If you’re one of the 19 new friends from last weekend at Mount Hermon to join this blog party, welcome! If you’re a regular reader, let’s give a golf clap to the new people!
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This week I returned from the Vision Christian Writers Conference in the Redwoods where I taught two seminars, hosted a lunch table twice, took classes, and stayed mentally engaged for five days. I connected with young people, old people, beginning writers, professionals, semi-famous authors, and everyone in between.
And I only put my foot in my mouth once! Progress, friend. Tiiiiiny bits of progress. Of course, my faux pas made me want to crawl into my laptop bag and stay there until the conference ended, but I apologized and recovered. Mostly.
If you’ve ever attended a writers’ conference, you know how they can feel like a bit of an overwhelming colorful buffet. But how fulfilling (and entertaining) to hang with like-minded wordsmiths, book nerds, and scribblers alike! Pacing yourself, taking copious notes, and processing later is key.
So is caffeine.
My tired mind can barely form coherent sentences today, but mixed with the brain fog sits dozens of fun, happy, memorable moments. And confusing ones too. Like when a successful author told me the unconventional devotional I’m working on was a great idea.
On the contrary, a different professional told me I shouldn’t write a devotional first. They thought I should go with a regular nonfiction book, but write it with an author friend.
Then a high-up person in the industry said to send in one of my children’s stories to be considered for book publication. Sounded great! And then a separate successful person said I should send it to a well-known magazine instead since it has a way higher readership than a book would. Hmm….
Top it off with a social media guru telling you to focus your energy on reels, and another expert telling you to drill down on ads.
And how exactly am I supposed to do all this while working full-time and ramping up my organizing biz, being present with my family, and entertaining a strong desire to sit and read?
More complicated questions arise: Who to trust? Who to believe? Who to follow? Simple answers surface: Jesus. All of them. A few.
Have you ever received conflicting advice?
- Your adult son recommends using Grammarly to help ewe rite more better, but your daughter thinks AI is the best and only tool. Who’s right?
- Your mom warns you of the potential fallout with a business venture, and your dad says you should take the plunge.
- That church down the street sent you a snazzy flyer and comes highly recommended on Yelp, but your neighbor swears by the one on the other side of town. Who’s right?
- Your teenager says you’d be more successful on social media if you didn’t wear those 90s outfits, but your teenager’s friend loves the way you dress.
- One friend tells you to move to Georgia, the other reminds you about California weather. (To which I’d like to remind that first friend… our politics may stink, but they can change. Humidity and mosquitos are forever, pal.)
Knowing which suggestions to cling to and which ideas to let go of feels daunting. And exhausting.
Eenie, Meenie, Miny… Whoa
I have no idea what catching a tiger by the toe has to do with making a decision, but here we are. (Unless it was a cheetah. Then that would make way more sense. Or in Spanish… pito, pito, gorgorito…)
Did I mention I’m tired?
Sometimes my mind’s too full and too taxed to effectively sift through the options. That’s where solid Christian friends and their prayers come in. Out of all the advice I got at the conference, the one voice that resonated the most was my friend who listened to all the options, added her two pesos, and said, “I’ll be praying for clarity for you.”
And then it hit me. I’m not praying about all these directions, I’m only stressing about them. Does God truly care if I go for a book deal or a magazine article? Self-published or traditional?
What about you? Does He care if you stay at your job or get another one? If you learn French or focus on Spanish? With all the injustices in the world, smaller decisions seem like they wouldn’t matter in His eyes.
But I think they do. He wants to know our hearts, aspirations, and hopes. Just because they’re small in our minds doesn’t mean they’re not significant. Check out this easy-to-understand translation of James 1:5-8 from The Message Bible:
If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.
I clearly don’t know what I’m doing. But I’m praying. Are you praying about your options? Not solely about what the best idea might be to benefit you, but what God wants? Sadly, I tend to forget this part. Sometimes my prayers revolve around asking God for an answer to a problem, but if I truly desire to know what He wants in my life I should probably ask.
When have you been given conflicting advice? How did you decide what to do? Share your story below in the comments!