It was about this time two years ago when I began the pre-production process for my book The Promise. I was attending graduate school during that season of my life and my schedule was busy and quite hectic. Publishing a book should have been the last priority on my list of commitments, but I was determined to release the book some time in the mid-late Spring.
My publisher was offering an incentive deal if I submitted my manuscript by March 31 of that year, and I was determined to follow through. My editor was on the same page with me, and I think she was just as excited to see The Promise finally released. You see, the book had been ten years in the making, and I just couldn’t wait another moment to make its release a reality.
My father, however, was more than a bit reluctant. He and my mother had been helping to manage my career, and I have always consulted both of them before making major decisions. In fact, Dad helped me settle on Infinity as my publisher initially, and my mother made sure I had the proper funding lined up to maintain my website. I had already published two books, and although I hadn’t found a great deal of financial success in my work, I considered my writing to be something I enjoyed too much to relinquish so easily.
When I told Dad about the publisher’s incentive, he had several questions up front. Was the publishing package they presented going to offer me anything new? What about a marketing plan? Would my book be distributed through all of the usual avenues— Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.? Why was I so set on publishing now? Couldn’t it wait until I was at least done with school? Had I considered the financial burden this would create for me? I hadn’t made any significant profit with my other two books, so would this time around be different in some way?
I took all of his questions into consideration, but frankly, I was just too excited, and I wanted to publish as soon as possible. Dad and I talked it all through until finally we came to an agreement. I moved forward with the publishing deal, submitted my manuscript by March 31, and the book was available online by the end of April.
I tell this story as a reminder of the value of good solid counsel. This past week in his sermon, Pastor Tim talked about seeking out counsel from our elders and others in authority. There is something to be said of the solid advice someone can give once they’ve been there, done that. Pastor Tim asked if anyone had the experience of brushing aside someone’s advice and simply going our own way. I can definitely say that I am stubborn to the core, but I can honestly assure you that I have always been one to consider advice before making any big decisions.
Earlier, I talked about seeking my parents’ counsel at various milestones in my life, and I think this will be true of me as I move into the future. Although I am confident as I move forward in my ministry and career, there is a large part of me that is still uncertain. At times, I feel like I am stumbling forward, step-by-step, floundering in this thing called life. I am afraid that one misstep could make for a great deal of pain and heartache; of course, I don’t want to go to that level, so I will make every effort to cover all of my bases as I seek out advice from others.
I love my women’s Bible Study and the wealth of accountability it brings to me. Interestingly, I am the youngest in the group, but yet, I am the leader. Oftentimes, I feel less than qualified to lead this group spiritually, but it is at these times that I feel the most loved. It is as if I have ten mothers in the room with me, each of the women providing their own unique perspective on what I might be facing in life. Their counsel is beyond valuable to me, and I don’t know what I’d do without them.
But it is here that I consider the greatest counsel of all. Even though I value my parents’ counsel and the advice of the women in my Bible Study, nothing compares to listening to the voice of my Savior through the Holy Spirit. In past posts, I have talked about taking the time to simply listen to what the Lord is saying to my heart. If one takes the time to read the Word and listen to what God is saying, there is a wealth of counsel at a person’s fingertips. Just look at the book of Proverbs, which in itself is wisdom written down for all to see.
As I sign off this week, I am going to leave you, the reader, with a challenge. I encourage all of you to take just a few moments of your day to read even a few verses from Scripture. If you’re seeking wisdom in this season of your life, perhaps you could start with some of the Proverbs. If you are up to the challenge, please know that I am striving right alongside of you. Since the New Year, I have been taking a few minutes every morning to read the lectionary posted from the Reformed Church in America’s Facebook page. This in addition to my daily devotions has been a beneficial way to internalize Scripture in a whole new way. Perhaps you may want to study the Bible within the span of a year, reading particular portions day-by-day until you read all the way through. Either way, seek to read a little each day. Together, we will be seeking out the greatest counsel of all.