Having worked in the publishing industry for close to two decades, I can tell you that book projects are often conceived and scheduled years in advance of when they become actual books. This is especially true of Christian publishing, where prayer and planning often intersect. We trust God that books will be completed in his perfect timing and meet the current needs of readers.
Recently, I worked on a project that started out as a simple addition to a children’s activity book, but quickly evolved into its own full-scale release. This unexpected endeavor never followed a typical timeframe or an orderly, detailed schedule. As with many “God things,” it just came together at the right time.
These moments are many and when they happen, they are proof of a divine providence far beyond our limited human talents. But our journey to these serendipitous spiritual appointments can be fraught with worry and second-guessing.
What if I’m I taking a wrong turn?
Is this truly God’s timing?
What if I’m following the wrong path entirely?
Though it’s easy to dwell on such doubts, by doing so we can often miss out on experiencing the pure bliss of God’s supernatural provision in our lives. How can we more fully enjoy the unplanned and unexpected adventures we encounter as believers?
AVOID THE PRESSURE OF IMAGINED EXPECTATIONS
In the Bible, the word expectation is only used a handful of times and in most of those instances, it would serve us well to understand that hope requires more faith than expectation does. Had I realized sooner that no one was expecting this side project to become its own book, I could have experienced more joy and freedom in the process. The expectations I was laboring to meet never truly existed.
EMBRACE THE UNEXPECTED
Asger Jorn, a Danish artist and author, once said, “A creative train of thought is set off by the unexpected, the unknown, the accidental, the disorderly, the absurd, the impossible.” Having this mindset as we begin any project allows us to give ourselves more grace and often yields better results in the end. When the Lord leads us in a different direction, it’s often for the purpose of growing our God-given capacity for problem solving and ingenuity. Other times, these abrupt detours compel us to set aside our human understanding and rely solely on him for inspiration and enlightenment. The more we can start to view these unexpected U-turns as opportunities to deepen our faith rather than ominous stressors, the more joy and fulfillment we’ll find along life’s winding road.
REMEMBER WHO IS ULTIMATELY IN CONTROL
Regardless of circumstances or outcomes, we can trust in God’s sovereignty. We can move forth with confidence that He always wants what’s best for us. (Jeremiah 29:11) Amid the unexpected, the unplanned, or the unforeseen, God walks alongside us. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
Given our human frailty, these reminders don’t amount to a foolproof method for avoiding anxiousness, doubt, or other unsettling emotions when faced with life’s uncertainties. However, we can feel greater peace in trying times as we more readily recognize God’s presence. Most important, we can greet the great, unplanned adventures God has in store for us with greater joy and anticipation!
Aaron Dillon is a veteran of the Christian publishing industry and one of the creators behind the award-winning Bible Infographics for Kids series of books. Aaron, his wife, Tami, and their three young adventurers live in the Pacific Northwest.
The latest in the Bible Infographics for Kids series is the Bible Infographics for Kids Adventure Journal , filled with 40 days worth of fun and faith-tastic activities for children ages 8-12.
Coming this fall, Bible Inforgraphics for Kids will be releasing its first board book for little ones. The Most Special Christmas Night tells the story of Jesus’s birth in a unique and colorful way. You can read more about it or preorder it here.