by Terry Overton
Listening to my Bible Study leader speak in our recent study of Rahab, the point was made very clear to me. God asked Rahab to step out of her comfort zone and do something she probably never thought she would do. He had selected Rahab to take in two spies and to lie to the authorities when asked if the spies were inside her house. I am not advocating lying, and I think God doesn’t either but that was Rahab’s character, and He knew that. But what was clear to me in this discussion is that God often gives us a nudge to step outside our own comfort zone and do something new that will, in the end, bring others to believe in Christ.
When I am at book signings or speaking to groups, it almost always happens this way and perhaps it does to other authors as well. At the end, at least one timid person makes his or her way up to the front to tell me things like, “I want to be a writer,” or, “I’ve started writing a book, but I don’t think it is any good,” etc. And then I share the following about my own journey.
In church one Sunday, before I had written any Christian fiction book, the pastor spoke about how we can each become ambassadors for Christ. He encouraged us to figure out a way to go forward and share the good news with others, bring others to the Church, and show others the pathway to their own faith. He urged us to find our gifts that could be used to bring others to Christ. He urged us to be active in the Great Commission.
For years I had written research articles, speeches, and even textbooks and chapters for academia in my professional career. But I never even wanted for one minute to write fiction. I was very uncomfortable thinking about just creating a story! I needed facts, data, research studies, to write. I was raised a Christian, but not once in my whole life had I thought about writing Christian books. But that day, on that Sunday, it was clear to me that I needed to step outside my comfort zone and write for Christ. I was insecure, but I prayed, read Scripture, and after some weeks, I sat down with some trepidation. But my heart heard the message, “Just begin. I will help you.” And from that moment on, I tried my best.
It was after several attempts, lots of tears, torn up manuscripts, many rejections, and much prayer, at last I had an acceptance letter! It took another year or so to get that first manuscript ready, and now, several books later, I am more determined than ever, to use writing to bring others closer to God and Scripture.
In the same Bible Study this morning, a woman I had only met a week ago stopped me after the study and said, “I have been living with you every day this week.”
Having no clue what she meant, I simply said, “Oh?”
“Yes, I am reading Both Sides of the Border and I can’t put it down. I agree with your feelings and your Christian outlook. It touches my heart.”
I had to smile. I knew the book she mentioned was that first fiction book, the one I went home to write on that Sunday four years ago.
When unsure about your writing, always seek guidance, pray, read Scripture, and then just maybe you should step out of your comfort zone.
Terry Overton obtained her Ph.D. in Psychology and her Ed. D. in special education. As a retired professor, she began her second “career” writing Christian books in 2016. She hopes to touch the lives of her readers and kindle their faith with her novels, middle grade readers, and picture books. Visit Terry on her website at https://www.authorterryoverton.com/.