In late February, I spent several days at the Florida Christian Writers Conference. Although the conference included familiar talks, workshops, and dinners, it felt different than the three I had previously attended.
In my first conference, I didn’t have a clue what I was getting into! Everything about the writing industry was new to me, and I felt overwhelmed by all of it. I knew that I was obeying God’s will, though, so I resolved to learn everything I could about the craft and the industry.
Three years later, I finally started to see results. The industry lingo was no longer foreign but commonplace. Meeting with editors was fun and exciting, instead of scary and worrisome. I even skipped the basic classes I had taken previously and enjoyed more advanced material.
And—the cherry on top—I won my first two writing awards! One was for my children’s book Who is God?, and the second was for my article A Godly Response to the Sins of our Fathers. That article was also selected to be included in an anthology, which will make it my first article in print!
As I think about my writing ministry, I see an image of a tower with a large, firm foundation. I’ve spent three years working on that foundation, and now I’m ready to add the next level. Yes, there are writers who write better or have more of a presence on social media, but I have a solid foundation, and I’m making real progress.
What about you?
Think about where you are in your career, ministry, and relationships. Are you stressed because you don’t know everything there is to know about your job? Are you concerned that you aren’t the perfect mom you always wanted to be?
Don’t worry! No one expects you to be an expert from the start. But you can make progress.
Here are four steps to help you build a firm foundation:
1 – Choose the right cornerstone.
Jesus is the load-bearing cornerstone of the Christian faith. Without Him, nothing can stand. Whether you’re building your career or your family, make sure Jesus is the cornerstone of your foundation. (See Isaiah 28:16.)
2 – Don’t despise small beginnings.
We serve an extravagant God, and yet He often starts small. The earth was created from a thought, the first man from grains of sand, and the Church from a handful of men who followed Jesus. No matter how small your first step is, rejoice in where it can lead you. (See Zechariah 4:10.)
3 – Learn the basics.
Too often, we want to jump ahead, to claim the prize without investing the effort required. Not only is this prideful, it sets us up to fail, because we are reaching for something we have not earned and for which are ill-prepared. Instead, invest your time and energy in learning the basics.
As Grandma used to say, if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.
4 – Persevere.
Perseverance means “a patient enduring.” It assumes that there will be difficulties, but it calls us to endure them, to “keep on keepin’ on.” When the grades aren’t as high as you’d like, when you can’t get your little one to fall asleep, when you’re passed over for the promotion…persevere. Then persevere some more. (See 1 Timothy 6:11.)
One day, after you’ve spent months or even years focusing on God, learning the basics, and persevering through hardships, you’ll find that your foundation is built—and it’s time to start adding to it.
I’d love to hear from you! What foundations are you building in your life? Have you begun to take the next step, to build on top of that foundation?