Ahhh, summertime. There’s something about taking a road trip in the summer, convertible top down, wind in our hair. It brings out the teenager in all of us. Of course, I don’t have a convertible, but I can dream, can’t I?
The drives in my dreams almost always include an open road, maybe a long, picturesque highway. Reality is usually quite different, though. Stop-and-go traffic. High gas prices and low mileage. Traffic lights that aren’t synchronized. And let’s not forget being on a constant lookout for traffic signs that will lead to the destination.
The writing life has its own set of traffic signs. Are you paying attention to them? Here are some examples.
Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 NIV).
If we want to honor God in our writing, we need to be true to the gospel, whether we’re writing fiction or nonfiction, chapter books or picture books.
The Bible tells us to submit to God (James 4:7) and to each other (Ephesians 5:21). This is a tough one for me. It’s easier for me to submit to God than it is for me to submit to some people.
But in publishing, authors often need to submit to others. We often need to submit to industry professionals, such as agents, who know what publishers are seeking. To editors, who polish our precious work to make it even better. To cover designers, who understand what will attract readers. It’s in our interest to listen as they share their expertise . . . even if we don’t always agree.
Stop signs prevent us from blindly entering dangerous situations. There are numerous stop signs in the Bible that warn us of attitudes and behavior we should avoid. We need to pay attention to those stop signs.
There are stop signs in writing, too. Rejection letters. Closed doors. Failure to obtain an appointment we want at a conference. God uses these stop signs to direct us and protect us. Ultimately, when He gives us the green light, our work will glorify Him in ways we couldn’t have imagined.
James wrote, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22 NIV). This command can be a huge “Ouch!” for me. It can be so much easier to quote the Bible than to actually obey it.
Are you and I practicing what we’re writing? Do we live by the same values we promote? Or are we writing with one standard for our audience and another for ourselves?
I wish it weren’t so, but there have been many times when I’ve had to make a U-turn in my life and in my writing. Wrong choices require God’s solution: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9 NIV).
As writers, we may have our hearts set on one project, while God wants us to focus our energies on another. Are we willing to make U-turns in our writing?
God has promised to direct us, even in our writing. It’s just a matter of following His signs.
What signs are you following as you write? Share them with us in the comments!
* * *
Ava Pennington is a writer, Bible teacher, and speaker. Her book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is endorsed by Precepts founder Kay Arthur. She has also written numerous articles for magazines such as Clubhouse, Today’s Christian Woman, Power for Living, and Called. In addition to her writing, Ava teaches a weekly Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class of 300 women. She is a passionate speaker and teacher and delights in challenging audiences with the truth of God’s Word in relevant, enjoyable presentations. Ava and Russ have been married for 40 years and live in southeast Florida. For more information, visit her at AvaWrites.com.