Mary Allen has authored two books of poetry: "Journey to Christmas" and "Ten Days to an Empty Tomb" and is about to release another. She is 2013 Poetry Chair for La Porte Arts in the Park and was the 2010 La Porte County Poet Laureate. She was commissioned to write a poem, which is on a plaque on a kiosk for the Lincoln Highway Association. Poetry has been one way God has continued to fund her progress toward publication in fiction.
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
To Go or Not To Go?
The days are ticking down to ACFW conference. This year it’s here in our own backyard. While I’m not saying every Christian Hoosier writer needs to go, it’s true that for some, every time you think you should go, doubt counters with a stream of delaying questions.
Is there really enough money? I don’t have anything to pitch so what’s the point? Is this manuscript really ready? Should I wait until next year? I've been to conferences, what more could I possibly learn? What if I try to network and no one talks to me? If I go and a publisher wants my book, how could I possibly add one more thing to my overly-full life?
I can state from experience that if God wants you to go, then he will take care of all these other questions. He will provide and he also will form and mold the manuscript as you devote your time to it. God’ll put you in the right classes and seat you next to the right people. You only need grasp the opportunities he grants, work the tasks he gives, and keep saying “yes” to him and “no” to your emotional excuses of doubt.
Doubt is a giant to overcome in life. If you let it, doubt can cause you to move into unbelief. Doubt can also be the impetus to lean more heavily on God and trust more deeply.
This spring I told God that if he wanted me to go to conference, he’d have to arrange it because I simply didn't see any way it could happen. Then I watched and waited. First he graciously provided lodging. I took that as the confirmation I was looking for and stayed alert even as I worked on my manuscript amid all the crises of life. Next, he brought unexpected jobs my way that met the conference fees. Now, I’m waiting for the transportation to finalize. The doubts about what I’m to do are gone. God is on my side.
Of course, I have to keep listening and obeying, because the reasons I imagine God wants me there, may not actually be his reasons. Like you, I’m called to trust and obey – no other way.
In the end, if you’re considering conference, there is only one question to ask, “God, do you want me to go?” If he says go, remember, it's impossible to carry the football into the end zone when stopping to study the bruises on the knees.
Refuse to predetermine what God can/will do and how he’ll do it. Instead, step out in obedience and push through the blockers, and then you’ll praise him and say, “Look what the Lord has done!”