Writing

When “The Plan” Does Not Go According to Plan

Blog Title on wooden fence background by Denise M. Colby When the plan does not go according to plan

I think this title says it all! When “The Plan” does not go according to plan. Have you ever felt this way? I have. I’m a planner at heart, so I run into this, A Lot! So here’s my story right now.

I have had many “plans” over the past year for my website, my blog, and my writing and most of it has NOT gone according to plan.

  • I had plans to update my website
  • I had plans to have more blog posts each month
  • I had plans to have my newsletter completed and emailed out to a list of willing readers

Don’t get me wrong. I still have those plans. And that’s the thing. For me, right now, it’s not necessarily the plans I wrote down, but the timing of those plans that changed. And honestly, I’m okay with that. Now. But I wasn’t at the time. I’ve been frustrated with myself for not being able to get them done when I wanted to get them done.

Recently, I have realized that those were “my plans” and in hindsight, I can now see the way things have unfolded may not have been my plan, but very much “God’s Plan” for me.

Recently, I have realized that those were “My Plans”.

Denise M. colby

Several reasons, that I only can see now, include all the other “things” that needed to fall into place before I got to the things on my list. (And also the fact that I had too much on my plate, and my health and my family needed to come first.) For a long time I couldn’t see that. But now…

That’s what hindsight is all about

Something we can learn from.

So, what’s the lesson?

Something I’m still learning (and will continue to do so because it is one of the hardest things for me to do) is to let go and trust God when things don’t go the way I want them to.

Let go and let God be in charge, quote by Denise M. Colby with old wooden fence background

Ironically, this is actually one of the themes in my book I’m working on. We all make plans. And we think we are on the right track with those plans. But we sometimes run into road blocks or challenges that prevent us from making progress or change the outcome of some of those plans.

That’s what my heroine, Olivia, runs into over and over.

She has a lot of stuff happen to her. So much so, she has to let go of her past and reinvent herself and plan out a new future. And she’s doing it all without any help from God. At least, that’s what she believes.

But just like in our own lives, God is behind the scenes orchestrating something so much bigger and beautiful for Olivia. Something she would never be able to do on her own.

Sometimes we have to learn to get out of the way and trust God. We may not know what the future holds but by trusting in Him we can have faith to take things one day at a time and know we are where He wants us to be at that moment.

God's way of going about it is so much better than our own, quote by Denise M. Colby, text over wooden fence background

Sure it’s good to have goals and plans of the things we want to work toward. I think that part is important. But I also think that sometimes God’s way of going about it is so much better than our own.

And we don’t know that until our plans have to change

So here I am, many many many months later finally posting a blog post. And I have plans. Big plans. To write more. To post more. And to share with you more. Words of encouragement to help inspire and give you hope. Words of enrichment to learn new things. And words that we can engage in so that we can support, uplift and show love to one another.

If you are interested in signing up for my nonexistent newsletter to receive in the near future (hopefully) go here to sign up. You will receive a free poem I wrote, titled When God Calls, Go.

And for the novel I’m still editing? It has had several different titles over the past few years all related to plans changing, so I’ll leave you with a few verses from the Bible on the topic:

A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” – Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29: 11 

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

Hebrews 10:36 36

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21 text on background

I am part of a writers blog called A Slice Of Orange. I have been writing blog posts monthly now for over a year. My particular blog posts on the 12th of every month. You can find links to those posts here, or for all my archived posts click here. In my August post, I wrote about real life turning points and how big ones have impacted me this year. The topic dives into the “why” my plans didn’t quite happen the way I planned and a first-hand view as to what plans are emerging now. It’s titled Tracking Real Life Turning Points

First Line Fridays

First Line Fridays-1.5.18

It’s First Line Friday time!  This week it’s a line from a book I’m currently reading titled:

the story of WITH

A Better Way to Live, Love, & Create

by Allen Arnold

the story of with

This book blends storytelling and teaching, fusing allegory with application to help deepen your identity, intimacy and imagination with God.  I’m in the middle of it, so the entire impact is unclear, but already it’s spoken to my heart several times – with the evidence in how I have marked several sections to go over again.  I’ve even pulled my 2018 word for the year from this book.  It lodged itself inside my heart and left no room for discussing any other options no matter how hard I tried.

So here’s the first line.  Drumroll please…….

Mia wished her father could be with her in this moment, but she had to get through this on her own.

In return, I hope you will share the first line from any book you choose in the comments below.

And then head on over to First Line Friday

Happy Reading,

Denise

General, God Inspired Musings, Writing Journey

Where Is Your Confidence?

This morning I was reading in 2 Corinthians and the following verse made me stop and pause, so I wrote it down on my handy 3×5 index card for future reference:

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.     2 Corinthians 3:5

I want to be a writer. Notice I said I want to, not I am. I’ve only been writing things for over twenty years – either marketing copy or fiction stories. No matter which, the reality is I struggle with believing in myself. My takeaway from this verse is God’s telling me if I believe in him, I need to believe in myself.

After getting the kids off to school, I took a walk and the verse rattled around in my head. But for some reason the key word competence turned into the word confidence (I wonder who put that there?). As I mulled around thoughts about confidence, I knew I needed to come home and look up the word in the dictionary.

I love words. Definitions, synonyms – all of it. I also love seeing connections words have with other words.  So here’s what the website http://www.dictionary.com says about

CONFIDENCE: full trust; belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities; self-confidence; self-reliance; assurance:

And I love the example they gave in a sentence: His lack of confidence defeated him.

Is my lack of confidence in my abilities as a writer defeating me? I think about my writing and the nudges I have had over the past five years and I know without a doubt God wants me to do this, otherwise doors would’ve closed on me long ago. However I’m not fully doing what he wants me to do because I have not had the confidence to just do it.

I’ve been saying for a while now, I would like to write devotionals. I have this strong innate desire to share hope, encouragement and God’s Word with others. What I haven’t been sure about is the how and what. So I haven’t done it, period.

When I took my walk this am something clicked and I couldn’t wait to get back home because I needed to do this right now. God has confidence in me. He has given me the desire. He’s nudging me to do this. Why have I not done this? Why?

I’m afraid – that’s why. What am I so afraid of? Putting myself out there? Looking like an idiot? Is that confidence then? I know I’m not looking for accolades, not looking for stardom. I just want to write and share my heart. But I’ve been too scared to do that.

Then I saw the Synonyms for confidence – 1. faith, reliance, dependence.

And the Antonym – 1. mistrust.

Wow! In a nutshell, my lack of confidence in myself (lack of faith) and the abilities God has given me (lack of faith, dependence) are holding me back from sharing something he wants me to share. I’m not really trusting God then, am I? If I have faith, I should have confidence in what he’s asking me to do. And I need to depend on Him when I do it.

So here I am today. Writing a devotional and setting up a specific devotional page on my website. Only God knows what will happen. I just need to have the confidence to do it (already the nagging doubts are creeping in). I must rely on God with the rest.

But wait, there’s more. When I grabbed my Bible to write in the verse, I realized I made a mistake (was it really?) and the word was competence not confidence. Oh no! Do I scrap what I just wrote? Does it even relate? See maybe I shouldn’t be doing this after all. I paused for a moment then decided to look it up:

COMPETENCE: having suitable or sufficient skill, knowledge, experience, etc., for some purpose; properly qualified:

And the Synonym: 1. fit, capable, proficient.

No antonym. Interesting. There is no negative/opposite of being competent.  You either are or you are not. I may not be the best writer, but I know I am proficient. So what am I waiting for?

Then I looked at 2 Corinthians 3:4 Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God.

If God has given you skills – you are capable to use them for his glory. You just need to have the confidence through Him to do it. 

What abilities (competence) has God given you?  Where do you put your confidence?  In your own efforts, schedule, skills, voices in your head? Or do you trust God?  Do you have the confidence to put yourself out there with whatever it is?

God has given us all skills. We are all competent in something. Being competent does not need to mean you are the best at something. Being competent means you are proficient. You can get the job done. We let our own voices tell us we are not competent because we think we need to be the best or someone does it better than us and we let it affect our confidence which in turn affects what we do.    

Everyone’s path is different and God has one he wants you to follow. He has given you these skills for a reason. You just have to have confidence in Him that He is with you every step of the way.

God believes in you and I believe in you too!

General, God Inspired Musings, Writing Journey

Finding Strength

Life is hard, crazy and stressful and in those moments when we search for answers, sometimes God connects things in a way that makes me stop in awe.

The last two years I have chosen a word to focus on.  Hope was my first word in 2015 and Believe was my word in 2016.  For this year I have chosen – STRENGTH – and in searching up verses I am amazed to see how many fit where I am. In my walk with God.  My daily struggles of life.  My writing career.  Everything.

I know I need strength as I begin showing my work to agents, publishers, critique partners, you name it.  I need to be able to take criticism and suggestions and have strength to really hear the recommendations to make me a better writer.  I also want to lean on God’s strength in all aspects of my life.  As I get older, I realize that I can’t do life without him.

There are so many I want to highlight so for me to pick just one is really challenging.  So throughout the year, I will share different ones on my Facebook and Twitter accounts.  Here’s one though, I want to share:

Psalm 119:28 My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.

I love this last one personally.  Many days I feel weary dealing with everyday life.  And I know I’m not alone. I hope that these verses can offer you some comfort as they do to me.

So now that I firmly have my word set for the year, I look forward to seeing how God will use this word to encourage me, bolster me, show me things.  And He will.  Not even a week after I selected STRENGTH, imagine my surprise when my Bible Study book I ordered – Priscella Shearer’s Gideon – came in and the cover had these words: your weakness. Gods strength. Oh how God knows things before we do.  The fact that I’ll be spending six weeks studying God’s strength?  I’m so excited.

I would encourage you to consider selecting a word to focus on.  Write down 3 or 4 that pop in your mind and then look up verses to them.  As you ponder each one, God will let you know what the right one would be.  And I hope that it gives you infinite encouragement in all aspects of your life, just as mine have done for me.

Blessings, Denise

General, God Inspired Musings, Writing Journey

What Word Represents 2016?

Word?

Over the last several years I’ve read articles about people selecting a specific word or phrase that represents the year for them. It could be an area to focus on or something God has put on their heart to study and live out daily throughout the year.

Last year was the first year I selected a word and after several days of listing out different words, I selected the word Hope. It summarized for me where I was in my life – both writing and personal.  I had hope for my writing and where it was leading me, that I wanted to write about hope to offer hope to others, hope for how God would provide for my family, hope for the future and so much more. Several times throughout the year I found myself leaning on that word knowing God wanted me to never lose Hope, making sure it was in the words I wrote and in my actions.  It really did sum up my year when I reflect back. 

So this year I was excited to see what new word would fit me and my life.  I prayed about it and wrote down several words that I felt my heart leaning towards, but one kept coming up more than the others, so for 2016 I selected….. BELIEVE. 

First and foremost I need to BELIEVE in God, believe he will meet my needs, and so on.  I also need to believe I can become a published author, believe I have something worthy to say, believe in this journey God is taking me on, believe in my family and their support, and so much more.

I looked up the word Believe in the bible and there are too many verses to count with the word believe in it, but as I read different ones it became even more clear that this was the right word for me this year.  So many of them spoke to me, specifically: 

Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”  Mark 5:36

“If you can’t?” Said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”  Mark 9:23

Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!  Luke 1:45

Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.  John 7:38

I know without a doubt that this is the word for me this year. The year I’m going to believe in myself to show my work to agents, editors and hopefully become a published author. I just need to believe

I encourage you to take some time to reflect and pray about a word for you for 2016. When we take time to listen to what God wants for us it is amazing how he can encourage and strengthen us in our journey through his Word. 

Let me know what word or words you choose for your focus word this year. 

Blessings to you throughout 2016. 

Denise