Encouragement: A personal letter to you

Dear Single Friend,

Could you use some encouragement? Are you disappointed with your life right now?

I've suffered my share of discouragement, rejection, and being misunderstood too. It's pretty hard to take, isn't it?

But I'm here to tell you that you can come back from it. You can regain your enthusiasm for living. You want it to be so, but right now you're feeling so down that just getting up in the morning is a chore. What I'm about to tell you is true, and it's based on the real world.

People who run you down

Whenever you're trying to do something great, something out of the ordinary, you're going to run into obstacles. Maybe they'll come in the form of people who run you down and say you don't have the talent or ability to do it. Maybe it's lack of money or opportunities. Or maybe it's that little nagging voice inside yourself that keeps telling you that you just don't have what it takes.

I want to give you some encouragement today. You may think your dreams have been shattered, but it's possible that God is making some changes to them to make them better. That's what happened to me.

When I graduated from high school, I attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. I had a burning desire to be a comic book artist. I felt that I had talent for drawing, and I loved to read comics. This was back in 1969 when comics publishers Marvel and DC were at their height.

But I wasn't in art school very long before I realized I just couldn't cut it. In that line of work, no amount of trying was going to make up for talent I just didn't have.

Other students in my cartooning classes were light years ahead of me. I still remember walking back to my room after school one afternoon, standing on a bridge looking over the Chicago River. My dream was over. It hit me hard, and I just stood there and cried. I'll bet you know how that feels.

When God wants something better for you

What I didn't understand at the time was that God had something different--and much better--in mind for me. I left art school that spring, enrolled in a different college, and majored in English.

As I studied composition and literature over the next few years, my interest in writing picked up. I gradually discovered that writing was where my real talent was.

I landed a job as a reporter at my hometown newspaper. I saved up and bought an electric typewriter (state-of-the-art in those pre-computer days), and started writing a western novel. It sold quickly, and the next two did as well.

The cover of my second western, The Wolfer, is reproduced here. Over the next 30 years, I held four different writing jobs. I saved and invested my money, and was able to become a freelance writer, which eventually led me to creating www.inspiration-for-singles.com.

In the past seven years, singles from more than 190 countries have visited here. It is, without question, the most exciting, fulfilling thing I've ever done.

Along the way, I encountered my share of rejections and disapproval, as I'm sure you're going through too. I want to encourage you to not lose heart.

Maybe you need to let God "revise" your dream. Maybe you need to get a whole new dream. If you pray about it and ask him for guidance, he'll help you, the same way he helped me.

You may have to change dreams, but I'm telling you not to quit dreaming.

Don't live half a life

People who don't have a dream are only living half a life. They'd rather pick at you than encourage you. Maybe they gave up on their own dream so they don't want to see you achieve yours, either. Don't worry about people like that. Always remember that God loves you, and in the end, his is the only opinion that matters. Bring that truth up when you're feeling down, and you'll always have encouragement.

When you ask God to show you his purpose for your life, you'll understand whether your dream fits into that or whether you need to let him change it, as I did.

Don't give up. Don't quit. Take a break, take a rest, rethink things if you need to, but don't quit. Be strong and courageous, like my Dad.

Despite what you read or hear, success rarely comes overnight. It can be a long, arduous struggle, but you'll receive encouragement and help along the way if you let God have a hand in your dreams. I can tell you that perseverance and determination are so, so important.

I hope this word of encouragement helps you. You are better, stronger, and smarter than you give yourself credit for. Don't be afraid to surrender your dream to God. I did, and it turned out better than I ever could have imagined.

God's blessing on your dream,

Jack Zavada

The how-to manual on hope

Jack's new paperback book, Hope for Hurting Singles: A Christian Guide to Overcoming Life's Challenges, comes from 45 years of experience in the single life. Whew!

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