Today, Jennifer Slattery, a writing friend of mine shares some words of wisdom. I believe you will be encouraged by her thoughts.
(And take a look at her newest book release at the bottom of the post. I just read it and I think you'll want to pick up a copy for yourself.)
Thoughts from Jennifer:
I’m a planner. I’ve always been a planner. Even as a teenager when my life was completely falling apart, I had a plan. A five-year plan, sometimes longer. I suppose I figured if I did X and Y, I could somehow fuse all the broken pieces of my life back together and be able to undo my self-destruction. And maybe there’s some truth to that, for without a plan, I’d probably wander about aimlessly, ever walking but getting nowhere.
But planning can only get one so far, and honestly, looking back over my life, all the best parts have come upon me unplanned. Every move, from California to Louisiana to Texas, Missouri and Nebraska, have hit me by surprise. And each has been wonderful and so very necessary. Each has in some way brought about a new layer of surrender and growth within, a new level of healing. A new set of friends.
And then there’s my writing, the area I’m most likely to plan the most—I never intended to pursue a career in publishing. Until one day, the children’s director at a church in California asked me to write a story for children’s church. And my love of words was born, or perhaps I should say awakened, because I’m pretty sure it was there all along, just buried beneath my, well, five-to-ten-year plan.
Ironic, isn’t it, that the very area that came about unplanned is the one now I try most to plan? As if I’ve forgotten the One who birthed that love within me and set it into motion? As if I’ve forgotten that He Himself holds my future, every word and contract, every bill and paycheck, in His sovereign hands?
As if I’ve forgotten the peace that comes from full surrender.
I am not called to be successful. I am not called to a straight and ever-smooth path. I am called to be obedient, and my obedience comes easiest when it rests on trust.
This is the call of every Christian—to embrace, fully, without hesitation, all that God has for us, trusting Him to bring fruit from our efforts.
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Gordon T. Smith, author of Courage and Calling says it this way, “God longs for us to be, precisely, all that we are called to be.”
We all have a call—a divinely planned, eternally-glorious reason for taking each breath. And God will show us that plan; He’ll unfold it step by step, if we’d but take the time to listen. Then obey.
His promise to do just that is infused throughout Scripture, but my favorite comes from Psalm 16:7-8 which says, “I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me.”
Even at night, my heart guides me. This verse reminds me of another, found in Proverbs 4:23, which says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
In other words, is my heart filled with faith or fear? Am I planning to perfect my calling and use well all the talents and gifts God has given me, or am I planning to avoid uncertainty? Because if my motivation is the latter, I’m bound for disappointment. Life is filled with uncertainty, chaos, and set-backs, but regardless of what lays ahead, I won’t be shaken, because my God, the God who is, even now, lovingly guiding my every step—our every step—remains, unmoving, at our side.
What about you? Are you a planner, and if so, what tends to motivate your plans? What’s the difference between planning in obedience and planning out of fear?
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.
Connect with Jennifer
Abandoned by her husband for another woman, Tammy Kuhn, an organ procurement coordinator often finds herself in tense and bitter moments. After an altercation with a doctor, she is fighting to keep her job and her sanity when one late night she encounters her old flame Nick. She walks right into his moment of facing an unthinkable tragedy. Because they both have learned to find eternal purposes in every event and encounter, it doesn’t take long to discover that their lives are intertwined but the ICU is no place for romance….or is it? Could this be where life begins again?
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