You’ve probably heard that question before, maybe at a conference, or perhaps you read it in a Facebook meme. We love questions like that, don’t we? They remind us of God’s incomprehensible power and faithful love. For surely, if He plants the desire within us, and if He calls us to it, the doors will begin to open fast and wide.
But what if I asked a different question? What would you do if you knew you might fail? If you knew the road would be hard and paved with setbacks? What if God was calling you to that road?
Same God. Same call. Vastly different questions. And for some, perhaps they result in vastly different answers.
But either way, the answer comes down to obedience.
When I first sensed God’s call to write, I fought Him. Oh, I dabbled in writing here and there, but my commitment, my determination? My surrender?
I wanted to see results. I wanted guarantees—if I do X for Y amount of time, Z will happen. At the time I was going to school, pursuing a teaching degree. Then a chemistry degree. I considered geology. I could never quite settle on anything, because my heart was elsewhere. My heart was meant for story, regardless of how I fought against this.
The more I resisted God’s call, the more frustration I felt. The desire to write welled up within me until it was almost unbearable. But at this point, I’d jammed my schedule so full of classes; I didn’t have the time for much else.
In a way, I felt like Jonah. He knew what God wanted him to do, but God’s call didn’t mesh with Jonah’s plans. So he ran, hard and far, even to the point of asking sailors to throw him into the ocean.
But God pursued him and found him. Until all Jonah could do was surrender, and yet, even then, things didn’t turn out like Jonah had planned.
I was afraid, should I surrender, things wouldn’t go as I’d planned either, and I’d be left, decades later, with nothing to show for my efforts but a bunch of files on my computer.
So I asked God for reassurance, for guarantees.
Instead, He pointed me to a verse:
“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels–a plentiful harvest of new lives” (NLT).
If I wanted to bear fruit, the kind that would last, I first had to die, truly die—to my will, my life-plan, my security.
God made it clear, I was to obey, without clinging to a safety net or forming a back-up plan, regardless of what lay ahead, whether or not I ever became published.
I was to obey simply because my Savior had asked me to.
That was back in 2009. I didn’t receive my first contract until 2013, and for four long years, God’s message to me was the same: I was to obey out of obedience alone.
Regardless of what lay ahead, where He directed me, or what became of my efforts.
His message to me today, three releases later, is the same.
But the surrender’s become easier, not because of my contracts, but because I realize in my very depths, He’s worth it.
And the divine intimacy I receive from walking in His will, that’s worth more than a thousand contracts.
Where are you in your writing journey? Have you just begun to answer the call? Whether you’ve just started writing or have dozens of titles to your name, this journey is tough and unpredictable, and if we’re not careful, the uncertainty of it all can paralyze us. But obedience and surrender? That frees us. How might focusing on obedience, rather than results, help you walk with determination and confidence?
Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, Christian living articles for Crosswalk.com, and devotions for Internet Café Devotions, the group blog, Faith-filled Friends, and her personal blog. She also does content editing for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas Firefly imprint, and loves working with authors who are serious about pursuing their calling. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.
Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte
Abandoned by her husband for another woman, Tammy Kuhn, an organ procurement coordinator often finds herself in tense and bitter moments. After an altercation with a doctor, she is fighting to keep her job and her sanity when one late night she encounters her old flame Nick. She walks right into his moment of facing an unthinkable tragedy. Because they both have learned to find eternal purposes in every event and encounter, it doesn’t take long to discover that their lives are intertwined but the ICU is no place for romance….or is it? Could this be where life begins again?
Intertwined, part of New Hope Publisher’s contemporary fiction line, is a great reminder of how God can turn our greatest tragedies and failures into beautiful acts of love and grace. Readers will fall in love with the realistic characters and enjoy the combination of depth, heart-felt emotion and humor that makes Jennifer’s novels so appealing. Readers will be inspired to find God in every moment and encounter in their own lives!