Monday, 24 July 2017

Priorities - Yours, Mine or God's? by Melinda Jensen

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 If you're like me you probably have several writing projects on the boil at any one time. You'll likely be writing regularly for your blog or website, crafting short stories for competitions or in the hope of publication, and having a bit of a dalliance with poetry. Perhaps you also love to write devotionals. Then there's your main project, 'the' book – the one you've been writing for months now, or perhaps even years. It might be fiction, non-fiction or faction, depending on your leanings and unique talent.

I'm always tempted to pick up whichever task takes my fancy at the time. You know, the one I feel like writing in the moment. That's all well and good sometimes, and it often provides a delicious taste of satisfaction and fulfilment, at least on a certain (human) level. But, as with everything else in our busy lives, we need to pause and consider whether or not our industry aligns with God's design – and that's not always easy.

Prayer, of course, is our first port of call. And then we wait...looking for subtle signs or nudgings in our spirit. At times, God gives us free reign, indulging us and allowing us to use our time to develop our creativity and skills. At other times, God has a very specific plan for us. It might be only for the day or it might be for a period of weeks or months. We can be sure though, that He has a particular purpose for our writing and a particular time frame in which to do His will.

Ecclesiastes 3:1
'To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:'

At times, we'll receive confirmation from a fellow Christian about where our focus should be, although we must always test what we hear by bringing it before God and seeking Him in earnest prayer. I received this kind of direction from a beautiful woman of God a few months ago. As an editor, publisher and fellow Christian, I felt her words resonate with me as she read some of my work and gave me direction. I now know which one of the many writing tasks God wants me to concentrate on over the coming year. (No more excuses for me!)

At other times, I only figure God's priorities in retrospect. If, at the end of the day, I feel God's arms around me, and hear the words, 'Well done, good and faithful daughter,' wash over me, I know I've been fulfilling His will. My habitual anxiety abates as I'm bathed in an incredible sense of spiritual and emotional well-being. It's like snuggling up to a newborn babe and drinking in that delicate smell of luscious soft skin and downy, sweet hair. The experience of peace and contentment is profound.

Jeremiah 29:11
'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'

When we allow God's will to come to fruition in our lives, doors open and the path is laid before us bit by bit. If we ask Him, as I invariably do, to gently correct us when we go astray, He is faithful. He has pointed me back to the path many times in my life by simply stepping in and stopping me from proceeding, and then leading me back in the right direction. For the past four years, I've authored a blog about verbal, emotional and psychological abuse. From time to time, I consider it time to let it go; I feel the blog has run its course and served its purpose. But every, single time … without fail over the past year or so … each time I've considered shutting the blog down, I receive an email or comment from a new subscriber who thanks me sincerely for helping them to understand, and to embark on their healing journey. Many have been moved to tears. It's a beautiful dance between me and my best friend, my confidante, my King and my saviour.

God's will never harms us. He promises we will prosper but we need to bear in mind that His riches are not those of the world. We may earn an income, or we may not, but our spirits will be nourished and nurtured every step of the way. We'll continue to grow and learn, but most importantly, He'll be using our words to touch the hearts and minds of His people.

May this be our prayer: 

 Hebrews 13:21-21
'Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.'

Melinda Jensen is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, dedicated to protection of the environment, social justice and equality. She has had a smattering of short stories, poetry and articles published in books, magazines and newspapers. While having two fantasy novels currently underway for middle school readers, she is focused on a work of non-fiction, which she hopes to illustrate herself. For four years she has ministered to victims of domestic abuse through her blog


  1. Lovely post Melinda. Loved it how God's been nudging you and leading you. I also loved the scriptures you shared with us. One thing I know for sure about writing and of life is that often my plans are not His - or rather His plans are often different to mine. Which is why I need to LISTEN! As you say - His will is always good and perfect. Sounds like you've learnt to listen to His still small voice really well. I too have been thrilled when He confirms my calling just when I need it. And how He sometimes keeps me waiting but then opens the doors needed at the right time. May He continue to be glorified through all of us at CWD. Thank you for pointing us in the right direction!

    1. Thank you dear friend. I've been a wayward child of God in the past but know now that nothing is worth going against His will. He's made the most magnificent husband for me over the past year and it's been a really fruitful journey. My anxiety is at a much lower level than it's been for decades - just like when I was a little girl and worried about nothing. :)

  2. That's a great blog, Melinda. That first paragraph could have been written directly for me. I have tons of half-finished projects on the boil, but I feel this is the season to concentrate on finishing the novel. I've been disappointed sometimes when I've had to let other opportunities go by (e.g.competitions and calls for submissions). But I know it will be best in the long run.

    I'm so glad you've got that direction now about the project to focus on and I pray God will bless you richly as you work on it. And good on you for all you're doing to help people through your other blog. I can't wait to go to your book launch. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I must admit, I did think of you ... and me ... when writing this post. I know you're multi-talented and that it can be almost impossible to decided for ourselves what to concentrate on and when. Thank goodness we have God to make some decisions for us. :)

  3. Love the variety of what you do, but also the wisdom of doing it in God's timing. Your first paragraph did feel like de ja vu as I have a few projects on the boil and some that are lying fallow at the moment. With the verse from Hebrews I don't think I'd noticed before how God's equipping us to do His will is so closely tied in to Him being our Shepherd. In other words, He doesn't just give us a list of tasks to complete but trains, guides and tends us along the way. Perhaps that is why his yoke is light (to mix metaphors) as He shares the load beside us.

    1. I love your insights, Jenny! I think many writers can identify with that first paragraph and the need to hand things to God at times. Sometimes our heads are so full of 'busyness' that it's hard to find a space for God's direction ... but it's so worth it. Confusion subsides ... contentment sets in. We have an awesome God.

  4. The hardest thing I have to do, is the marketing side. My series was written with my Bible on my desk where it remains... and like you, a lot of prayer.
    I relate to so much of what you say - and was surprised by a comment you made about closing your blog and realizing I had been thinking of unpublishing my book on God helping me recover from emotional abuse. I never advertise it. In many ways it is too personal to admit :) Then I find out there's been a sale. Perhaps that is what you are saying... God saying to leave it. We do, indeed, have an awesome God who knows the right timing for all things.