Dreams Coming True is a Thursday feature on my blog, a way to highlight those whose goal is to create community. The dream might be a blog, a published book, a small business, volunteering, or even fundraising for a charity. Something that makes the world a better place . . . for others.
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin” (Zechariah 4:10, NLT).
Welcome Laurel Griffith, author of Lean Forward, to Dreams Coming True! Leave a comment on this post to enter to win a copy of Lean Forward!
Tell us a little about yourself, Laurel:
My passion is to lead others to hear the voice of God, not only in quiet times of reflection and prayer, but in the midst of everyday routine. Through my writing and teaching I encourage people to wade deeper into their relationship with God.
When did this creative dream begin?
For many years, I have written for a variety of secular and religious publications. I’ve created biblical curriculum, taught classes and led Bible studies. Most recently, I edited and published a Christian magazine where I shared memorable stories from believers who lived in our community. These men and women would say they are ordinary people who happen to follow an extraordinary God. Their testimonies inspired and encouraged our readers and together we created a community who emphasized the common faith we share.
God was preparing me to write a book as a way to share with people I did not know and who did not live in my local community. I wasn’t sure exactly when the opportunity would come, but I trusted him to show me the next step in his own time.
A few years ago my husband and I went through a difficult time when we did not know what to do. We experienced some painful business circumstances — things that were beyond our control. We weren’t sure where God was leading and we could not see how our situation could have a happy ending. One tearful afternoon God gently whispered direction to my heart.
Our waiting wasn’t meant to be a passive, thumb-twiddling experience. I could be confident in his presence. I could be confident that he was working in our lives. He would transform us as we responded to his prompting in these days of in-between.
What are the goals and intentions of this book?
Lean Forward was written so that others could learn from our personal experience as well as from the lives of others who have traveled through difficult places. It is my hope that this book inspires and encourages believers in their journey and offers an answer to the question we each ask at some point in our lives: “What do I do when I don’t know what to do?”
Describe the behind-the-scenes effort of your project.
Many people contributed to this book—reading and offering suggestions along the way. There were also those brave souls who allowed me into their lives and trusting me with their personal stories. When I thought my work was complete I emailed a writer friend and asked for his opinion. I expected positive feedback and perhaps a few suggestions.
This distinguished gentleman spent hours splicing and dicing my book with an eye for sentence construction and proper grammar. His edits alarmed me at first, but eventually, I pushed past the pride and admitted the man was right. Mr. Bert Goolsby improved my book with his corrections and comments, and I am one grateful writer.
At this point, Lean Forward has been available on Amazon for six months. I am developing a study guide, which will soon be released as part of the book. I continue to speak and blog and lead conferences.
What’s been the hardest part about getting it off the ground?
Writing is a solitary activity and I’m a people kind of person. Perhaps that’s why I gravitated to magazine and newspaper writing for so much of my career. I spent a year crafting Lean Forward — more time than it took to “incubate” my own children. During the writing process I developed a dash more self discipline and an appreciation for the work of editors.
Even though I studied public relations in college, I have been surprised at how difficult it is to market oneself. I have no problem promoting the work of others but I am hesitant when it comes to my own writing and speaking.
I live in a tension between knowing God will open doors of opportunity for me, and understanding the need to be a steward of my own gifts and time. I am still working through this process to find the right balance.
Throughout my writing career, and especially with this project, I have found I needed the support and encouragement of other people. More significantly, I must spend focused time with God so that I am able to discern his voice on a moment-by-moment basis.
The great Scottish missionary and Olympian, Eric Liddell described the connection he felt to his Creator when he used the specific athletic ability God had placed in his life.
“I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.” Eric Liddell, Chariot’s of Fire, 1981
I understand Mr. Liddell’s feelings. More than a sense of accomplishment, God’s pleasure fuels my creativity and the self-discipline I need to be successful. God’s pleasure helps me push through discouragement and fear and fatigue. God’s pleasure helps me take constructive criticism and master new technology.
How can we find your creative dream come true?
Where do you see this project in five years?
Lean Forward will be used in churches as a part of classes and group studies. In addition to blogging and teaching, I am also developing new material, which I will present in a workshop format. These new sessions are designed to teach participants how live with passion no matter their age or stage in life. I plan to add teaching podcasts as well as videos to the website.
Please visit laureljoycegriffith.com, leave me feedback, and subscribe to my blogs. I would love to speak at your next event.