Thursday, March 3, 2016

You Want Me To What? By Susan Tuttle

If you’re a writer, chances are you know what you write, why you write it, and how you write. You know if you’re a plotter or a pantser. You know your genre. You know that writing burns inside you—even on days you stare at a blank screen—and you can’t give up. And because we know all these things, sometimes we forget who’s truly in control of our writing life.

Luke 5 is one of my favorite stories. It tells the tale of Peter and his calling. Peter had gone fishing and caught nothing. I’m sure there was some discouragement setting in as he washed his nets and thought through his next attack at sea. How long had it been since he’d brought in a haul? Scripture doesn’t say. It only tells us that he’d caught nothing that day.
Fishermen then, as they do now, had a system. They caught fish in the evening hours and always in shallow waters. It’s what worked best for them. They knew their vocation, how they fished, why they fished, where they fished. And then here came Jesus. At first he doesn’t address them. No. First he preaches the Word. First he brings Truth.
(Oh! How important it is for us to stay grounded in the truth!)
Then he looks over and tells Peter, who is putting all his equipment away for the day, to come out into the deep and let down his nets. I can just see Peter’s hands still on the sparkling, clean net he’d just tucked away as he looks up at the sun gleaming in the sky and replays Jesus’ request in his mind. You want me to what? We don’t actually see those words in our Bible, but I can almost hear Peter whispering them to himself.
Jesus was asking Peter to approach his fishing in a new way. A way that made no sense to what Peter knew. A way that made no sense to fishermen as a whole. A way that required pure and active faith in the One who called him.
Friends! You don’t own the corner on your writing. God does. We need to be open to his calling on the words that flow from us—however he choses to use that call. We need to stay so close to him, day-by-day, and ask him where he wants us to throw out our nets. Yes, we may have days, weeks, months—or even years—of writing that follows one pattern, but that doesn’t mean he won’t shake things up and call us into the deep when he wants to do something new through us to reach people who aren’t in our current waters.
And when he does we will have a choice. Do we say no because the call doesn’t make sense? Or will we think back to his Truths that we’ve heard and choose to step out in faith and cast our nets where he’s calling? Peter stepped into that boat, rowed out in the middle of the sunshiny day, and tossed his nets into deep waters. Then he pulled in such a haul he needed another boat to contain it all.
May we be like Peter.

Susan L. Tuttle lives in Michigan where she’s happily married to her best friend and is a homeschooling mom of three. She’s firmly convinced that letters were meant for words, not math, and loves stringing them together into stories that inspire, encourage, and grow women into who God created them to be. Romance, laughter, and cookies are three of her favorite things, though not always in that order. You can connect with Susan at her blog, Steps, Facebook, or Twitter.

Susan contributes on the first Thursday of each month.