By Andrea Merrell
Are you a risk-taker? I’m not talking about being a daredevil or doing dangerous stunts, simply someone who has the courage and ambition to try new endeavors.
I’ll have to admit, I’m not very adventurous. I like to play it safe, staying well inside my comfort zone. But one morning during my quiet time with the Lord, I was reading my daily devotional from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young and it addressed this very subject:
Be willing to go out on a limb with Me. If that is where I am leading you, it is the safest place to be. Your desire to live a risk-free life is a form of unbelief. Your longing to live close to me is at odds with your attempt to minimize risk. You are approaching a crossroads in your journey. In order to follow me wholeheartedly, you must relinquish your tendency to play it safe.
Going out on that proverbial limb can be scary but as Sarah Young so aptly puts it, if that’s where God is leading, it’s the “safest place to be.”
Everyone has that dreaded fear of the unknown to some degree. Some push past it easily and take the plunge, while those of us who want to know exactly what’s ahead tend to hold back and wait for a clear signal.
I can tell you that the times I have moved out of my comfort zone and taken that leap of faith, God has been right there, holding my hand and guiding my steps. There is no greater satisfaction or fulfillment than being obedient and walking in our calling.
So, my question for you on this first day of the New Year is are you ready to take a risk? Are you willing to make a commitment to move forward in 2018 and do those things you’ve been shying away from?
Attend a Writers’ Conference
Maybe you’ve never attended a writers’ conference. My first one was a bit overwhelming because I didn’t know exactly what to expect. But it was the catalyst that God used to propel me into the writing career He had planned for me. This is where you begin to learn the basics, grow in the craft, build your network and platform, and meet the most amazing people you will ever meet.
Join a Critique Group
Perhaps you’re hesitant to get involved in a critique group. Putting your words—your baby—out there for feedback from others can be very intimidating. This is where we have to develop what some call a writer’s rhino skin. Accept your critique with grace and don’t take it personally. It will only make you a better writer.
How about that blog you’ve been meaning to launch? Maybe you’re blogging but need to be more consistent. Could it be that your website needs a face lift?
Is there a contest you’d like to enter? Don’t put it off. Go for it.
Has an editor or publisher requested material from you? You’d be surprised how many times we ask for a proposal or chapters from a writer and never get them. If you’re given that open door, walk through it.
Afraid of social media? I was at one time, but it’s a necessary tool for writers. Just remember it’s not all about promoting yourself or your books—it’s about building relationships. Use what you have, and build as you go. Promote others whenever you can. Use the law of sowing and reaping.
Just Do It
Write that devotion or article. Contact other bloggers and ask if you can be a guest on their blog, or invite them to be a guest on your blog. Inquire about speaking engagements. Finish your manuscript. Whatever you’ve been putting off, now is the time to do it.
It’s a New Year. Instead of dwelling on the past, look to the future. As you make your to-do list for 2018, pray for guidance and creative ideas. Add a few items that will require you to climb out on that limb, knowing God will be right there with you.
But what if it doesn’t work? you might be thinking. But what if it does? We never know until we try. I’ve always heard it said that we will end up regretting the things we didn’t do more than the things we did. Pastor and author Bob Gass puts it this way: "The only way to know you've discovered your niche is to try things, take risks, learn from your failures and successes, and discover what God has gifted you to do."
Are you willing to take a risk?
What can you add to the list? Is there something in particular you’ve been struggling with but want to step out in faith? We would love to hear from you.
Alycia and I would like to wish you
a blessed and prosperous New Year!
(Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Stuart Miles.)