September 01, 2014

Choose Your Own Adventure by Sandi Somers

With school starting this week, I think back to the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books which my elementary school students loved. Readers could choose optional plot points leading to one of a number of climaxes and resolutions, or conversely to a dead end where they had to backtrack.

In this month’s prompts, you choose your own adventure: Tell us your best ‘How-To’ tips. | Take the Dictionary or other reference and select three words you don’t know and write a piece using those words. | What new resource has you wishing you would have had that when you first started out? | Inform your readers about the genre in which you write.

My first forays into “choose your own adventure” for this month’s blog post led me to brambles, mud holes and dead ends. Finally my meditation on the story of Joseph brought me to a satisfactory conclusion.

The Forward Moving Strategy of God

I have always been drawn to the Biblical story of Joseph, because it has spoken to me so often in so many circumstances. And as I’ve talked with other writers, I discover how his story has great implications for our writing.

Joseph had a dream. Two dreams. Dreams of greatness. Dreams of stardom. Was he aware that the source was God?

But then God took him on a circuitous route that contradicted the very idea of those dreams.

His envious brothers sold him to Ishmaelite traders and he landed as a slave in Egypt. There in Potiphar’s house he developed managerial and leadership skills. He also developed faith—deep faith—in God. But Potiphar’s wife accused him unfairly and he was bound chained and thrown into prison.

As a forgotten foreigner in Egypt, his life must have been at its lowest ebb.

He must have wondered how the evil done him could have any purpose.

He must have wondered if his prison time would ever come to an end.

Yet his faith in God grew and strengthened his character.

God was with Joseph, and these circumstances became the raw material out of which God was preparing him for his strategic role in Egypt. In time he was promoted to viceroy where he saved Egypt and his own family from famine. In Egypt, God formed his family into the nation of Israel.

Joseph’s story challenges us to look deeper into our dreams for our writing.

God is the source of our vision.

He wants to use us strategically in the lives of others.

He motivates us to move forward toward that vision.

However, circumstances may contradict our plans—health concerns, family disruptions, a major move—any number of situations may come up to prevent us from writing for a time.

At first they may seem like dead ends.

We may feel nothing is being accomplished.

We may even wonder if we have lost our way.

But God is the God of detours, and he gives us signposts such as this: “And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left” (Isa 30:21 ESV).

So, like Joseph, let us be faithful in our current situation.

Let us yield our detours and our future to God.

Let us hold fast to any promises God has given us.

A day will come when we will look back and discover how even these detours have been part of the “forward moving strategy of God.”[1]

[1] Lloyd John Ogilvie. Lord of the Impossible. Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1984, 55.


  1. I feel as if your post is so timely and appreciate the way you used Joseph's story and fit it into the life goals of a writer. thanks Sandi. (Also, my kids enjoyed those 'choose your own adventure' books, although being avid readers they just read all the options...!)

  2. Thanks, Tracy. I wondered how applicable Joseph's story would be to those like you who have come to success in publishing a number of books. Your comments were encouraging. Sandi

  3. Thanks, Sandi, for your writing that is so appropriate for me. Your thoughts speak exactly to my situation about God wanting to use me strategically in the lives of others and about major circumstances seeming to interrupt what I thought I was called to do. Then you remind me that God is the God of detours.

    May each of us hear God's word saying, "This is the way, walk in it when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left." And then your closing with Ogilvie's thoughts about looking back some years later and discovering, after the fact, how "these detours have been part of the 'forward moving strategy of God.'"

    Thank you, thank you, dear writer.

  4. Thank you, Sharon, for letting me know how my words were so meaningful for you. You were one person I had in mind when I wrote this, as I knew you are on a current "detour."

    God bless you, Sandi.

  5. Thanks for the post Sandi, I remembrance how my kids loved the choose your own adventure as well. I appreciate the reference to the circuitous route and the confirmation that God is the God of detours!

  6. Thanks, Jocelyn, for your comments. God may send us on detours, but He gets us to His place for us in the end.

  7. I LOVE knowing that if we keep moving, keep persevering, keep learning with God, that we will always be a part of the story He is building, even when we don't know what that is. Yet HE does!

  8. Oh this was so very encouraging Sandi! Even reading the comments was so neat! What a great group of writers we have! I love the story of Joseph too, and as you pointed out, it is very applicable for writers who often experience interruptions and distractions! Thank you for your thoughts!

  9. Connie, your comment about being part of what God is building is so applicable. It keeps us trusting God to develop us in the process!

    Pam, it has been so encouraging to me that we have a supportive, inspiring community of writers!


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