Fear is a skilled author of plausible excuses, but they rob us of the gifts God has in store for us. Bumping into Jane Rubietta, the Assistant Director of the Write to Publish conference, and receiving her personal invitation to the conference not only confirmed God’s calling to be a writer, but it gave me the courage to attend the conference.
(Read more about my encounter with Jane in the post titled Why Are You So Afraid?)
The Spirit of God was palpable at the Write to Publish conference. A phenomenon I had not experienced at the secular conference I have attended several times near my home. I asked veteran attendees if God’s presence was also obvious at other Christian writing conferences. The consensus was yes, but they emphasized that each conference maintained a distinct personality.
The Gift of Encouragement
just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 1:5
Something that lifted the atmosphere of the conference was the staff. Several staff members mentioned during class lectures and panel discussions that they were called by God to help writers share their work. It became obvious that the staff’s obedience to God’s call made a distinct difference. Most staff exuded genuine humility and were motivated by a desire to serve.
At the Write to Publish conference attendees are encouraged to meet with staff members. One afternoon I noticed that the staff member who critiqued one of my articles was available. I took the opportunity to meet with Him to ask for suggestions on who might be interested in the article.
I quickly introduced myself and asked my question. He suggested an editor at the conference, so I thanked him and stood to leave. He glanced at his watch, rocked back in the theater seat and continued talking; slowly I sat back down. When he paused for a moment I heard myself share that I had received C’s in language arts in high school and I felt ill-equipped to answer God’s call to be a writer. That awkward pause gets me every time. Why why did I have to say that?
He smiled and said, “That’s often how God works, isn’t it?” He, a successful author and acquisitions editor, said, “ I received a C in high school composition.”
Through those words, God spoke to my heart.
I can’t recall the rest of the conversation, but what I do remember still encourages me. It tickles me when I recognize God’s divine appointments.
The Gift of Support
so one person sharpens another.
We met several other women attendees that we quickly befriended. Shared faith, shared callings, and shared challenges make satisfying conversations. We would listen to one another’s experiences, and offer each other advice for upcoming meetings with staff.
No one wanted it to end, and we all agreed we needed to stay in touch.
We’ve been sharing monthly updates, offering each other guidance, and celebrating each other's successes. I am hopeful we will be able to meet again soon at another conference.
The Gift of Mentoring
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
1 Corinthians 12: 6, 7
During a panel discussion, an editor mentioned that she needed content for a website, but it did not pay. She was willing, however, to mentor anyone who was interested. She would provide detailed critiques, and in return, she would publish the content to her website.
A perfect win-win in my mind, so I met with her and took her up on her offer. I’m gaining valuable instruction on writing devotions, she is getting content, and my writing is being shared with many more readers than I reach on my site.
No More Excuses
Do not fear; I will help you.
I often have to remind myself of Isaiah 41:13. I picture God holding my hand and walking with me. On the lonely five hour drive to the Write to Publish conference I told Christ He would need to keep my hand firmly in His all week. I knew it was the only way I would be able to make it through the five-day leg of this journey with Him.
I made it through the week, one step at a time with His fingers intertwined with mine.
So what about you, are you ready to stop making excuses? Are you ready to open your right hand and let Christ take it in His?
Listen, He says, “Do not fear, I will help you.”
He is the Lord our God.
Have you stepped past excuses, or are you finally ready to?