This time last year I was making plans to go to a writer’s conference in the fall. I was a novice blogger and wanted to improve my skills, hoping way in the future I would be a professional writer someday.
I went to the conference with a cute little book proposal, because I knew I would get a 15-minute consult with one of the professionals there. I was hoping for some constructive critique of my writing.
Instead I got a book contract.
No big deal, only my LIFE’S DREAM right there in front of me.
My imagination went to work. I pictured my book on the store shelves. Imagined myself signing a copy over to my parents. (How proud they would be.) I even practiced the humble response I would give when people would tell me what an incredible author I was and how my book had changed their lives.
Yeah, so …
I found a literary agent, and she called to get details on the contract for me. While she did that, God whispered to my heart, I’m going to have you turn down that contract.
My agent called me back and said gently, as if to a small child she did not want to upset, I think you need to turn down this contract. You’re not quite ready for this step yet.
I said, Okay.
Now here I am, a year after the writer’s conference, with no contract, no book on the shelf, and no reason to practice humility after all.
This is because my future does not belong to me.
I was reading Jennie Allen’s book, Anything, and she says “We all have the pictures of our lives in our minds, how they ‘should be,’ how we hope they will be — how we picture them. We collect these pictures in powerful scrapbooks that exist in our heads. We plan it all out.”
This is what I had been doing. I planned exactly the route I thought my writing would take, and what God has actually done with me looks very little like what I had glued to the pages in my mind.
I am writing. That core dream remains, and I believe it is the gift God has placed inside me. But where and when and how he’ll have me write? I have no idea. It’s a new surprise every day.
Not only did God not give me a book contract, but he has put a different opportunity in front of me, something I don’t particularly want to do. It’s scary and big and … scary. A few nights ago I landed on my knees by my bed, crying to the Lord, This isn’t what I had in mind, Lord. This isn’t the direction I thought you were taking me. What are you doing with me?
He brought one phrase to my mind:
“Lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5b NIV).
Should we daydream and plan our future and lean all our hope on what we “understand” it will be?
Jennie Allen says we make “fictional scrapbooks.”
Do you have one of those scrapbooks? Have you been planning who your husband will be or how many kids you’ll have or what your house will look like?
When we come to the cross of Christ we must utter the word “Lord” in order to be saved.
That means Lord of where our feet will land.
Lord of where and when and who and how much.
Are we willing to look for and lean into God’s choices for our future?
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Ashleigh Slater, Founder & Managing Editor
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