My first Christian fiction book will be released in the spring of 2018. I can’t wait to share it with you! Stay tuned for a free give away when the book is released.
I often wonder how many aspiring writers live in the comfort zone, lulled to sleep by a false sense of security. They know God has called them to write, but the fear of rejection and exposing their vulnerability is too frightening.
It’s much safer to remain in the comfort zone. There is no risk of failure in the comfort zone, and it requires little effort to remain there.
Aspiring writers think about leaving the comfort zone at times, but the same old nagging doubts and questions hold them captive.
Did God really call me to be a writer? I’m not good enough. There are plenty of great writers out there; I could never measure up to any of them. What if I try and fail? I don’t have time to write. I’m too busy. I’ll start next week, next month, next year. When the children grow up I will write.
Another day, week, month or year passes. Eventually, the years turn into decades or a lifetime. The aspiring writer dies, falsely secure in her comfort zone, and the words and stories God called her to write dies along with her.
In the parable of the talents in Matthew 25: 14-30, we learn about three servants who were given talents by God. They all three received a different amount of talents to invest while their master was away.
Two of the servants used their talents wisely and were rewarded by the master when he returned. They both heard their master say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
The third servant hid his talent and didn’t use it. He tried to appease the master by making excuses for not investing his talent. He stated, “I was afraid.” The master rebuked him, called him wicked and lazy, said he was a worthless servant, and ordered him to be thrown outside into the darkness.
The third servant was a resident of the comfort zone. He made excuses and allowed fear to prevent him from investing in his talent.
What can we learn from the parable of the talents?
- God gives different talents to each person
- Work is required to invest talents
- God expects a return on the talents he gives us
- God rewards us according to how we use our talents
God gives each of us unique gifts and talents to invest in his kingdom. We are responsible for investing our talents. God will take care of the results of our work.
As a former comfort-zone resident, I understand the doubts and insecurities of being a writer. Fear literally crippled me at times. One thing that helped push me out of my comfort zone was when I heard a pastor say that God does not want a popular or famous servant. He simply wants an obedient one.
I felt such freedom when I realized I simply needed to be obedient and write.
As Christian writers, we don’t need to impress anyone but God. It doesn’t matter how many followers we have on Twitter or how many “likes” we have on Facebook. Being obedient to use our gifts is what counts in the end.
I’m aware of the need in today’s publishing industry to self-promote our work on social media and the importance of having a good following. There is nothing wrong with doing what is necessary for success in the book publishing industry. However, obeying the call to write should be our main focus, not self-promotion.
Leaving the comfort zone is scary, but staying in the comfort zone is even more frightening when you study the parable of the talents. Like the three servants, one day we will also give an account to our master for how wisely we invested our talents.
And our master won’t be checking to see if our punctuation was always perfect or if we had a few grammar mistakes here and there. He won’t care if we were famous authors or not. He won’t look at how many people read our blog or the reviews about our books. He won’t be checking Facebook likes or Twitter followers to determine our reward.
Like the servants in the parable of the talents, it will all come down to one thing – obedience in using the talents he gave us.
Are you a comfort-zone resident? Break free. You don’t have to fear what will happen when you step outside the comfort zone and begin using your talent. Simply obey the call. God will do the rest.
A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it, it just blooms -Sensei Ogui
Do you often feel inadequate when you look around and see the accomplishments of others? As a writer, I feel that way every time I read a great book or an article. I feel like I will never be able to write the riveting drama and captivating stories like some of the best known authors have written.
It was those very thoughts that held me captive for years. I spent a lot of time writing in my journals but was always fearful of writing for the public. I felt I wasn’t good enough. I worried about grammar and punctuation errors. I wondered if anyone even cared about what I had to say.
I hesitated to start a blog for the same reasons, but I always felt God nudging me to write for him. To be completely honest, I don’t desire to be famous or have thousands of followers on Facebook or Twitter. However, I do feel passionate about writing the things God places on my heart as I read his word and study the scriptures.
My journal entries usually consist of insights gleaned from my daily scripture readings. As much as I enjoy structured Bible study and learning, I feel most content when I’m recording things in my journal that God reveals to me through the scriptures.
At times I still struggle with feeling inadequate and fearful about writing for the public, but I feel I must move forward and write the things God places on my heart. I believe if God calls us to do something, we must step out in faith and obedience to our calling. The rest is up to God. He has a purpose for our talents.
There are several examples in scripture of people who God called to specific tasks who felt very afraid and inadequate. Two that come to mind are Moses and Jeremiah.
Moses said to the Lord, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
The Lord said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord ? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” (Exodus 4: 10-12)
“O Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!” The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. (Jeremiah 1: 6-7)
I find it comforting to know I’m not alone in my fears. There are no perfect people on earth. You probably know a few people in your personal life that God is using in remarkable ways. These people may seem like the most unlikely ones God would call to a certain task, but he is using them to present his message to others.
We were not created to be like anyone else. How dull and boring the world would be if we were all the same.
There’s so much pressure to be perfect today. Social media doesn’t help. People are quick to find fault and tear others down over the most trivial things. Constructive criticism is helpful, but hateful criticism can be crippling if we allow it to be.
More than ever, we must look to God and let him show us the best way to use the gifts and talents he equipped us with. It’s okay to listen to our critics and learn from our mistakes, but we should never allow destructive criticism to keep us from doing what God is calling us to do.
Like the flowers, we must bloom where God plants us. There’s no pressure to be like the other flowers in the garden. Every flower is unique and has a beauty of its own.
When we focus on our unique calling, instead of another person’s calling, we are free to be the person God created us to be. We can use our talents without the pressure of comparing ourselves to others.
What is God calling you to do? What unique talents has he given you to use for his glory? What is stopping you from blooming?