Following the Road Signs

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I’m good at telling people where to go, although I know not everyone appreciates being told what they can or cannot do.

On our recent Christmas trip we encountered many highway signs. Some told us what we couldn’t do, like exceed a specific speed, while others were very helpful. We didn’t appreciate signs that told us to reduce speed for construction ahead, especially when there was no construction. Or to merge lanes when that meant being stuck behind a slow moving transport truck.

But we liked the safety aspect of knowing that there were deer in the area that might bolt across the highway, and to be prepared because there were no gas stations ahead for several miles. It was comforting to know which junction to take when highways intersected, and exactly how many miles were between us and our destination. And it’s always good to know the clearance under an overpass, particularly if you’re driving a large RV.

My hubby says I’m a very efficient navigator when our travels require map-reading and following directions.  I wish my ability stretched to also knowing exactly how to proceed in my journey as a writer.

Wouldn’t it be nice if God placed bold signs that said, “This is the direction you need to go right now,” “Prepare yourself for a six-month (or six-year) journey,” “There’s a rough patch ahead but it’s a smooth ride after that?”

God does give us guidelines and signposts, but they aren’t quite as obvious as highway signs. Just as the Department of Highways expects responsible drivers to watch for and obey their signs, so God expects us to search out his guidance and follow it, whether it’s for everyday situations or our writing endeavours.

I think I’ve been waiting for him to slip easy-to-decipher instructions under my nose, when it’s pretty clear I’m suppose to take some action… make an effort to search out his directives and follow them. This road to publication is a one-foot-in-front-of-the-other kind of journey, not a taxi ride.

Okay, God. I get it. Querying, here I come!

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Have you ever found yourself immobilized because you didn’t know where to start in the querying process?  How did you get over the uncertainty about taking that first step?

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“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” [Proverbs 3:5]
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Thus says the Lord, Your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you by the way you should go.” [Isaiah 48:17]
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Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that you may do the will of God and receive what is promised. [Hebrews 10:35]

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9 thoughts on “Following the Road Signs

  1. Judith Robl says:

    It is a jerky journey, this writing road. I thank God that we don’t travel without him. Love your scripture references. You bring out just what I need when I need it.

    • careann says:

      Thanks, Judith. Yes, I wouldn’t want to be traveling it alone. Between God’s guidance and the support of online friends like you, it’s a much smoother journey than it would otherwise be.

  2. Carol, I am so glad to be back from my two week break. Missed your sage words and your great photos! I think what happens is that the “signs” are there … it just takes time and patience to learn how to read them. Been on the other side of the mountain, looking up and not having the courage to make the ascent. Queries are less frightening when we actually “do” them and not fret over them. It begins this month with a submission to a lit. small press with a novella and continues with the submission of my first pages and query to agents and a major press. No more looking up and thinking how far I have to travel because now I’m on the road and focused on each step … over the rocky slide and around the next clump of trees. It feels to get moving. Great success with your journey 🙂

    • careann says:

      I’m just back from a two-week break, too, Florence. I think you’re right that it’s much less daunting to just get on with the task rather than think too much about it. I get hung up on things like is the work ready to submit, where’s the best place to submit it, is the query letter adequate, etc. I end up going back and doing another round of checking. One step forward and three backward!

      Glad to hear your journey is well under way. 🙂

  3. joylene says:

    The nice thing about being a human being is even if you don’t want to participate ir interact, you still do regardless. Try deciding to never get out of bed again. Works until you have to use the bathroom. Try not speaking to another soul … until you do without thinking.

    God has given me some huge obstacles to overcome, but He also taught me one very important lesson. A few minutes every day of “not thinking” gives Him a chance to cleanse my soul. It’s quite wonderful and I highly recommend it.

    Blessings, Carol. Glad you’re back.

    • careann says:

      Just found your comment tucked away in my spam folder for some reason! Silly Akismet!

      I like your “not thinking” suggestion. I do something like that when I need to clear away chaotic thoughts and make room to hear His voice. I close my eyes and use my mind to see a sky of black velvet, then focus on the “Be still and know that I am God” verse. It doesn’t often result in any great revelations, but it’s calming.

  4. planaquarium says:

    What a perfect analogy – I’ve often been at a crossroads and wished God would just spell out His plan on a billboard! But finding slowly that His signs are often hidden in His word and the words of those around me….if I just listen the right way.

    • careann says:

      Yes, those billboard moments don’t seem to come along very often, do they? But God does reveal his will and guidance if we’re willing to search and listen carefully. I also realize I have to accept he has a right time to reveal his answers, and his timing doesn’t necessarily coincide with mine.

  5. Hi Carol –

    I’ve often queried too soon. I remember bringing my 55,000 word manuscript (first draft) to a writers conference and being told I needed 80-100,000 words.

    Welcome home! I hope you enjoyed Christmas and New Year’s.

    Blessings,
    Susan 🙂

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