About Maureen Lang

Author of a dozen novels, Maureen Lang has won the Selah Award, a Holt Medallion, FHL's Reader's Choice Award, and been a finalist in such contests as the Christy, the Rita, the Carol, Book Buyer's Best, and others. Before publication she was the recipient of a Golden Heart and a Genesis (then called the Noble Theme). She resides with her husband and kids in the Chicago area. Titles by Maureen Lang All In Good Time Bees In The Butterfly Garden Springtime Of The Spirit Whisper On The Wind Look To The East My Sister Dilly On Sparrow Hill The Oak Leaves Remember Me Pieces Of Silver

Is it my whim or God’s Will?

I’m often either asked this question or have discussed this with other Christians. With so many gray areas in life—where doing a variety of things would fall inside the will of God—we long to know the choice God would have us make. What’s the best path?

 

I’ve met a number of aspiring writers who wrestle with this issue, too. Many people “have a book in them.” Perhaps they start writing as an experiment to see if they can really get some words down on paper. At this point it’s more of a whim. Some people give up relatively quickly; they find the idea of writing more fun than writing. They never make it a priority, letting other interests in life take precedence. For them, writing is probably a whim.

 

But there are others who find writing exhilarating. They delight in exploring and expressing what’s on their heart, something they’re certain will benefit others. At some point they become convinced God is blessing their efforts, and they want to share what they’ve written on a larger scale, often through publication.

 

So at this point does it cease being a whim and become something they’re just beginning to realize was God’s will all along? Has God called them to be a writer?

 

I’ve heard it said there are only three answers to our prayers: Yes, No, or Wait. But even when we get clear answers, the results aren’t always what we expect.

 

Sometimes when we think God is leading us in one direction and we come upon a closed door, we might think that means No. For example, if publication doesn’t happen is God saying no to your writing efforts? Every writer I know, regardless of how talented, has been rejected in one way or another. I know one writer who worked toward publication for twenty years. How many of us would have given up on a goal long before that?

 

I’m in the midst of a wonderful Beth Moore Bible Study right now, and one of the personal examples she gave included how she seeks God’s will for her own life. They include these ideas:

Begin by making a really specific prayer request. Don’t be shy when asking God for direction!

 

Look to Scripture for an answer. The Bible is how God talks to us these days. It’s always amazing to see how timeless the Bible is; people who lived two or three thousand years ago really aren’t much different, at least on the inside, than we are today.

 

Ask God to help us recognize the answer. Staying in the habit of being in continual communication with God is always a good idea!

 

Ask God for confirmation.

 

Did you notice a couple things? All of these steps demand a certain amount of time, as well as a lot of prayer.

 

I would add one more thing. I’ve always thought it a good idea to consult other trusted Christian friends. With writers, it’s important that we seek outside input with our projects—from trusted and experienced eyes. Is the input from others confirming the direction we feel led to take?

 

So what kind of methods do you use to determine whether your next project, the next turn in life, the choices you make, would be a whim or God’s will for you to follow?

Can You See Your Lion?

Recently I read that antelopes in captivity are not only healthier, but more reproductive when they can see and smell lions, their primary predator. I found such an observation fascinating. Does that mean a bit of stress makes an antelope’s life better?

Which of course led me to consider what a completely stress-free life would look like. Heaven? Or . . . boring? Evidently the antelopes are in the second camp. So boring, in fact, they find little reason to live a productive life without a reminder of some of life’s challenges.

As an author, I took some odd comfort in that. What writer, at any stage in their career, lives without stress? Maybe stress, at least in a manageable dose, isn’t such a bad thing after all.

Let’s face it, if getting published—or staying published—was stress-free then everyone would be doing it. But it’s neither easy nor stress-free. While the self-esteem movement wants everyone to be a winner (and undoubtedly there is something good about reminding us of our value) the bottom line is all of us do lose at one time or another. What accomplishment can we celebrate if every time we set out to do something we succeeded? Either our bar is too low or we’re fooling ourselves, because grown ups face disappointment all the time. In fact, overcoming stress and the accompanying feeling of failure make our successes all the sweeter.

All of this has me considering stress in a new light. I’m not saying all stress is good, or too much stress is good. Maybe there’s a difference between good stress and bad stress, although to an antelope I can’t figure out what’s good about having a lion in the neighborhood. Maybe if we don’t have some lions to look at in our distance—a reminder of the challenges that are out there—we might not have a reason to grow and improve. Maybe without those lions looming we might not even want to get up in the morning.

So next time you’re rushing to meet a deadline, or you receive a rejection, a disappointing contest result or a bad review, remind yourself without these lions in your life, living would be too dull to matter. At least that’s what the antelopes think.

What about you? Is there a fine line between good stress and bad? At what point do the lions in your life make you want to try harder, grow and improve before feeling there are too many lions in your life?

Note: Lion Photo compliments of Amanda Neilson, Neilson House Photography