onion, of all things! You see, I enjoy cooking and, in my opinion, the secret to great cooking is lots of herbs and flavorings. Garlic and onions are on top of my list of favorite cooking spices.
If you have ever cooked with fresh onions, you are likely to have come across one that looks beautiful on the outside, but as you sliced it open, a dark brown rotten layer is revealed. If you are careful to remove that one spoiled layer, you are able to use the rest of the onion to flavor your dish. But if you leave it as is, the rotting coating will certainly ruin your otherwise delicious dinner.
Much like with onions, flashes of unbelief reveal a small layer of faith flaw, which — if not removed promptly — can quickly and easily contaminate our dreams.
At that moment in the conference’s prayer room, I realized how easily our faith can become like a rotting onion. How many times do we allow small or big disappointments to overshadow God’s promises to us? How many times do we proclaim our belief in God for provision, healing or direction, just to find ourselves doubting him at the first obstacle? Those instances of unbelief, though so very instinctive and human, must be revealed and dealt with, if we are to receive God’s blessings and fulfill his purpose for our lives.
More than service, or anything we can do for God’s Kingdom, he wants our sacrifice of steadfast faith. The type of faith that overcomes stereotypes and comparisons, and even many closed doors. It’s the type of faith that recognizes its weaknesses, removing them one by one, by affirming and believing that there are no impossibles for God. The type of faith that is perfected, not “perfect.” That’s the type of faith that really sees dreams come true.
Patricia Holbrook is a Christian author, blogger and International speaker. Her Book Twelve Inches is on sale at Barnes & Nobles, Amazon and retailers worldwide. Visit her website www.soaringwithHim.com. Email pholbrook@soaringwithHim.com