Thursday, January 2, 2014

Are You Struggling With Your Writing? Let God Decide Where to Put You!

by Lynn H Blackburn

Several years ago, my dad made a beautiful mirrored coat rack. I had the perfect wall for it and it hung in a place of prominence in my home where it received oohs and ahhs from friends, family, and guests.

Then we moved.

Our new home has an open floor plan with short walls. Most of the long walls are full of windows. There isn't a single spot in the house that made sense for the coat rack. I guess I could have hung it in the dining room. It would've made a great conversation starter, but it also would've made it functionally useless.

So with nowhere to put it, I placed it in a hall closet where it sat unused for six months before I realized I was being an idiot.

Because there was one other spot.

But it was so wrong.

No one but my family would ever see it. It seemed such a waste.

My coat rack doesn't belong there. It's too pretty. Too precious.

Then again, I knew my dad never intended for the coat rack to take up space in a closet.

He intended for me to use it.

So we hung it…In the garage.

Where we've used it every day since.

As I went through this process, I couldn't help but notice the parallels to my writing.

I don't know about you, but when I started writing, it never occurred to me to write anything other than a book. After all, isn't that what real writers do? They write books, make a fortune, buy a cozy bungalow, and churn out more books as they sip coffee and eat scones. Right?

Please don't get me wrong. I'm a big fan of books. Some of my best friends are books.

But as 2014 dawns, I'm wondering if I need to rethink the purpose of my writing. I'm convinced God gifted me with the ability and desire to write and I'm certain He didn't intend for my words to be stored on a hard drive where they won’t do anyone any good.

Maybe there's a book in my future. I'm still working on it. But in the meantime, I can write blog posts, devotions, and articles about whatever God leads me to say.

Then I can leave it up to Him to use as He sees fit.

God may plan for my words to reach thousands. Or He may plan for my words to reach just one.

I'll admit, my pride likes the idea of thousands. After all, we live in a world that focuses on the numbers. Preferably big numbers.

Thankfully, we serve a God who uses everything at His disposal to go after the one lost sheep.

Maybe He's using you.

Or He would, if you'd let Him decide where to put you.

Lynn Huggins Blackburn has been telling herself stories since she was five and finally started writing them down. She blogs about faith, family, and her writing journey on her blog Out of the Boat. Lynn is a member of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild and the Word Weavers, Greenville. She lives in South Carolina where she hangs out with three lively children, one fabulous man, and a cast of imaginary characters who find their way onto the pages of her still unpublished novels. She drinks a lot of coffee.



  1. So true! My daughter once asked how I'd feel if only one person were touched by my writing. I thought about all the hours a day I put into it. Then I thought about the eternity experienced for someone who might have been led to Christ because of something I wrote (in a book or my blog). Suddenly, it didn't feel like wasted time.

  2. Thank you for this post. This hit right where I am and I needed it. Thank you.

  3. This is great but none of the "click to tweet" links are working. Am I doing something wrong?

    1. Unfortunately, ClickToTweet is experiencing issues. It's happening on all the sites that use this service. I'm hoping it will clear up soon! Blessings, E

  4. This is so true! Several years ago, I attended a workshop with James Watkins as the speaker. At the end of the day, he encouraged all of us to go home and pray about our writing. He then told a story about three people who attended one of his workshops. One published a book, the second felt the Lord had called her to write a memoir for her children and grandchildren. The third started a blog and was content to do only that. Each of them were writers, but the Lord took them in different directions.

    Great post!

  5. As the New Year starts this has definitely been on my mind. Especially as the tenth anniversary of my heart attack approaches later this month. I thought I was in God's Will, still feel I was, but he evidently has other plans for me. The heart attack put me on disability and forced me to sell my truck and trailer, when they terminated my Commercial Driver's License. About three years ago my daughter did a blog on a trip she took to Central America. I loved reading it and as I had spent my last year in the Army in Panama it kind of hit home. So I started a blog and 11,000 hits later and being read in over seventy countries it seems totally worth it. Some posts have hardly any readers and others take on a life of their own. The neat thing is I get to share what the Lord has done in my life. Which hopefully may help someone else struggling with a similar issue. Also I get to tell my funny, but serious, truck driving stories. Thanks for reminding me how Blessed my life is.

  6. Great post! I was confronted with that same idea - if my writing only touched one person for God, would I continue? I had to wholeheartedly say yes. I'll never forget the first reader response I received from my first published novella - the reader had been encouraged in her Christian walk. I smiled and said, "That's the one, right, God?" I will tell you from experience to let God put you where He wants you in your writing. It's so much more of an adventure when you do! May God bless our writing efforts this year for His glory.

  7. Lynn! You nailed it! One of the decisions I came to after the Dark Years was that it really didn't matter if my books never sold. God called me to write. I may ask Him why he called me to a ministry I'd failed. I suspect that, for many of us, He'll point to one person and say, "That's the guy I called you to reach. Well done." What more could we ask?

  8. "God may plan for my words to reach thousands. Or He may plan for my words to reach just one." I realized this very thing a couple of years ago and, honestly, it set me free. I absolutely loved this post Lynn and Edie. Thanks.

  9. Thanks. I needed this. Blessings to you in this new year.

  10. Thanks to Edie for allowing me to share here. I'm thrilled to hear how God is speaking to all of you in similar ways! Such great confirmation for this writer's soul. Grace and peace to all of you in 2014!

  11. Thank you, Lynn! I really needed this. I'm working on my 2nd Bible study- I've been working on it for 3 years and keep spinning my wheels. I've been so discouraged.

    God used your post to draw my attention to the comments I've received from readers who were blessed by my first study.

    Will #2 be finished? That's His decision. I should be content to praise Him for the blessings He's giving others through my writing. That's what it's all about.

  12. Wonderful reminder Lynn. Thanks for putting into perspective something God has been showing me. Love the story of the coat rack!!! Thanks to you and Edie for your willingness to always be so transparent :)

  13. Thanks Lynn. I guess a lot of people have been having the same thoughts lately. I just finished writing out my goals and my own reminder about how this should look for me. Your post is a sweet affirmation. Thank you!