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The right fig tree

Last night about twilight, I sat in our sunroom with the windows open and just watched the rain. And realized I couldn’t remember the last time I had just sat still with eyes and ears open. With nothing to do but . . . be.

I’ve been on a tear for the last few weeks, finishing/revising/polishing a manuscript. Now that I’ve finished it to my current satisfaction, I haven’t looked at it again. I’m taking a short break, but I’m itching to start my next story. Whatever that may be.

A few years ago, I was e-mailing back and forth with my author friend Sherrie in Idaho, and I said I’d been trying to figure out what the Lord wanted me to write next. She e-mailed back: “I think He wants you to write what you want to write.” I love that idea.

But then there’s also the concept I shared with another friend who was contemplating starting a book. I told her about my fig tree that I grew in a pot in our house in Michigan. For several years, the thing hardly grew, but when we moved to Georgia and I planted it outside, it took off. It even developed an offshoot, and then I had two fig trees. I started getting excited. Finally, after about five years in Georgia, I saw the first tiny green figs. My long-awaited harvest had nearly arrived, and I could hardly wait to taste sweet, delicious figs.

But they weren’t very sweet. Didn’t have much flavor. They were just . . . okay. No matter what we did to that tree, it could only produce bland, semi-sweet figs. All that time, I’d been nurturing the wrong variety of fig tree.

It takes a long time to write a novel. I don’t want to nurture those pages for months or maybe years, and then realize the fruit can never be more than just okay.

So, this is where I have to take time to think, to pray, to be. To be quiet before the Lord. I do believe Sherrie’s right, that He wants me to have freedom to write what I want to write. He doesn’t dictate what my next project should be. But I need His wisdom to guide my freedom.

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