Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Staying Dependent

Photo courtesy of imagerymajestic at
A couple of recent online discussions (including Patricia’s excellent post last week) made me reflect on my writing journey.
At the same time, I had been reading Exodus 33 where Moses on being commanded to leave Sinai demanded of God that he wouldn’t go anywhere without His presence. Let’s have a look at the passage:
“Then Moses said to the Lord, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people.’ But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.’ Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.”
And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.” (Exodus 33: 12-15 NKJV)

Who do we rely upon?

Many commentators believe the favour of God on Moses increased the very moment he said yes and only if God would go with Him. God wants us to be people who do not depend on our own ability, but upon Him.

So many of us struggle continuously with the “am I good enough” syndrome. Irrespective of how many books we may have written and/or published when we turn up to the blank screen for the next one there’s always that doubt that we’re done; there’s no more coming out of us. All our decent stories and/or characters have all been revealed.

I’m currently working on a non-fiction project and everyday I feel absolutely unqualified to explore the topic I feel the Lord has put on my heart.

And you know what, I am. Just like Moses who’s task was impossible in his own strength.

And the more I surrender to my own inadequacies the more I procrastinate and nothing of any real value gets written.

What’s the prize?

We all want to get published, then have a bestseller, win awards, and sell sufficient copies that we can live off a writing income. Yes?
Perhaps we’ll never admit it to anyone (except the first point about being published) but the other three would all be marvellous. Not just for the kudos and trinkets that come with them but the sense of significance too. I really can write.

But the longer I walk this journey with the Lord the more I realise it’s all about doing it with Him. When we spend time with Him both in the secret place (Matthew 6:6) and at our keyboards all those “rewards” don’t seem all that important.

We get something so much better: Him!

“It is the relationship and intimacy that grows out of remaining in Him that allows you to know His heart …” (Heidi Baker)

In calling us to write and/or filling us with story ideas, the Lord invites us to abide in His presence so He can fill us with His desires for the world and us. Oh, and He’ll help us write those stories. They may not win awards or even get published but does it matter if we’ve got His heart?

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NKJV)

If you’re struggling at whatever stage of the journey may I encourage you to be as bold as Moses and ask that you’ll only continue if the Lord goes with you. And when He says yes, enjoy spending time getting to know His heart for you and your stories.

Grace and peace, dear writing friends.

Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Sydney. Ian's first novel of speculative fiction, Angelguard, is available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. Angelguard was recognised with the 2014 Selah Award for Speculative Fiction.You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter


  1. Thank you for the shout-out and for this post. So true. This is my writing verse - 1 Thessalonians 5:24 - "Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it." It's so freeing. I spend the time with Him at the keyboard. What comes out and where it goes (deals, sales, etcetera) should not concern me. It's God's business. My job is to put it out there. The new manuscript is not as perfect as I would like for it to be. But yes, this week I sent it to my agent because the story works, the book people are precious to me, and they are bursting with awesome stories to tell and live. Writing will quit being fun if I drive myself crazy over every word choice. The debut had passed through two paid editors and two paid proofreaders before I ever submitted it to the agent who ended up offering to represent me (Les Stobbe). It was the right process for the debut, but I don't want to work like that again. I want someone to buy the new one and maybe invest in a series because they believe the idea is good and the writing is good enough for their editors. I don't need to be perfect for God to make things happen. Curious to see what develops in the next few months. Is the sudden urgency to put the work out there without a fourth round of edits a tragic mistake? Or will it sell well even though I can think of twenty improvements I would like to make? I don't have the joy to put into a fourth round right now and don't want to work without joy. I'm finding joy in tinkering with one page per day - my 2 fish and 5 loaves. God can do the rest if He's behind a new book deal for right now. If a deal comes with the manuscript as is, the joy will come. It always does when you know God wants something to happen as much as you want it to happen. Psalm 90:14 "Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy, That we may rejoice and be glad all our days!" - Moses, the plan B prayer :)

    1. Good for you, Patricia. And He will do it. What, however, is sometimes the point. As I heard this morning the Lord's thoughts on the 'what' for each of us is often very different to the 'what' we want or think we will receive. Learning to live in this mystery and seeking more of His heart is all part of the wonder of walking side-by-side with the Lord.

      Praying positive outcomes for your submission, Patricia.

  2. Such a great inspirational post, Ian!!!

  3. Thanks for these wonderfully wise words from you heart. Always a pleasure to read your posts. All the best on this new non-fiction project. Can't wait to hear more!

    1. Hi Sandra, thanks for your encouragement. I so enjoyed your interview with Katie Donovan. I tweeted it but I don't believe you do Twitter.

      Trust all is well. Hope you get to realise your 'dream destination' one day. And yes, Biz Class makes it the long trip a whole lot better.

  4. There was a similar post on the American Christian Fiction Writers blog yesterday (yesterday? Well, I read it yesterday). If God is laying similar thoughts on so many hearts and minds, it must be important.

    Thank you for the encouragement and inspiration - as always.

    1. Thanks, Iola. Always fascinated how the Lord can "impact" the ether to highlight something dear to Him.

      Bless ...

  5. Appreciate so much this reminder, Ian. If we don't take this journey with him, then in the end it has all been meaningless.

    1. Thanks, Lisa. You summed it up marvellously. Safe travels my friend.

  6. Thanks for your wise words again Ian!

  7. Thanks, Ian, for your encouragement. God bless you - and your writing :)

  8. Replies
    1. And thank you, Cindy for the encouragement.