One of the first Bible passages I learned as a child was Proverbs 3:5-6, where God encourages us to trust him and follow his guidance as we make the decisions that impact our lives. Because trust must be earned, I’d like to use a recent example from my life—publishing my debut novel—to show how God’s promise plays out in real life and to point to God’s unwavering integrity and faithfulness. He is worthy of our trust.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart. The vision for the novel suddenly came to me during a church service over five years ago. The only reason I didn’t dismiss the idea immediately was because I believed it came from God. How could I be so sure? Thanks to what I describe as the conviction of the Holy Spirit—sometimes you just know. Okay, so I didn’t have one hundred percent certainty, but I had enough confidence to take the first step of faith in the direction God was leading.
I would have never started on the journey of writing a novel without first trusting that God had directed me and would guide me every step of the way. However, my faith didn’t stay at the same level throughout the process. I encountered many doubts and almost gave up countless times. Fortunately, God always sent enough encouragement to keep me going—usually through a timely conversation, an encouraging word I read, or an event that moved me forward along the path.
And lean not on your own understanding. I would have never written a novel if I had relied on human reasoning. As soon as the idea entered my mind, it was countered by numerous arguments as to why I was the wrong person to even entertain such a crazy idea. But as the Bible declares, God’s ways are not our ways, and his thoughts are not our thoughts. Whatever he says (especially his commands) will immediately be opposed by human logic, and we then have a choice to make—who do we trust more, and who will we follow?
This doesn’t mean God doesn’t want us to use the mind he’s given us. In the case of writing a novel, I knew I had a lot to learn (well, everything to learn). As a result, I sought out advice, read loads of books, listened to podcasts, took online courses, and attended writers’ conferences. And I still have a long way to go.
In all your ways submit to him. There can be only one car driver at a time. Two people fighting over the steering wheel will only lead to disaster. It’s the same when it comes to our lives, and since God is the only one who can see the road ahead (i.e., the future), it’s to our advantage to let him drive.
God guides us in big and small areas, but we only benefit if we follow his guidance. I was perusing the book table at one of the writers’ conferences when a book caught my attention because it had a cat on the cover (yes, I have a weakness for cats). I picked it up, and a voice whispered in my mind, Buy this book. Being the discerning person that I am, I put the book down and walked away. This time, the voice turned into a shout, Buy this book! Unable to ignore it any longer, I spun around and marched right back to make the purchase. The book contained practical advice on what makes a good novel, and no other decision has had a greater impact on my writing.
And he will make your paths straight. God gives the incredible promise that if we follow his guidance, he will open the way before us so that we can make forward progress. He’s not saying we won’t experience problems and difficulties—many biblical passages warn that we’ll encounter all sorts of troubles—but he promises to be with us and help us overcome whatever stands in our way. God’s involvement rarely takes the form of a dramatic parting of the Red Sea (although it does occur) but is in the simple process of putting one foot in front of the other, one step at a time.
As I look back at the last five years, I see how God has straightened my paths to be able to write a novel and then find a publisher to get it published. At every phase of the journey, he sent the right people or necessary information to help me advance to the next stage. This process is far from over. I’m discovering that writing a book is much easier than selling it! All I can do is be faithful to his calling and trust that he’ll go ahead of me as I follow his lead.
Isn’t God amazing? May my experience encourage you to trust the Lord with all your decisions. We don’t know what the future holds, but God wants to be by our side, guiding us safely along the treacherous path. It’s to our benefit to follow him.