"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Discerning God's Will

Recently, I stayed in a hotel in Hayes Kansas on my return trip from Aunt Sallie’s funeral. I opened facebook and a couple of ads in the margin of the wall caught my eye. These had to do with getting published.

Some of you have encouraged me to consider organizing the content of this blog into a book. I have to admit, my introverted personality likes the idea of writing a great deal. What a way for a naturally retiring guy to contribute to the Kingdom!

So I did some minor revisions, rearranged the order, and sent about 15 of the posts off to a couple of publishers who do not require a literary agent to look at your work. Recently, I heard back from one of them, and they offered me a contract on the manuscript, working title “On the Road Home.” This is the very moment for which aspiring writers pray!

The thing is, these writings do not belong to me. They are God’s first, and the reader’s second. So I ran this by some people I trust, soliciting prayer for guidance and discernment. Each one was encouraging, and most understood the dilemma.

A rookie author is lucky if his published book actually hits a bookstore shelf. It may be available on Amazon and other internet cyber-stores, but the exposure of the book is generally pretty limited. This blog on the other hand is read by about to 1,000 of you per month and in over 30 countries. While it would be neat to have a book to hand to people as another tool, there are the readers of the blog to be concerned about. And the publisher owns the material, so the blog would have to be overhauled (at least), or removed (at most).

A particular man I respect greatly summarized it kindly, “You are on solid ground spiritually no matter what you do here. You are contributing to the Kingdom.”

I talked with some local bookstore managers, and they were encouraging about stocking the book, and were willing to consider signings. I went through my photographs of Colorado scenery and selected 15 of them, editing them for possible use in the book. Late last week, I asked the publisher for a contract to review and sign.

I actually tried to open the signature page to the contract and had some difficulty. So, I started looking at the blog and doing some revisions. I really hoped to keep the same number of blog posts, making revisions on the posts used in the book, so that the blog would remain intact. I revised several of them. However, they seemed lifeless and flat. I began to feel a sense of grief.

It was as if I were deciding to malnourish this flourishing newborn blog. A closer look at the publishing contract revealed that it is prohibited to publish the book, or revisions thereof, in any media for the duration of the contract. It was just not going to be possible to keep the blog alive and publish the book.

Then a peace settled in. I knew beyond a doubt what would please the Father most. I will wait for a time and nourish the blog as I have been. Possibly, in a year or so, when there are 50+ posts, and these are old and neglected, it will have minimal impact on the blog to cut some from the deck. If the opportunity is not there in a year, I will have no regrets.

If I am not writing for my own profit, benefit or ego, it comes down to this: “Which path will take more territory for the King?” Decision made. Peace comes. Now, on to the next opportunity!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding, but in all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5

"Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:1-2

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