Monday, July 6, 2015

Going Out on a Limb

By Andrea Merrell

“Go out on a limb … that’s where the fruit is.” 

I read this recently in my daily devotional, and it stopped me in my tracks. It’s one of those statements that catches you off guard and makes you think, study, and analyze the meaning.

At the time, I had no idea it was a quote from Mark Twain. The author of the devotion was talking about taking the initiative to do something, rather than waiting for someone else to go first. In other words, take action. Do what it takes to reach your goal. Try something new. If what you’re doing isn’t working, do something different. Create a new strategy. Climb out on that limb. The bottom line is: get off your duff and out of your comfort zone.

Changing is Not Easy
Now, I’m certainly stepping on my own toes. I love people, but I’m basically a shy, task-driven, creature of habit. My life is dictated by notes, lists, and schedules. When my routine is interrupted, it throws my world out of kilter. No matter how much I desire to be flexible and spontaneous, it’s not in my DNA. You Star War fans will understand that when I move out of my comfort zone, there is a disturbance in the force.

But there’s the rub. If I stay safe and secure in my little self-made box and never venture beyond the parameters I’ve set for myself, I will never experience all the blessings and opportunities God has in store for me.

We all have areas where we feel more comfortable and confident. My sweet spot is in my office in front of my computer, writing or helping polish the words of another writer. 

The first time I spoke to a large audience many years ago, I was petrified. Teaching Sunday school and Bible study was a close second. Definitely outside the box for me, but the more s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g I experienced, the easier it became.

When I first started writing, I never dreamed God had plans for me to be an editor, or teach classes and meet with conferees at writers’ conferences. My first written words were non-fiction, and it never crossed my mind that I would soon be writing fiction. When asked to write a devotion for kids, a short story for a Christmas compilation, and enter a writing contest, it was uncharted territory, but I gained so much from the experience.

God Has a Plan
God’s plans for each of us are generally more wonderful and diverse than we can ever imagine. So, my questions for you today as a writer are:
  • What are you most comfortable writing about?
  • What are you most passionate about?
  • Are you willing to follow that passion?
  • When was the last time you stepped outside your comfort zone and tried something different?

The Opportunities are Endless
In this day and time of superior technology—the Internet, social media, blogs, e-books, e-zines, and online groups—there are so many opportunities for writers. Some of those include:
  • Speaking
  • Teaching
  • Mentoring
  • Devotions
  • Magazine articles
  • Newspaper articles
  • Blogging
  • Guest blog posts
  • Anthologies
  • Contests
  • Leading a critique group
  • Mentoring a new writer
  • Promoting other writers
  • Writing book reviews (blogs, Amazon, Goodreads)
  • Sharing encouraging and helpful social media posts

The list goes on and on. We are already midway through 2015, but I challenge you to try something new. Pray for direction, seek out opportunities, then crawl out on that limb and reach for the fruit. And don’t be afraid to fall or fail. When you write for God, He will be there to catch you. You never know what might be waiting for you around the bend in the road until you take that next step of faith.

What opportunities can you add to the list above? We would love to hear from you.

(Photos courtesy of and



  1. Andrea,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. As you described yourself, it sounded like you were describing me. We have much in common as far as personality type. I appreciate your encouragement to try something new--to step out in faith. I'll be praying about God's next step for my writing.

    Blessings to you in Christ,

    1. Thanks for sharing, Emily. I'm such a creature of habit, it's hard for me to step out and try new things. My comfort zone is just that . . . comfortable. But I can think of many, many times that God has blessed me when I was willing to step out in faith and do something He was leading me to do. Blessings to you too! :)

  2. Replies
    1. You're welcome, Deborah. We all need them from time to time. :)


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