Q: Ever since reading your book, I’ve realized that I have a similar passion for helping young girls going through middle school and high school grow confident as daughters of the King of Kings. I would love to be a Christian writer and speaker. Do you have any advice for getting a career like yours started?
What a great question! I’m humbled you’d ask. I could write pages of things I’ve learned, advice older (wiser!) women have shared with me, and then a whole lot of questions I still haven’t figured out myself. Let’s see if I can narrow it down to a few goodies…
- Get used to detours. And road blocks, and complete changes of plans for that matter. I might have a plan for how I think things should go, but if I’ve surrendered my life to God, I have to be willing to let Him change my course, whether the destination is a spotlight or obscurity. In fact, I don’t know many Christian authors or speakers who set out to do it. More often it’s a detour. A “plan B” that God leads us down. Be available, and let God decide where He can best use you. He always knows best. You can trust Him with your life!
- “Writers write.” That was some of the best advice my writing prof, Dr. Jack Simons, gave us college dreamers. Whether you get paid for it or not, you need to write lots of words. Mostly because the first two-hundred-thousand-or-so stink. So you have to get those out of the way, whether in your journal or a blog or scribbled onto fast food napkins. The more you write, the better you’ll become.
- Incidentally, speakers speak. (I know—I’m brilliantly original.) Don’t worry about ten years from now. Just be willing to share God’s love and the good news in whatever platform He makes available to you—whether a youth group, club, big stage or small platform.
- Love and serve the people in front of you. God doesn’t give us personalized career paths in Scripture, but He does call us to love and serve the people around us. If you’re drawn to teens, share God’s love with the kids in your church’s youth group, or host a small group Bible study. Some of my favorite ministry moments happened with a group of eight girls in our tiny apartment living room! That one-on-one relationship you build with the people around you is kingdom work at its finest.
- “You worry about the depth of your ministry, and let God take care of the breadth.” That’s a gem author Dannah Gresh shared with me last year, and God has been massaging that wisdom into my heart these past twelve months. I love this video from Mike Donehey (lead singer of Tenth Avenue North) called Get Smaller. We have to fight the temptation to want a bigger stage, and instead spend that energy on making what we do matter for eternity.
- Count the cost. Speaking, writing and getting to share God’s Word with people is awesome on so many levels, but doing it as a “career” doesn’t come without costs. 1) Traveling takes a toll. 2) You get likely get paid about as much as a struggling musician trying to make it in Nashville. (I couldn’t do what I do if my amazing husband didn’t go to work day in and day out to pay our bills!) 3) Spiritual warfare ain’t no walk in the park either. If God calls you to it? Totally worth it. But as Jesus said, you have to count the cost before you jump in.
I’ll close by adding that I didn’t set out to make this my career. Goodness no! My dream was to be a travel writer for National Geographic! But I made myself available to God, and in a slow, round-about way—starting with a small group of jr. high girls and working as an editorial assistant at a Christian publishing company—He has opened doors to share my heart and His Word with girls around the world. My best advice is to give God the reins of your life and follow where He leads. It will be an adventure, I promise you that!
PS- If you haven’t already, you might want to sign up for my newsletter, “Between the Lines,” where I share bits of what life is like as a writer and other behind-the-scenes things!