Living Chosen with Clint Hall
Finding the balance between perseverance and surrender.
The best advice always sounds so simple, even obvious. When you hear it, you feel like you knew it already. At some level, you probably did, but you needed someone to remind you.
This happened to me Sunday. When I’m not writing, I often play music at a large church in Atlanta. I was hanging out in the green room and talking to other musicians about ambition, creativity, and the pursuit of goals.
I recognize that, in and of themselves, those aren’t the most spiritual pursuits. I constantly struggle with balancing my deeply ingrained ideals of working hard and persevering until I achieve success with Jesus’s extremely clear statement that I should not worry over what I will eat, drink, or wear.
The notion of “let go and let God” has never sat quite right with me. Should we relentlessly and tirelessly pursue our God-given (at least, we hope so) passions? Or should we stop trying to make things happen on our own power and instead leave room for God to work?
My friends and I discussed these questions for 20 minutes or so, not really arriving at much of an answer. I told them that a little over a year ago, I quit worrying so much about what would happen with my writing. Before that, I constantly thought about how to put myself in front of the right person at the right time with the right book proposal. I was determined to control my fate.
It was exhausting.
After many years of living that way, I was burned out. I didn’t quit writing; I quit concerning myself so much with what people thought about my writing. I stopped worrying about offers of agent representation and publishing deals. I merely did my work and let God handle the rest.
A few months later, I got a book contract.
But you can’t fake surrender to get what your heart desires. For the Christians reading this blog, I want to make that point very clear. Obviously, I had made an idol out of success and yes, I suspect that God waited until I surrendered that idol to present me with the opportunity. That doesn’t mean you can trick God into giving you what you want by pretending to let go. Trust me; I’ve tried that, too.
I’m also not saying that, once you surrender, your goals will finally present themselves to you as they did for me.
What I am saying is that once you truly let go, you will find deeper peace either way. You will find more joy and contentment in the journey.
Back to Sunday. At the end of the second church service, I spoke to another friend who has accomplished quite a lot in his field. He’s going through challenges of his own and I asked him how he finds the balance between working hard and trusting God.
“I just know that I’ve done all I can do,” he said with a shrug. “After that, it’s in God’s hands.”
It seemed so obvious when he said it, but I needed to hear the words, nonetheless.
Hearing God requires stillness and faith. For those of us who strive, there always seems to be more that we could do and, technically, that’s true. But I believe the Holy Spirit whispers to let us know when we have reached the limit of our responsibilities; when we approach that line between joyful obedience to God’s calling and the prideful attempt to wrestle control away from Him.
To hear that voice, we must listen.
So while I write this blog fully admitting that I hope for more book deals (God willing, y’all) and a career that lets me spend more time on my passions, I recognize that the real blessing is knowing He is in control and will deliver to me a fate far greater than any I could ever engineer.
For me, that’s what it means to live chosen.
Clint Hall is an author and podcaster who has been writing stories since middle school, where he spent most of his time in English class creating comic books. (Fortunately, his teacher not only allowed it; she bought every issue.)
Known for stories of hope, wonder, and adventure, Clint has been published across multiple anthologies and magazines. He has also authored numerous pieces for IBM, The Weather Company, The Masters, Adweek, and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing.
You can find him hosting panels at conventions, online at ClintHall.com, or at “The Experience: Conversations with Creatives” podcast, available on all major platforms.
Clint's debut novel, Steal Fire From The Gods, will release in November 2023 from Enclave Publishing/Oasis Family Media.