I’ve never been much of a planner. When writing, I rarely outline the story. I do eventually make a timeline of sorts, once I get into it, but that’s about it. I love the excitement of not knowing where I’m going.
Both in writing and in life, this can have some interesting consequences. Many times I’ve ended up in places I would never have even thought about, let alone planned for. When I was travelling in Portugal many years ago, for instance, I was sitting by a fountain looking at a map when a young man approached and asked what I was looking for. I told him I wanted to go to the Castle of San Jorge. He offered to take me there. Yes, I did hesitate for a moment, but, being a rather naïve university student at the time, I agreed. The young man said he would take me a way that no tourists would normally go. That sounded exciting.
It wasn’t until I found myself in the oldest part of Lisbon, moving through streets so narrow the sun did not reach them, and surrounded by loitering men, dirty, raucous children and old women cooking on open braziers, that I realized perhaps I should have thought more carefully before saying yes. All was well in the end, we ascended a steep stone stairway and emerged into bright sunlight, at the gates of the castle.
It was only in looking back at that time that I realized what a risk I had taken. And I thank the Lord for His protection. I was of the mindset that I could take such risks because I believed God would protect me. Perhaps I should have remembered an old Irish proverb – “Trust God but don’t dance in a small boat!”
In life, as in writing, it is wise to be at least a little bit prudent in planning for the future. Yes, God will lead and direct and we should trust Him, but we should also realize that He gave us a mind with which to think, and plan. This doesn’t mean that we make plans and than ask God to bless them, but rather that we open our minds, our eyes and our ears to see and hear what God might be planning for us. If we are attentive, we will discover that He is leading and guiding in all aspects of our lives, confirming the direction in many ways.
When I get an idea, in life, or in writing, I let it sit for a while, watch for further direction and advice that might come from other believers, or from the reading of God’s word, or some other reliable source. Then I move forward in faith and confidence and see where He will take me.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).
As we move into 2018, why not discover the excitement of not knowing where you’re going?