When I open myself to be a vessel for the divine, I relish the contentment and peace this synergy brings into my life. It’s rewarding when I follow inspiration to write or say something that helps someone get through a difficult day. Those times—when I’m on track with my life’s purpose—are when I feel most connected to humanity and the heavens.

But, as an imperfect person, I permit selfishness to creep in, leading me to doubt God’s faith in me and my abilities. I’m hoping my personal story will encourage you during your spiritual challenges.

This year, I came down with one of those low-grade bugs, one that drags on for a good two weeks. After that, the cold turned into a sinus infection. My college job is wild in January and February, so I couldn’t take sick leave and just had to get through each day.

My energy was depleted, and my book marketing and blog writing fell far behind. Every night and weekend, as I lay on the couch, nursing my pounding head and weak limbs, I felt the weight of ignoring my “second job.” I was overwhelmed. I should just give up on all this book stuff. Life would be so much easier with time to recharge and have fun.

As the days passed, I allowed this negativity to consume me. Even though I believe in what I write, the thought of dropping this responsibility tempted me.

Then the universe tried to nudge me out of my funk. A former coworker, whom I hadn’t spoke to in years, phoned. She’d read my book, saying it gave her hope and, as a result, she’d decided to give God another chance in her life.

While thrilled to hear my book had done that for her, I still couldn’t silence the nagging little voice undermining this wonderful validation. My mind taunted me: “That’s wonderful, but can’t God find someone else who can take this up? Someone who doesn’t have to work for a living?”

So, I kept entertaining the idea of straying off my spiritual path.

But the divine wasn’t going to give up on me. Two days later, I received an email from a woman who desperately missed her mom, who’d crossed over seven years prior. On the Google search page, she entered her mother’s name and “I love you.” She wrote to me that she hoped her mom would get the message and ease her loneliness by communicating to her in some way. Her mother’s name: Kathleen Berry. The top result in her search was my post on heavenly versus earthly love.

She thanked me for writing that entry, telling me it provided her with the solace she’d needed.

For the second time in less than one week, someone took the time to tell me I’d made a difference. Humbled and chastened by these two messengers of God, I silenced the negativity that pushed for an easier, yet less rewarding, life.

After all, nothing worthwhile is easy.