Sample Section from “The PAC Method for Writers: How Prayer, Attitude and Confidence Can Lead You to a Successful Writing Career”
Foreword by Amy M. Bartlett,
Author of Be Still America…I Am God
Imagine a far greater degree of strength and capability exists to be found. Imagine discovering you not only have so much higher to aim, but that there is a greater confidence and even talent to be found in the center of the challenge. Imagine what has not been seen…and prepare to pursue it.
The insight shared in this collection goes beyond the craft of writing. I recently spent five days at a writer’s conference in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains and the running joke was “we’re not really here to talk about writing.” It was true. Though we spent the typical thirteen hours a day in workshops under various literary titles, general sessions to inspire the heart behind the hope, and kept right on pursuing the art over our plastic trays in the cafeteria, it was never truly about writing at the core.
The secrets of any craft well done, especially when discussed according to God’s formulas and standards, double as secrets to life.
No matter what the industry, it is not necessary to have all the right knowledge or credentials; not with God behind the wheel. Definitely aim there-work as hard as you can to find out how things function, sharpen your skills and put the abilities you acquire into fine-tuned action. But do not let apparent boundaries or a lack of knowledge, experience or confidence halt you. The common barriers and closed doors are helpless against God’s plans and purposes.
Raise your hand (now follow me here) if you’ve ever felt inadequate, ill-equipped to reach the heights you’ve imagined or less than secure in unfolding your work to the judging eye of the world. Raise your hand if you feel unprepared or unsure of whether you even have any ability in your area of interest. Raise your hand if you have felt insufficient or hesitant, wondered if it is actually going to work or whether the words-or the chance-will simply disappear. If your hand is raised, (yes even just your mental hand), then welcome to the winner’s circle, my friend.
Our plans and abilities on their own are weak. Even if you are one of the few who never felt the first twinge of any of the above, your greatest confidence is still less than what God could do with what He’s given you.
Our passions and imaginations are so small when compared to the size of the possibility of Him in every endeavor. I am not dismissing those passions and imaginations as insignificant. On the contrary, they are also gifts from God. They are essential. But they are only the seed-and how much smaller the seed than the redwood that breaks the earth to stand for centuries.
When you do not feel ready, entirely capable or 100% clear on what the task is at hand, good. Have confidence in God and His plans. His power and intentions are what hold the worth. His message through your life is what no one else has to offer.
Quite consistently, most success stories come with a string of “no ways” from the long, battered road. Not just discouragement, but messages that it will never work, or the work is not good enough, or not right, and that you are not able. Platinum record sellers boast of all the times they were told they couldn’t hold a tune-or marvel at their own initial tentativeness or embarrassment when they shared that soon-to-be-number-one-hit with the first listener or reader.
Rejection letters are framed and the stories told with enjoyable gusto. Left Behind, the New York Times best-selling series (even more astounding an accolade for a Christian publication), was originally turned down by one of the largest publishers in the Christian Industry. But they did not stop. If they made it to their goal-or surpassed their goal-it is an irrefutable understanding that they persisted.
It is a common thread of those behind great, effective successes. Simple tenacity. Everyone faces similar brick walls, confrontations and refusals. Call it whatever you want-stick-to-itiveness, perseverance, stubbornness-but the secret is that these things are not the talent. They are merely a decision. Decide.
Do not sit around and wait for the feeling of security. Leap! Some of time’s greatest stories began with a leap of faith, and some of our history’s greatest heroes struggled with an incomparable lack of confidence.
Abraham had no idea where he was going. God just told him to go. So he went. Jesus told the multitudes to sit down long before they knew that He was about to perform a miracle of provision. So they sat. You? Just pick up a pen-or whatever your tool-and lean not on your own understanding.
For another detailed example of the secret strengths and understandings with which a leader is gifted, read a comprehensive biography of Abraham Lincoln. Here was a man besought with his own weakness, especially when pitted against the size of what he was called, as a man, to do; the time and task he was faced with. Fear was his nemesis. It was the perfect formula of, “when I am weak, He is strong.” You might find much of yourself in the concerns of this man who so humbly changed history while struggling with a feeling of great inadequacy. One guarantee, you will find that the strength to which he held fast, is the same One available to you today, intended for much the same purposes in this world.
There is another favorite story of a young boy who was both shunned and ridiculed by his small town. His only crime was being born out of wedlock. He hid most of the time, staying home, fearing school and sitting in the back pew of church trying to remain unseen until he could duck out before the service ended.
One day, enjoying the service too much perhaps, he lingered too long and got caught in the throng of the exiting congregation. At the door the pastor halted him and said, “Who are you, son? Whose boy are you?” The crushing weight of embarrassment and frustration was about to settle in when the preacher continued with a smile, “Wait a minute, I know who you are. I see the family resemblance. You are a son of God.”
It was that one simple message that changed the path of an entire life. That, added to the preacher’s final declaration, “Boy, you’ve got a great inheritance. Go and claim it.” This child was Ben Hooper. When he tells the story today, he tells it as the Governor of Tennessee.
You’ve got a great inheritance. Even if it’s as simple as peace in your life, joy in your heart, confidence in your work and a voice that makes a difference. Some will become the Governor that Ben Hooper grew to be, figuratively or perhaps literally. Others will become the pastor that made governors out of the small and hurting. Between the two tasks, it’s impossible to chose one as more worthy.
Both are perfect and beautifully designed by God to interweave. Our lives are built to build one another up and, together, to depend on His strength as the story unfolds.
Go and be a governor of your task, or make governors of men. Go and be what God designed. Focus not on limitations, or your own ideas of how it should work, or how far along you should be. Aim only for this: Be what God has in mind. It may seem like you’re under-shooting at first. But even when we aim for the pinnacle, it’s so small a height compared to His knowledge, His imagination and His plan for you.
Let Him take you to His heights. Aim higher than the highest point without a moment of fear or timidity. Approach the throne boldly. Aim with prayer, attitude and confidence. Aim for Him.
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