Uncertainties and unexpected changes really throw me.
I think that’s the hardest part of writing—the uncertainty of it all. We write book-by-book, contract-by-contract, not knowing if each story is our last.
The other night, the uncertainty of this journey really bothered me, so I told God all about it. His response?
Surrender. Trust. Focus on what I’ve asked you to do now, do it with excellence, and leave your future to Me.
As God’s words settled deep into my heart, peace flowed through me, stilling my plotting, planning thoughts. Reminding me I am not the one in control. I never have been. Plotting and planning might give me the illusion of control, but in truth, God is the one perfecting His plans for my life.
I first heard that truth at an ACFW conference. It was my first national conference, and I went into it pretty freaked out and insecure. I had no idea what to expect—there’s that need for control and predictability. Seems God’s been working on this weakness of mine for a while. Will I ever learn??
So anyway, here I was at this conference. I knew a lot of writers through ACFWs email loop, but in truth, I didn’t know anyone. And I had no idea what my weekend would look like, though I had a sense it would be emotionally exhausting. Stress and insecurity has a way of depleting one’s energy stores.
I think it was the first session, the opening night of the conference. Brandilyn Collins was the keynote. I don’t remember much of what she said, but I do remember the intense look in her eyes as she addressed the listening audience. “God will perfect that which concerns you,” she said.
When I got home, I looked that verse up. It comes from Psalm 138:8, and when I first heard it, I found it incredibly encouraging because it assured me God was always working on my behalf. In other words, it felt like assurance that His plans for me would come to pass. But as I consider this verse now, I’m stuck on the verb perfect. It reminds me of Hebrews 12:2, which says, “We do this [--this being running the race God has mapped out for us--] by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith” (NLT, insert mine).
This—thinking of Christ’s perfecting action as we pursue our calling—makes me think of James 1:2-4, which highlights the training we receive as God grows, equips, stretches, and perfects us.
Many times, that training is hard. Uncomfortable. Sometimes even incredibly painful. I’m not a huge fan of this perfecting process, but I am a fan of the results. Because of this, I’ll surrender my desire for control, following Christ in whatever direction He leads, knowing the One who loved me enough to die so I might live is the very One who’s calling me now to lay my life down—for Him and His glory.
What about you? Are you facing any uncertainties? Any chance God is using those uncertainties to train you? To perfect that which concerns you? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, because we can all encourage and learn from one another.
BIO: Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. She also writes for Crosswalk.com, Internet Café Devotions, and the group blog, Faith-filled Friends. When not writing, 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.
|New Hope Publishers, 2015|