They Are Here: Terrifying Endeavors
As terrifying as any new endeavor is, there is something extra terrifying about a contest. Entering a contest of any sort can be daunting because you are not only setting forth on a quest of your own choosing, you have chosen to willingly be judged for the product of effort, intellect, and creativity you share.
It started when I had already felt blessed this spring after receiving a near full scholarship to a conference around faith based writing and speaking. It confirmed the shift in my heart I was feeling. It also overwhelmed me to think of the mentors and wisdom that would be packed into only a few days at such an affordable experience.
Upon exploring the conference options further, I saw a "publication contest" listed in one of the website tabs. It was not advertised in my opportunity so I excused my initial tendency to glaze over such an exciting door. My fear kept me from knocking despite that first tug of the Holy Spirit in me. Maybe a week or so after, I paused momentarily as I noticed the contest again. I did not even realize I had this fear within me. Typical to my own rebellious rhythm, I realized that the third prompting and pause was telling me I needed to get to work and begin a prayerful engagement with God on what He was going to have me share.
A few weeks had passed after realizing this was a task God would have me be obedient in, and I had yet to draft out a chapter - let alone an outline. I was not sure if I was emotionally or spiritually ready to engage with the call God was clearly lining up ahead of me. It was like a trail of sweet Hansel and Gretel crumbs leading me right to the submission of this chapter. What I did not realize is that it was the step to move from having my toes gently sprinkled with water from magazine and newsletter publications to a straight up splash by holding a book in my hands with my own chapter contribution. This opportunity to enter and be chosen was an honor, but the print copies in hand took the fear I had mucked up all over my near stagnant legs and washed it real quick.
I did not even realize the significance of it all - until now as I hold these copies in my hand and reflect on God's faithful molding of my heart, equipping of my hands and feet, and readying my family to have me step forward in obedience.
The short lesson is that I would not be working on the larger projects I am if I had not obeyed in each small step, knocked with each nervous knock, stepped again, and continued to obey. Although hesitant and fearful at first, the seriousness of this mission He has called me upon continues to grow each day. I am blown away at the peace reverberating in my soul as I now see this chapter in print and the projects coming to fruition in the background. It is clearly God because as many of us do, I naturally held my own self back. I was happier wallowing in the mud that kept me still than running in the wind that fueled me with life.
No one can see the full picture and purpose He has designed. No one can fully comprehend the beauty and bold strength He has equipped us with, yet He is stirring something beautiful when we are obedient to what seems to be the baby steps. I surely did not see the beauty of the nudges He placed before me, but I am seeing more than ever the ways He is teaching me to embrace His path in every breath of my lungs and beat of my heart.
It does not make the fear stop, the attacking blows of the enemy waiver, or the pressures of this world lessen - it simply makes the journey worth travelling with every ounce of strength He's equipped us with. After all, if He has called us - He has equipped us.
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