Getting a Dose of Inspiration
We all need a strong dose of inspiration periodically to keep us going. I found mine in early May at the Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network’s annual meeting in Nashville.
In addition to the learning and professional development that came from associating with other freelance editors for two days, the meeting started with one of the most inspiring keynote talks I have ever heard.
It was delivered by Selma Wilson, a former executive with LifeWay Christian Resources and one-time president of B&H Publishing Group.
“Retired” isn’t a good word to describe her. She has re-fired, with a weekly blog and podcast, coaching, marriage counseling, and other activities to keep her busy (including her five grandchildren).
She reminded us that God is not surprised, amazed, or dismayed at any of the current developments in our troubled world. And, that he wants us to keep doing what we’re doing and spreading the gospel regardless of the circumstances around us.
Because LifeWay had recently announced it would close all of its 170 retail stores by the end of 2019, I was especially interested in her thoughts on what this meant for us as editors and writers.
“It will force some creative movements,” said Wilson, who predicts a rise in independent retail stores to replace the nation’s largest Christian retailing chain. “There will be new mechanisms to get content out there that we haven’t seen yet. Imagine new things. We’ll come out stronger.”
As if to prove her point, during a question-and-answer hour that followed her keynote talk, one attendee told of a couple who are selling Christian speculative fiction at various conference and homeschool conventions.
At one of the latter, they sold 300 copies in one day—far more than the average retail location would move.
Wilson chimed in to point out that China tried to curtail internet traffic there as one way of preventing the gospel from entering the country. The government gradually hired more and more people until the staff numbered 500,000.
“They couldn’t do it,” she said. “The content you edit is getting around the world.”
Major Task Ahead
That not the only inspiration Wilson shared, later she also told a story about a person who had a vision of heaven and saw a huge number of bookshelves with all kinds of material.
When he asked about what filled those shelves, the answer that came: “Those are all the books that have yet to be written.”
Wilson encouraged us to not let the devil sidetrack us or keep us from completing those books. That was probably one of the most captivating comments I heard during the conference.
Few of we attendees have bestsellers to our credit, and few would fit the definition of household names. Many of us toil in relative obscurity.
Here was a reminder that what we do is important, regardless of how many people actually read our words.
Sharing the Word
Wilson’s story reminded me of something I shared recently with an author I helped with his book.
One day as I prayed for his new release, the Holy Spirit overwhelmed me. I prayed that it would become a powerful tool to lead many to follow Christ.
“A lot of us would think that something like making the Today show would be significant,” I said soon after, when we had lunch. “But in God’s eyes, seeing several of your grandchildren decide to become Christians would be a big deal.”
He got so excited that he and his wife have been praying his book will become a tool for evangelism. He already has several speaking engagements and book signings lined up.
The results will be known in heaven. I can imagine a poster announcing it being posted next to all those unwritten books.