by Judith Couchman
New York, New York. As a young woman, that’s all I wanted. In New York City, I would morph into a valued editor and writer. I would create a stylish lifestyle. I would prove my talent and worthiness. I would become who I longed to be–patterned after female writers in the biographies on my bookshelves–but of course, not addicted and less screwed up.
But even with those lavish dreams, I didn’t move to New York to work and write. Although in my late twenties a reliable NYC company offered me a job, I turned it down. Not long before that offer, I’d returned to a walk with God after an eight-year spiritual defection. At that juncture, I felt an unyielding call to work in Christian publishing. Within a year, I joined a Christian publishing house, but not without bits of doubt.
Through the years I wondered about my road less taken in Christian publishing, versus the tantalizing road to New York. Did I chose the right path? What would have transpired if I’d lived in Manhattan? And through the decades, I watched a few friends, one at a time, accept jobs in the City but in a year or two, leave feeling demolished.
Eventually, I privately admitted that with my ADD and emotionality, I might have fled New York with similar wounds. It can be an unrelenting place to work. I can’t know for sure, but crumpling felt like a high probability. Christian publishing suited me better, and in that industry, God allowed me to spiritually affect lives. Although many Christians migrate to that city and meet success, I’m not certain I would have fulfilled my dreams. They were selfish and uppity. They didn’t reflect God’s way.
Gratitude for Unanswered Prayer
Yesterday, as a nation we celebrated Thanksgiving Day. Rightly so, during this holiday we focus on fulfilled desires, unexpected blessings, and answered prayers shouting God’s love. We feel thankful. At the same time, we can also express gratitude for certain unanswered dreams and prayers. The pathways God blocked with a better plan, more fashioned for you.
What if I’d married my high school sweetheart? What if I’d taken that assignment or trip? What if I’d spent large sums of money on that program? With time, we might feel grateful for “the things that didn’t work out the way we wanted them to.” We can feel relieved.
Think back on your writing and speaking ministry. Your family and personal life. What desires and prayers remained unanswered? Can you say “thanks be to God” for these blocked pathways? Tell Him. And gladly anticipate what’s next.
About Judith Couchman
Judith Couchman has traditionally published more than forty books, Bible studies, and compilations. She’s also worked as an editor, speaker, and writing coach. Learn more about her at www.judithcouchman.com.