Our daughter-in-law and twenty-one-month old granddaughter, Harper, came over for dinner last night. I cooked a roast, potatoes, green beans, and bread, thrilled to offer Harper a good meal. Normally when she’s here, it’s on a weekend and I have cooked nothing.
I fixed a plate of deliciousness for her, cooled it in the freezer, and her mom put some meat and beans on her tray. She immediately threw every piece on the floor and asked for “apple” which, in baby-speak, means applesauce. Her mom told her no to the familiar applesauce and encouraged her to eat what I had prepared. Little Harper was not a happy camper.
Since she didn’t want the roast or beans, we tried the potatoes. Same reaction. Baby Girl was not interested in taking a risk on something new. She was adamant about sticking to what she knew. So, what did she eat? A piece of bread and half a banana. No meat. No potatoes. No beans.
Because of her unwillingness to step out of her food comfort zone and try something different, she missed out on a delectable meal.
How many times do we miss out on God’s best for our lives because we’re too afraid to take a risk?
We like the comfortable and familiar. You’ve heard the saying, “I hate change.” Maybe you’ve said it multiple times.
But what have we missed out on because of unwillingness to say yes to a new endeavor, ministry, or friendship?
I’ve always been interested in writing. Throughout my school years, English was a favorite subject. I was good at it. Math … not so much. As an avid reader all my life, a fascination for the written word became a natural part of me.
So, if I’ve loved reading and writing my entire existence, why didn’t I pursue writing seriously before now?
Well, I could make all kinds of excuses … and some would be valid. Like the time about fifteen or twenty years ago I went to our local community college to sign up for creative writing courses but had to complete the entrance exam … which included testing in Math. When I couldn’t figure out the answer to a single problem on the practice test, I gave up going to school.
I stuck to penning personal journals, poems to my family, and articles for church newsletters, bulletins, lessons, and devotions.
But there’s something about reaching a much closer proximity to death than birth that causes a person to take stock in their life and determine to get busy on unfulfilled dreams before it’s too late. And God promises none of us tomorrow, so we’d better seize today.
I’ve taken some risks since I began my journey to publication last year. I risked showing my first attempt at writing a short story to a few family members and to the leader of a local writer’s group. Everyone was kind with their feedback, but can I just say … the story was terrible. I had no idea what I was doing.
Last fall, I risked joining two local writer groups and participated in National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo). I still didn’t know what I was doing.
In February this year, I took a leap and set up my website, started this blog, and joined an online critique group.
The risks continued with submitting the first five pages of my novel to a writer’s contest, which I finally submitted the day before the deadline. I attended the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference in May and even pitched my novel to an agent and several editors. That’s risky, people.
The beginning of October this year, I attended a novelist retreat and received critique from a small group on the first five pages of a second novel. I’ll be attending a one-day writer’s conference in two weeks, and I’ve entered several other contests. And I’ve put myself out there on social media to promote my website/blog and writing journey. That’s hard to do.
This is only the highlight reel of the many ways I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone over the past year. I’m an introvert, y’all. This is not easy.
When I think of all I would have missed out on had I not risked jumping into this writing dream, I’m so thankful I took the plunge.
Why, you ask? What benefits have I gained?
Well, the new friendships through the two writer groups, online critique group, and conferences have been incredible. I’ve met a whole new crew of believers who love the Lord … and writing.
Because of taking part in Nanowrimo, I completed the first draft of a novel—after three months, I had written 120,000 words! Crazy, right?
By composing and publishing my blog post each week, I’ve enjoyed lessons from God I can pass along to others and help enrich their spiritual lives and form connections I wouldn’t have otherwise.
In May, I won second place in the writer’s contest I entered, which gave me the needed encouragement and confirmation to keep creating stories. Also at the conference in May, an agent requested my book proposal, which I emailed last week.
Through the online critique group, my writing has improved dramatically in just a years time. Giving input to others about their work, and receiving their critiques on mine, has proved invaluable.
Risk is scary. But the rewards are worth it.
We know God has plans for us. He puts dreams in our hearts. But we have to put the feet to the work for His desires in us to become a reality.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
Are you a risk-taker? Or do you let fear of change and the unknown hold you back? Maybe, like me, you fear failure or rejection. I’ve experienced some failures in my journey this past year. Rejection, too. But the good always outweighs the negative when you’re doing what God has wired you to do. And we have the blessed privilege to serve others through our gifts.
“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” 1 Peter 4:10
What is your dream? What has kept you from pursuing that dream? Make a commitment right now that you will take a step, no matter how small, toward the dream God has put in your heart. It’s not too late.
Join the conversation. Take a risk, and share your dream in the comments. Tell me which step you will commit to take toward reaching your goals. What scripture from God’s Word inspires you to follow His best for your life?