It was about this time three years ago God told me to sign up for a writer's conference.
"But God," I said, "Why?" I felt the nudge to do some writing for years, but I was no where near ready to show it to anybody. And the conference itself wasn't cheap either. It seemed like a frivolous use of money without being specifically prepared for it.
But He was insistent. My husband encouraged me to do it. Too many similar comments came my way to dismiss them as coincidence. The idea wouldn't go away.
"Okay, Lord," I conceded, "This doesn't make sense, but I'll go." I knew my writing was not ready for publication. I wasn't sure why He was so adamant about me going. "God, I'm not sure how we'll pay for this, but I'll trust you to provide the necessary money. I don't see myself coming home with a book contract or suddenly breaking into publishing, but I'll go because you say so. Whatever happens, help me know it wasn't a waste of money. Help me come out of this weekend with the next step in this writing journey."
God was gracious in the weeks leading up to the conference. He provided a good friend to go along with me, making the trek out to Colorado and back much more enjoyable, giving me someone to discuss ideas with. He provided the money, how I'm still not sure, but it was there. He even orchestrated a stupid accident to help me prepare.
A few weeks before I was to go, I busted up my toe, requiring me to stay off it for a while and wear a boot and I seriously thought about backing out. The conference took place in Estes Park. I had to hoof it between buildings on the side of a mountain. Would that really work? But I remembered God did not stutter about me going to this conference, so I took it a day at a time. Having to prop my foot up for a week gave me an unexpected bonus. Hanging out on the couch with my laptop gave me time to prepare manuscripts and materials to take with me.
The whole time, in the months leading up to the trip I prayed, "Please, Lord, don't let it be a waste. Give me the next step."
I already knew there was a lot to learn and arriving at the conference confirmed it. One of the most advantageous things about going to a writer's conference is the individual meetings you are granted with writers, editors, and agents. You get to pick the brains of people in the business. Though I felt completely out of my league, people were kind and gracious to this rookie. They offered helpful suggestions and treated me like a professional. Throughout these meetings I started getting a consistent comment. "This looks like blog material. You should start a blog."
At the time I had no idea what a blog was. I went to a session about them and asked LOTS of questions. I came home and bought Blogging for Dummies (I'm not making this up. The book really exists!). I studied and experimented and a few weeks later took the plunge.
And I have been blessed. Through blogging I have met some neat people. I have honed my skills and learned greater discipline. I've learned to write whether I am inspired or not. I've learned to let go of perfection and get something out there. I've developed a thicker skin and determined to write what God has placed on my heart, whether people understand or not.
Most importantly, I learned when I am obedient to His voice, no matter how silly His directions may seem, He is faithful to answer my prayers. One step at a time, He'll lead the way.
Is God asking you to take a step of faith? What are you waiting for?
Step over to Shortybear's Place for more impressions of this quote.