By Marcia Lee Laycock
"You have arrived at your destination." The woman's voice, with a slight British inflection, sounded confident and convincing. But I looked around and sighed. I was on a bridge over the Bow River in Calgary, Alberta. There was no church in sight. A lot of water but no church. I reached the other side and the lovely voice told me she was "recalculating." Then she told me to make a U-turn and go back to the spot where she thought I should be. I pulled over to re-enter the address into the GPS. Again.
I knew approximately where I was going, but this part of the city was new to me so I had decided to rely on the GPS to get me there. I had been going in circles for some time and now had less than thirty minutes to arrive at the venue for the writer's conference where I was scheduled to teach a workshop. Once again the voice coming out of the electronic device took me in a full circle and I once again despaired of finding the place in time. One more try, I thought, then I'll have to call someone for directions.
"Come on, Lucy" I whispered. (Yes, I'd given her a name). "Get it right this time."
As I started to type in the address again I realized I had been making a spelling error. When I corrected it the GPS gave me two options for the same street in different quadrants of the city. Fortunately I knew which one I wanted. I tapped the Go key and Lucy confidently guided me directly to the church. I arrived with about ten minutes to spare, glad I had given myself lots of time.
As I drove home later (with Lucy guiding me around the rush hour traffic), I thought about that small spelling mistake and how it had resulted in so much confusion. It reminded me of that old saying, "garbage in, garbage out." Then I smiled as I realized the irony. Part of my presentation that day had been about clarity, about avoiding rabbit trails and keeping our writing focused. Good things to remember as writers of faith.
If we are not careful about the writing we produce we cannot expect it to have the results we desire. If we are not communicating clearly, we cannot expect our readers to come away with new insight and find their way to our Lord.
Attention to detail is essential and valuing excellence will reap benefits. So how do we achieve these goals? By taking the time to get the training we need, diligently learning our craft, paying attention to the experts who have gone before us, and above all, seeking God’s wisdom as we go.
“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones” (Proverbs 2:6-8).
Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor's wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was short listed in The Word Awards. Marcia also has two devotional books in print and has contributed to several anthologies. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan.
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