Stepping Up and Stepping Out

img_1245087978665_531Have you ever had to do something you really didn’t want to, but knew you had to? It seems to be the theme around our house of late. God calling us to step out of our comfort zones and walk in obedience to Him. I won’t go into my husband’s story—that’s his to tell. For me, it’s flying across the country to attend a writer’s conference I’ve never been to with hundreds (maybe thousands) of people I’ve never met. Rather than sell my book ideas (which my agents says is her job), I have to sell myself. Not a comfortable position for me. Fortunately, I don’t think it is for many writers. We tend to fall into the category of people who would rather spend time holed up in front of our computer screens than schmoozing with strangers.

But that isn’t even the most worrisome part of it. It’s the traveling that has me anxious. I don’t care much for flying, but I can handle it as long as it’s a smooth flight. I’ve rarely traveled without my take-control-world-traveler husband. He’s the one who drives to and from the airport, directs us to the correct airline terminal and has me laughing through security. He actually keeps my driver’s license and ticket until we board the plane. I know, pathetic, huh? He holds my hand when we take off and land and soothes me when I fear we’re going to miss our connecting flight. And when there’s turbulence—he’s my rock.

So, why am I going when it sounds about as thrilling as having a root canal? Because it’s the next step on this crazy road God has me traveling. Five years ago, when I attended my first Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference, I was literally sick on the drive down to Santa Cruz. I thought for sure I had the flu—nauseous, chills, headache. It turned out it was a panic attack—fear of stepping into a world I knew nothing about. It got easier the following year, and the following. Until last March, when I wandered onto the conference grounds, I felt as comfortable as I do in my own church. So, it was pretty easy. God forbid, we get too comfortable with our lives.

But what really motivates me to go is that so many times when I’ve stepped out in faith, it’s lead to something bigger than I could ever foresee. It might not be apparent at the conference, or even in the next month or so. But God obviously sees the big picture—is the Author of the big picture—and nothing we do is wasted. The people I’ve met through the Mount Hermon Conference have become an instrumental part of my life. Friends that I couldn’t imagine not having now like Joanne Kraft and Chris Pedersen. I first saw Steve Laube, literary agent, at that first conference and knew I wanted to be represented by his agency. I am now a client of Karen Ball’s, of the Steve Laube Literary Agency. I suspect that wouldn’t have occurred had I not continued to attend a conference that made me literally sick the first time out.

If we stay holed up in comfort and never adventure out, we’ll never know what blessings God has in store for us. How many opportunities were missed because of fear of failure? How many friendships never took place because we were too afraid to make the first move? So, although I’m not excited about attending ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Conference, I know that whatever happens, God is in charge. The truth is, I won’t really be traveling alone. My heavenly Father will be with me through every step, bump and misstep, leading me where He would have me go. That brings such comfort!

Your turn. Have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone and discovered unexpected blessing for your effort?

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