By Michael Ehret
We’ve all received invitations from friends, family, co-workers.
Some came in the form of phone calls; others were text messages or even Facebook event e-vites. All of them nice. All of them with the potential to lead to something fun, instructive, entertaining, or more.
Even in these days of constant social interaction, nothing is the same as a hand-written invitation created just for you by the one doing the inviting. Makes me think of the times in elementary school when kids would hand out invitations to birthday parties. Thoughts raced through our minds:
- “Will he give me one?”
- “Am I good enough?”
- “Is my name on one of those envelopes?”
- “Am I on her list?”
(Set aside your mental protestations that not everyone was receiving an invitation. This was a “once upon a time” that took place before self-esteem trumped all and before the creation of soft people who needed to be protected from reality.)
There was a healthy mixture of fear and anticipation as the invitations were distributed. A little turmoil in the tummy as the expectancy built. Finally, the exhalation of relief as the invitation was placed in your hands.
Last September at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in his workshop The Wildness of Writing with God, presenter Allen Arnold announced that he had prayed for all of us and had asked God to give him the words each of us needed to hear about our creative lives. Then, he said, he had written those words into a notebook that he would present to us.
I felt that familiar tummy turmoil as he walked around the room randomly handing out notebooks. Questions raced through my mind as anticipation and fear warred.
Then Allen set a notebook in front of me. My notebook. And I knew it was not a message from him—he was just the conduit. It was a message—an invitation—from God.
And I feared to open it.
But isn’t that often the way? We get what we want—I had asked God for a sign before the conference—and then are afraid to open it. Afraid that it won’t be what we hope, but instead some cruel joke.
Unlike the kids in my elementary school classes, God issues His invitation to everyone, including you.
Will you carry it home eagerly, set it on your desk where you can look at it every day for encouragement—but never R.S.V.P.? And worse, never attend?
Or, will you run home, full of excitement, and tell everyone about your invitation? Will you talk about it as you go to the mall to buy the perfect outfit? Will you clutch it in your hand as you knock on the door, watch it open, and step into the party?
It’s your choice. What will you do with God’s invitation?
You may be wondering what message my notebook contained. That, friend, will be my next topic. See you next month!
Michael Ehret has accepted God's invitation and is a freelance editor at WritingOnTheFineLine.com. In addition, he's worked as editor-in-chief of the ACFW Journal at American Christian Fiction Writers. He pays the bills as a marketing communications writer and sharpened his writing and editing skills as a reporter for The Indianapolis News and The Indianapolis Star.