Depending on Your Own Understanding


Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Over the last couple of years, I spent a large amount of time working on a novel. The concept was unique. At least, I’d never discovered any other book with a similar plot. The characters were fascinating. I even developed an exciting plot twist for the end that I had never envisioned during the writing.

I really liked the story and wanted to move forward with it. One agent asked for the full manuscript but later turned it down. That didn’t dissuade me. I’m used to rejection.

But the feedback I received from beta readers also brought me up short. Something seemed off to them. One reader in particular thought the story was too edgy and thought the characters were too wrapped in the secular world and all its trappings.

The more I worked on revisions, the more disturbed I got in my spirit. My mind told me it was a good story and to keep tweaking it. My heart told me there was something wrong with it and to stop writing.

Finally, I went to God in prayer about it. Notice I wrote “finally.” I waited until I was so stuck I couldn’t figure my way out. Instead of going to him first, I went to him last.

Our conversation went something like this:

God: “Did I tell you to write that story?”

Me: “Well no, but it’s a really good idea.”

God: “Did I tell you to write that story the way you wrote it?”

Me: “No, but you know me. I follow my characters and let them reveal the story to me.”

God: “Did I tell to use those characters?”

Me: “No, but they’re really good characters.”

God: “Does your story honor or glorify Me?”

Me: Long pause while honesty works in my soul. “No.”

God: “Then maybe that’s why you no longer have peace about it. Maybe that’s why you’re struggling through the rewrite. So, what are you going to do now?”

Me: Another long pause of meditation until the answer became clear. “I’m going to give it up. And I repent for not seeking you first and trusting you.”

God: “I love you.”

I immediately deleted all my files and backups.

The lesson I learned is summed up in Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT). I did not trust the Lord with the story. Instead, I relied on my own understanding and ended up in a mess. He reinforced the lesson to seek his will, to trust him to show me the path to take in my writing and in every other area of my life.

How about you? How have you allowed God to lead you? What have you done when you discover you’re off his path?



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