Trust When You Can’t See the Way Forward
by Ava Pennington
Ever feel as if you’re writing plans have gone off track? Maybe you’ve decided there’s no point in having writing goals since none of them have come to fruition.
What do you do if your writing life is not measuring up to your dreams? When you can’t see the way forward?
Yes, I know, this answer sounds clichéd. But that doesn’t make it less true.
Because it’s not a matter of if the writing life will not measure up to our dreams. It’s a matter of when.
Remember Proverbs 3:5-6? It’s a verse many Christians have memorized or are at least familiar with:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV).
We often quote this verse to apply to our personal life. But what does this look like in our writing life? Let’s look at the three steps mentioned:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart:
So what part of your writing life have you not been trusting the Lord for? A publishing contract? Agent representation? Impressive book sales? Timing of the release of your book? Locating the right illustrator? Will you release these things to the Lord and trust Him to work in His time and in His way?
Lean not on your own understanding:
I learned a long time ago that despite what I think I know, there’s always much more I don’t know. My own understanding is limited, regardless of the topic or the person. So how can you and I broaden our understanding?
We start with the Bible. God’s word gives us a foundation for our worldview and a framework for our values. It gives us God’s perspective on life and shows us the way to live.
For our writing life, there are always others we can learn from to grow our understanding of the publishing industry. Writing skills, editing, publishing options, marketing—whatever the topic, our industry is constantly changing and we need to have teachable spirits. Thankfully, we have many opportunities to learn through conferences, workshops, blogs, books, and critique groups.
So how teachable are you?
In all your ways acknowledge him:
Acknowledgment can take many forms . . . and many levels. I can acknowledge something or someone with a slight nod or a bit of lip service. But that’s not what the Bible means here. The Hebrew word translated as acknowledge means to know, learn, perceive, discern, experience, confess, consider[i]—you get the picture! This is an intentional action. The NIV translates this as “submit to him.” To truly acknowledge God is to submit to Him.
Our part is to trust Him, lean into Him, and acknowledge Him in all we do, especially when you can’t see the way forward. His part? “He will make straight your paths.” This doesn’t mean a guaranteed contract, a six-figure advance, or bestseller status. But it does mean He will use you for His purposes as you write for His glory.
[i] The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament