by Allen Arnold
Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Let me cut to the chase.
Do you embrace change or worry about it?
Does the topic of change stir butterflies in your stomach or a sense of adventure in your soul?
If you default to worry, The Publishing Industry will certainly keep you busy. Christian Fiction is unquestionably in a state of rapid-fire change. Plenty of others report on the endless changes with e-books, advances, self-publishing, genre trends and retail closings. Rather than re-plow that shifting ground, I’d like to focus on where your heart goes when change happens.
I encourage you approach change with the following thoughts in mind. See if the air isn’t better and your heart calmer by trying these suggestions:
• Stop Worrying about Change. Worry, fear of the unknown and anxiety aren’t biblical. In Christ, we are free from this baggage. Let’s quit excusing it. It’s possible to no longer be a slave to worry through our freedom in Christ. So don’t waste time with worry. Beyond that, it’s hard to imagine a storyteller consumed with worry telling a story with themes of peace, trust or freedom.
• Avoid Gossip about Change. Endless chatter about change is a waste of time. It often goes to speculation, usually fuels worry and almost always thrives on gossip. Move away from the sites and people who thrive on gossip, rumor and worry. Spend that new-found time honing your stories, pursuing life and bringing your concerns to God and a godly friend. Ask God what His plans for you are in the midst of the change.
• Accept You Can’t Control Change. The illusion is that – if we just floss and drive the speed limit – we can somehow control life and avoid change. The reality is we have no control over life or change. And God matures us through change. So get ready. Like it or not – change is on the way. All you control is your response to it.
• Know that Static isn’t Superior. Imagine a story where nothing changes. Yawn. Every great story involves a journey. That’s how the protagonist changes. A story that stays static is stagnant. Let’s quit embracing the past or the status quo as ideal.
• Believe that Change Brings Life. If growth only happens through challenges and change, why do we so often cross the street to avoid it in our own lives? Or in our industry? Yes, bad things happen. Almost every story in the Bible has a hero who walks through a valley. Yet God works all things together for good for those who follow Him. Walk in faith with that confidence.
• See God in the Change. God is in the business of change. Followers are born again. The shepherd boy becomes king. The blind see. Saul becomes Paul. The old becomes new.
If the above offers a glimpse of newfound hope or freedom, then print this and keep it handy.
Then don’t just live free but write stories where readers see how your protagonists respond to change…and what true freedom can be.
And then get ready. Because tomorrow is fast approaching with a few unexpected changes heading your way.
Allen Arnold loves great stories, passionate conversations and authentic living. As Senior Vice-President and Fiction Publisher at Thomas Nelson, he spends his days acquiring, reading and publishing world class adult and young adult fiction written from a Christian worldview.
A veteran of the publishing industry since joining Thomas Nelson in 1992, he initially oversaw marketing and branding campaigns of many best-selling Christian authors, utilizing skills learned while working for some of the world’s largest advertising agencies. Tapped to launch the Fiction division in 2003, his publishing program is filled with New York Times, ECPA, and CBA bestsellers, representing every genre from romance to fantasy, historical to suspense.
Allen’s favorite way to spend the day is with his family – preferably with a C.S. Lewis book or Superman comic close at hand.
Great post, Allen! And so true. Thanks for visiting with ACFW!
Sage wisdom in this post. I knew I was in for a doozie of a year when I felt the Lord telling me this was a Year of Change. Either I’m yielded or I’m not. I choose to be.
I appreciate the post – especially the part about our writing about how our protagonist accepts the things in life they cannot change and how they depend on God to bring them through the trials they cannot control while all the time we’re trying to control what we cannot change. Good stuff!
Thanks for the reminders and the encouragement.
And, Ronie> We’re all in this together, evidently. 😉
My worry isn’t the world’s changes, but wondering if I’m growing enough to keep up!
Hi Allen, great post. “See God in change” is a gem. Some of my family and friends are going through big changes. Now I know what to say to them. Thank you!