Even though as a child I was a voracious reader and often wrote stories about my Cabbage Patch Kid dolls, when it came time for me to figure out what to do with my life I said I didn’t want to be a writer.
I wanted to be out living life rather than be sequestered away writing about it.
I also said that I didn’t want to write fiction. Or long stuff, like books.
They say if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.
I’m a writer.
In November 2010, I wrote 50,000 words of a novel by participating in National Novel Writing Month. I’m currently in the process of redrafting that novel. I have ideas for at least two other novels.
So how did I get from there to here?
When I was five years old, I asked the Lord Jesus to be my Savior – I acknowledged I was a sinner, making it impossible for God to allow me into Heaven, because He is perfect and hates sin. But I knew God loved everyone so much that He sent Jesus, His only Son, to take the punishment we deserved for our sins by dying on the cross. And, the best part of all, I knew that three days later God raised Christ from the dead, making eternal life in Heaven available to everyone who trusts Him for salvation.
And so my personal relationship with Jesus Christ began, and with it my journey to becoming a writer.
Fast forward ten years.
In high school, I began to pray hard that God would show me what He wanted me to do with my life. I didn’t know what I wanted for a career, but I did know the key to success lay in accomplishing God’s plans for my life instead of my plans. He knew better than I what kind of career would suit me best, so I was determined to find out what that was. I only hoped it was something exciting. So I prayed. And waited.
During this time I was studying the Gospel of Luke. Verse 23 of chapter 9 filled me with fresh desire to know God’s will for me: “Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.'”
“Lord, what is my cross?” I prayed. Oh, how I wanted to know. I wanted to follow Christ, to do something big and exciting and wonderful with my life, like being a missionary pilot, but I still just didn’t know what His plan was for me. I was afraid that He was going to leave me behind, living my quiet humdrum life while all my friends went off and traveled the world having grand adventures. But then I realized something. It didn’t matter if I had an exciting life with a big important career or if I worked at Walmart my whole life. All that mattered was that I obeyed God and accomplished His plans for my life.
I kept asking and believing that He would answer me, and one day as I was reading Luke 9:23 and praying about my future yet again, I heard it. That Still, Small Voice in my heart:
“Your pen is your cross.”
Really, Lord? Do I get to be a writer?
I didn’t know if it was Jesus putting those words in my heart or if it was my own imagination dreaming it up, so I asked Him to confirm that He wanted me to be a writer, and in quiet but clear ways, He did.
Finally I was convinced, and somewhere between my junior and senior years of high school, I knew God wanted me to be a writer.
But my quest wasn’t over yet.
For quite a while I floundered, still asking God questions about my future- only this time my question was “What should I write?”. I wrote some things here and there, but mostly I viewed myself as a writer who didn’t write. It wasn’t until November of 2012 that I really began finding direction and getting serious about doing the work of writing.
A friend had sent me an email about an ebook by this guy named Jeff Goins, called “You Are a Writer-So Start Acting Like One”. Being a writer who didn’t write, I thought the book sounded like it was written just for me, so I downloaded it onto my kindle and started reading it. I sat, slumped on the couch reading until I had finished at least half of the book, transfixed by what I was reading.
I had just stumbled onto a whole new world.
I went to the author’s blog and read post after post. From there I discovered Michael Hyatt’s Get Published program, and I started reading his blog posts nightly. For the next two months I devoured this new information, learning how creative experts work and discovering new meanings to words like “platform” and “shipping”. It was empowering – I no longer viewed getting published as dependent upon a benevolent mentor coming along and discovering my work. It was up to me to do the hard work by God’s grace.
After a while though, my grand dreams returned and I envisioned myself becoming a bestselling author, getting a six-figure royalty check for my books, traveling around the country for speaking engagements…but then I remembered again.
It doesn’t matter if I make the New York Times bestseller list. All that matters is that I obey God and write what He wants me to write. Whether it’s His will for me to sell one million books or one hundred, if I obey His calling, I am still successful.
I’m still a long way from finding out the end of the story, but if there’s anything I’ve learned from the process so far, it’s to persistently ask God whatever you want to know. He will give you His wisdom and guidance. Just keep asking, seeking, and knocking.
Question: How did you discover God’s will for you in a certain situation? What did you learn in the process?
“Just one thing: Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Philippians 1:27a