March 13, 2023

C is for Captivated by Steph Beth Nickel

The Captivating Details

Sometimes it’s about seeing the big picture. And sometimes it’s about zeroing in on the tiniest details.

While we may be overjoyed at the 30,000-foot view, it’s often the apparent minutiae that can be truly captivating. 

It isn’t always about looking up into the night sky and observing the plethora of stars and planets. Sometimes it’s about looking through a telescope and studying the surface of the moon, the rings of Saturn, or the moons of Jupiter.

It isn’t always about observing a sprawling garden. Sometimes it’s about marveling at the intricacies of an individual flower.

It isn’t always about standing by the ocean that stretches to the horizon. Sometimes it’s about holding a sand dollar in your hand and examining its design.

And when it comes to the written word…

As Christians, we know that it’s important to understand a single Bible verse in the context of the chapter and that chapter in the context of the book and the book in the context of the entirety of Scripture.

Sometimes, however, it may be a single word that jumps off the page and deepens our understanding of that verse, that chapter, that Bible book—maybe even a much larger theme that works its way through the Scriptures.

While none of us are adding to the canon of Scripture, it is important to keep this principle in mind. We want our readers to see the big picture, to be ever-impacted by our blog post, our magazine article, our book.

This is more likely to happen if our work includes what Lysa TerKeurst and others call “sticky statements,” those individual sentences that stick with our readers long after they’ve set aside our work. Those statements they share with family and friends. Those sentences they highlight or make note of in their journal.

That said…

It isn’t always what the author intended as a stick statement (and the publisher set off in a larger font) that will strike the reader. Personally, I often highlight other words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs.

Will you slow down and allow yourself to be captivated today?

Will you take the time to create written work that just may captivate your readers?

Will you release your writing with open hands, knowing what captivates you may not be what stands out to your readers?

Steph Beth Nickel is an editor, a writer, and a labour doula. She is currently working with her coauthor, Paralympian Deb Willows, on a follow-up to Deb's first memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances.  Deb's second memoir is tentatively titled Keep Looking Up. Steph also plans to get back to working on a YA speculative fiction novel, Rule and Reign. 


  1. Thank you for this treat, dear Steph. So much of this post touched me and stuck to my heart.

    Here are two examples:

    "It isn’t always about observing a sprawling garden. Sometimes it’s about marveling at the intricacies of an individual flower."

    "Will you release your writing with open hands, knowing what captivates you may not be what stands out to your readers?"

    As someone who loves to engage in macrophotography, I've learned the joy of being captivated by the delicate details of flowers. And as a reader of as many inspirational nonfiction as I can get my hands on, I've also found that the "sticky statements" that find me are often not the highlighted ones. God knows what each of us needs to zoom in on.


  2. I love to highlight captivating words and phrases in books.

  3. Elizabeth Danna12:00 pm GMT-7

    A verse that has a "sticky statement" in it for me is James 1:5: "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you" (NIV). The "sticky words" are "without finding fault:" God won't criticise us or think we're stupid if we ask Him for the wisdom we need. In fact, asking God for wisdom might be the smartest thing we can do.

  4. Love the term "sticky statement". What a wonderful way to describe words that stay with us to be mulled over and chewed on for awhile. Thanks, Steph!

  5. Thanks for sharing how important both the macro- and micro- of reading Scripture are. I too love your term, "sticky statement", to describe what the Spirit is drawing our attention to and speaking into our lives. For me, these sticky statements often lead into writing a devotional.

    And thanks for your questions for us to ponder as we write.

  6. Hi Steph! I'm going to be on the lookout for stick statements even more now. I also won't take it personally if readers aren't captivated by what sticks out to me. Thank you for your enjoyable post.


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