Kia Ora everyone. Rob here.
For several months now, David and I have been working on a book, based on the prodigal son story in Luke 15. It’s a book we’re excited about and are keen to run retreats and workshops based on it. Watch this space! For a long time though, we were making very little progress. Honestly speaking, I was making very little progress. I was surprised at how hard it was. After all, I love the parable and can never stop talking about it and I love to write about things that are close to my heart. Why then was it so hard to put this book together? Another way of asking the question is, why did I expect it to be easier than it was?
What I realise now is that if God has put a dream in your heart, then you need to walk with God in order for it to happen in the way God intended. The book isn’t our dream. It’s God’s dream for us. For myself, I didn’t realise the level of writer’s fatigue that I had after doing my Master’s thesis. I still enjoyed writing these blogs but I couldn’t get my head around another long-term project like a book. I needed a break. I also didn’t realise when I started, just how different a book is to my other forms of writing. Blogs and sermons are different to books. What I thought was a chapter was merely a point made. I needed to learn how to frame a point more thoroughly like my favourite writers do. Most of all I needed to write more prayerfully. “God, what is it you want me to say, and how do you want me to say it?” Dependence and trust is always where God leads us to. The process is now leading to productivity and we look forward to sharing the book with you before too long.
There’s a bigger point to all of this though. Subconsciously I believe I was thinking something like this; “God has put this book into my mind and heart, God has given me the ability to write, therefore, God will make this process quick and easy!” After following Christ for many years, I should know better. It never works like that! The final product is not God’s goal. It is merely a means to develop our character, to enhance our trust and grow our dependence. The book isn’t the point. Walking with God in writing the book is the point. I’ve had to learn how to walk with him when I had no words, when I didn’t want to write, when He didn’t want me to write, when interruptions came, when a season of putting it down was needed and so on. There are some things that are disciplines, that you just have to do. This wasn’t and isn’t one of those things. Every Monday (book day) I have to ask, God what do you want me to do today, and try and get myself out of the way, knowing that God has my heart.
The book isn’t finished. There’s some more to say, editing to be done and the final product to be formed, but God is leading that too. So I ask you: where in your life are you needing to walk with God closely at the moment? Maybe it’s in parenting, maybe it’s walking with God in a new season of life, maybe it’s doing up an old chevy or building a deck. Whatever it is, God wants to do it with you. He wants to be invited in so he can speak to our hearts in that space. He wants to use the process to develop our characters and deepen our trust.
Enjoy your project and may God dwell with you richly in it.