Years ago, while I was ignoring God guidance, I picked up a book that promised to help me find my purpose. I was good at all the things that make people poor: Painting, writing stories, investing in large quantities of time playing with my cats, etc. and frustrated that I didn’t have the “real” skills that people liked to tell me I needed (Big clue here – listen to Maker not squawkers). It was written by a very well-known Minister which made me confidant of the wisdom inside.
I didn’t finish it.
Not only did I need to indulge in large amounts of caffeine to keep my eyes open, something didn’t feel right. There was something missing in all of that structure and endless bullet points.
After doing a triple take, I sensed a giant elephant sitting in the midst of this sentence (not a direct quote because I ditched the book when said elephant turned around and glared at me):
“God doesn’t give people signs.”
For God does speak – now one way, now another – though man may not perceive it. Job 33: 14
Now, I don’t think every tiny coincidence is God’s way of giving a thumbs up – that can get dangerous, however, this was a little too structured for the God I knew. After all, He makes some of us very… nontraditional.
I had trouble getting past the fact that this book was written by a very famous, highly respected, sough-after- minister, speaker, and author. Maybe it was me. I was immature in my faith and certainly no bible scholar.
I donated the book and tried to wipe away the bitter residue it left in my mind.
Fast Forward to the millions of creative ways God had since spoken to me. I had forgotten the elephant book. I thought I had finally heard what God had been telling me to do, but still questioned whether now was the right time to write while raising two young children. I debated. I, “hmmmmmmed”, “should I?”
“Now?I better, at least, finish the book I started.
I agonized about a name for the main character.
It had to mean something like “companion” or “good friend.” I finally decided to google “good friend.” On the screen popped my sign. Among several names listed, this one stood out to me loud and clear:
My maiden name. I was blown away. Even though I ultimately chose “Goodwin”(mainly because it is an AWESOME name), I knew right then that God was with me on this project. Sometimes you just need a sign.
In regards to the extremely famous Minister, Speaker, Author, perhaps God speeks to him in a nicely structured outline. But for those of us “artsy” types, that would be like living in a windowless cardboard box. All of us that know God have our own unique relationships with Him – use the formula He gives you.
I have learned two important things from this whole experience.
When writing about God, be sure to put your name on something that is true to the nature of God.
Quit trying to put God in a box. Elephants have been given a bad reputation due to man’s inability to see the big picture. And God doesn’t make anything bad.
Do you have a ministry that stands out from the norm? Feel free to post your links in the comments. Show us your skills.