… He (Jesus) said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and his hand was restored. Mark 3:5
I recently got a contract with Our Sunday Visitor (OSV) to write my first full-length book! The working title, for now, is: All is Blessing: Finding God in the Tensions of Life. It’s due out in the fall of 2021.
The book will address the fact that we all have stress and tension in our lives. God doesn’t create any of it. But because He loves us so much, and only wants what’s best for us, He shows up in the middle of it, wanting to guide us through. Using the story of the Biblical sisters, Martha and Mary, I’ll show how seeking Him out, and letting Him lead us to the changes we need to make, will melt the tension away.
Writing a book has been a dream of mine since I was a kid. It’s funny, though, how striving for your dream is so very different from actually achieving it.
I got the book contract back in September. Still working thirty hours a week, raising a family, and then preparing for the holidays, I deferred the writing of it until January. The manuscript isn’t due until October, after all.
Here we are, now, in January. I’ve just dropped down to two days a week at work to have time and space to write. I’ve spent the past two weeks organizing and reviewing my notes, putting the framework in place to weave each chapter together to support the overarching theme. It’s now time to type the words and break through the “white page” barrier.
Why is it that right when we’re about to achieve our dream, self-doubt and lethargy rear their ugly heads? Or we suddenly feel the need to prioritize emails to be sent or errands to be run, as if the world depends on us completing these tasks?
Obviously, it’s fear: fear of failure, fear of any and all insecurities we have coming true. Fear is the opposite of love. The latter comes from God; the former most certainly does not.
Instead, God says, “Stretch out your hand. Reach for what you want. It doesn’t matter if you think you aren’t equipped. Just take the first step. The rest is up to me.”
The man with the withered hand in Mark’s Gospel, chapter three, knew he wasn’t capable of stretching out his hand. It was disfigured; it was beyond him to do it alone. But He made the effort to do what Jesus required of him, and his hand was healed.
The concept is so simple, we tend to overlook it. Like the old Nike slogan, “Just Do It,” when we’re answering God’s call for our lives, we just have to pick up the phone. He’ll partner with us to take care of the rest.
Questions for Reflection:
* What dream do I have that I’m too intimidated to take action on?
* Does knowing that God will partner with me empower me to take the first step?
P.S. – In his book, The Circle Maker, Mark Batterson explains how important it is to ask people to pray a circle around us when we’re embarking on something important. I’d be so grateful to all of you, my readers, if you’d consider joining my Prayer Circle – keeping me in your thoughts and prayers as I write each Tuesday, Thursday and Friday so I hear God’s voice and guidance for this book. Thank you, thank you!
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