Monday, April 15, 2013

Our Publishing Plan, or HIS?


I've often wrestled with justifying this journey to publication because I am writing for God....if I don't do it as an offering to God, then I am selfish and vain. So, by acknowledging the gift of writing is from Him, I must seek publication for Him. It seems noble, right? A noble reason for publication—to do something for God.

What if the Truth is the exact opposite? What if all the plans I've made for God...using the writing gift to become a published author and do something for Him, while noble in itself, is exactly what God doesn't want from me? What if, all my planning has stopped me from resting in God, and if I would just calm down and give Him the reigns, His plan for me is so much better?

What would this do? Would it stop my striving and force me to wait upon the Lord? Because, who in all humility would suggest that their plan for God is better than His plan for us?

In my recent Beth Moore Bible study, David: Seeking A Heart Like His, Beth brought to light this idea as we studied 2 Samuel 7. David is finally at rest with his enemies subdued, and his kingship in place. Yet, he begins to perseverate about living in a palace while the Ark of the Covenant is placed in a tent. David thinks he must build a house for God. A noble quest, right? The Lord comes to His prophet, Nathan, and declares, in Beth's paraphrase, “David, you won't build a house for Me. I'm going to build a house for you.”

What if I begin to look at my goal of publication, not as “building God's house (or kingdom)” but as God building a place for me in His kingdom? So if the publishing isn't happening yet, maybe, just maybe, He's still carving out the path?

When we truly receive this writing journey as a gift from God, there are a few things that should happen to surrender our plans and let Him take over:

We “Relinquish Control”: When we are the receiver, we don't have control over when we receive the gifts. How many times have I strived to bestow the gift of publication upon myself? How many late nights do I spend tweaking this and that, and deciding, “maybe if I enter this in ….or maybe, if I develop this scene exactly according to their guidelines...then maybe this will be my break!”
When we relinquish control of our plans to achieve the next step to publication and surrender to God's great plan for us, then we have the ability to submit to Him, walk this journey according to His commands for us, and just plain old rest in the fact that He's with us!

We REST in our Appointment: David was suppose to rest. After fifteen years of running from Saul, God's promise of the throne had finally happened. And what's more, his enemies were at bay. But David couldn't rest for long—and God set him straight. It wasn't about what David would do for God, but what God would do for the line of David. And David finally gets it when he says in 2Samuel 7:28-29:

“And now, O Lord God, You are God, and Your words are true, and You have promised this goodness to Your servant. Now therefore, let it please You to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue before You forever...”

As Christians, we also have God's blessing through the Resurrection of Christ:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3


Beth pointed out in her study: "We already have the blessing!" And as writers, we already have the gift! Now, let's rest in knowing that, and wait upon the Lord to plan for us abundantly.

“But those who wait on the
Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with
wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be
weary,
They shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

Give God the Glory: Even though we receive a gift from God, He ultimately receives the Glory. So while I might have thought it was the other way around—that my giving my gift back to God through publication will bestow His glory, that isn't right at all.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above.” James 1:17

Just as God gave us a gift to write, His plan to reveal that writing to the world will come in due time. It's all about His gifts to us...not the other way around.
God wants to give good things to His children, and maybe if we completely trust Him, His good things might just AMAZE us! Could David have ever thought that his son would have the awesome honor of building God's temple? And furthermore, that his very bloodline would bring forth the complete atonement for sins for the entire world, through Jesus Christ?

HOW MUCH blessing came forth when David switched from his plans for God, to trusting God's plans for him!

I hope I can do the same, and rest and wait for His amazing plan to unfold! How 'bout you?

*pictures from creationswap.com 

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Angie Dicken first began writing fiction as a creative outlet during the monotonous, mothering days of diapers and temper tantrums. She is passionate to impress God's love on women regardless of their background or belief. This desire serves as a catalyst for Angie's fiction, which weaves salvation and grace themes across historical cultures and social boundaries. Angie is an ACFW member and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.






20 comments:

Debra E. Marvin said...

I 'wrestle' with this a lot. Nothing fulfils me as much as writing--and you all know how DIFFICULT it can be. To succeed I must push and work and sacrifice...and then I wonder what I've pushed aside from God while I was busy focusing on MY plan.

ugh!

can I say that again? UGH!

How much of HIS Plan is for me to push forward with singular determination? It all comes to down giving it all over to Him and being able to follow. But oh I wish it was that easy!

Melissa Tagg said...

Oh man, that relinquishing control thing? Killer. But it's where true rest and peace and joy are found, I just know it. Even if getting there means cringing as I let go, it's worth it. It just is.

I loved this part of your post, Angie:

When we relinquish control of our plans to achieve the next step to publication and surrender to God's great plan for us, then we have the ability to submit to Him, walk this journey according to His commands for us, and just plain old rest in the fact that He's with us!

So, so, so true!

Jeanne Takenaka said...

I've struggled with these same thoughts, Angie. I find myself questioning if I am truly following His calling on my life. AM I supposed to be seeking publication?

I loved when you shared that I don't need to strive to do something FOR Him. What a paradigm shift to consider what He's doing for me in the giving of the gift of writing.

I loved when you said, "What if I begin to look at my goal of publication, not as “building God's house (or kingdom)” but as God building a place for me in His kingdom? So if the publishing isn't happening yet, maybe, just maybe, He's still carving out the path?"

I am holding on to that. Thanks, Angie!

Angie said...

Debra,
Thanks for the comments. After writing this, I was thinking about how much of His plan is for me to push forward, as you said. I've noticed, when I focus on God's word first, when I allow the Spirit to lead me, my writing flows. But when I push it, and try to get something down because I am focusing on my own achievement, I grow frustrated and begin to doubt. The thing is... why do I keep doing it!!! It takes practice to be Christ-centered over self-centered, doesn't it?

Angie said...

Yes, Melissa! When Beth Moore said we need to relinquish control...THAT is what sparked my idea for this post! It just seems so easy to get caught up in the doing than in the calling...and the only way we can be sure about the calling, is if we sit and listen a while!

Angie said...

Jeanne,
I love what you said about a paradigm shift. In this society, we are all about being self-motivators and making things happen. How hard it is to switch that thinking and do the opposite!
Have a great week...knowing you'll see his handiwork on your path ahead!

Pepper said...

AMAZING post, Angie
And so needed in my spirit right now!!!
Rest.
Peace!
His timing
Our trust

And it doesn't just apply to writing, of course - but so every fiber of our souls. What a blessing it is to share this journey of FAITH - and in the process, we get to write!

Love you!

Julia M. Reffner said...

WOW, ANGIE!!! LOVE this post! Reminds me of the worship song "You Are God Alone" by Phillips, Craig and Dean, particularly about God not being in need of anything we can give. As a recovering perfectionist something I very much need to remember in writing and other parts of life. He doesn't need our gifts, we need the Giver. Wonderful post, Ang!

Stacy A said...

And what if His plan doesn't include publication at all? (Of that one story/novel/article, or of anything.) Are we willing to accept that? That's a toughie ... we have to be willing to accept WHATEVER His will is, even if it's not what we thought.
Our obedience in writing -- whatever the outcome -- is our worship and our gift back to Him. At least this is what He's been teaching me. If He wants me to be published, I will be published. Yes, I have to do some of the work, but He will guide and direct my efforts. And if He doesn't want me to be published -- all glory to Him, anyway!

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Great encouragement here, Ang!

Heidi Blankenship said...

Two days in a row, through yesterday's sermon at church and now in this blog post, I've been reminded of my compulsion to control. Every little detail. I so want to be published on my timeline. Thank you for the reminder that He wants what is best for us. This is a tremendous struggle, waiting on His timing, not just in writing but in all of life.

Angie said...

Pepper,
It's so obvious in Scripture, and yet we so easily forget sometimes, don't we? And you know I do!!
Glad you're with me, sista!
Love ya!

Angie said...

Julia,
I LOVE that song! And the more I realize this journey is about the wait, the more I realize that I am soooo not in control! Thank God that GOD is!
Love ya!

Angie said...

Amy,
Thanks! Can't wait to see you in a few weeks!
Love ya!

Angie said...

Heidi,
Don't you love when God nudges you like that? So glad that you stopped by!

Angie said...

Stacy,

Yes, I seriously considered the "not published is His plan" route. And you know what, if that is the case, then I need to keep clinging to His word and promises, and realize that this journey is not in vain...I can count so many blessings that have come from this writing journey these past years, I am confident that God has definitely used it already! Praying though, that we see all our names in print some day! :)

Nancy Kimball said...

Thank you, Angie. I need this more than you know.

Kate Hall said...

Thanks for this article. I feel like I'm constantly in a cycle of taking the reigns from God, falling on my face, giving them back, taking them back, falling on my face, etc. in re: to my writing. I suppose with my life too. Glad I'm not alone. This was encouraging.

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

I'm late here, but just wanted you to know what a blessing this was for me. My problem has been wondering if God has even blessed me with the gift in the first place or am I just striving to do something on my own. sigh...

Angie said...

Thanks for stopping by, Ladies. Sorry I just now saw this. Kate, I totally get the cycle...I call it my "Israelite" cycle in the desert...let's hope it doesn't take 40 years to end it!! Sherrinda...I hope you feel peace with the gift...and you find assurance that it truly is YOURS to receive! Love ya!