The Power of Try - by Liz Carter

A couple of weeks back I was at the New Wine festival, soaking up God, great teaching, a little sunshine and a lot of rain. One of the things that impacted me most about the week was the morning Bible studies led by Jordan Seng, who is the lead pastor of Bluewater Church in Hawaii. (For those who were there - give me a loud CHIHU!) He was speaking on discipleship and a life of faith, and offered the idea that 'faith' is spelt T-R-Y.

Now at first I thought this seemed a tad formulaic, taking the passion and the mystery out of faith. But the more I reflected on it, the more it made sense. It's simple, really - if we try and do things, things happen. And sometimes don't. But if we never try, then nothing happens. So what's the better way? Jordan was speaking in terms of praying for people, of praying for God's miraculous interventions as well as more generally, and said their church had taken this on as a kind of ministry value - let's just go for it. Let's just try. What can happen? Either it doesn't change things or it does, and when it does - wow! He shared many stories of prayer transforming events and people. Do we believe Jesus is who he says he is? Then let's use 'try' in our daily faith lives.

On further reflection, I saw how this applies to our writing lives, too, and is subject to the same kind of positives and negatives. When we step out in our faith lives and try, things might happen, and we also might face disappointment and despondency. When we try with our writing, things might happen, and we also might get rejections and criticism. But the overriding factor here is that when we don't try, we're not going to have anything much happen at all. When we don't pitch that book, or have a go at self-publishing, or enter competitions, our words might get dusty, hiding away in computer files or notebooks. And that would be a shame.

But with both faith and writing, trying means taking a risk. It means getting to the cliff edge and jumping off, hoping your parachute will work. It means taking a leap into the unknown and risking landing awkwardly, or worse. Sometimes it feels easier to take the try away and let life happen around us, thinking 'perhaps one day.' I certainly do that, particularly with my fiction stuff.

Sometimes it feels easier to take the try away and let life happen around us, thinking 'perhaps one day.'

The great thing about try, though, is that it sometimes yields results. Sometimes immense, incredible, astonishing results, where people get healed and books get published. Sometimes smaller, almost intangible results, where people get hold of a new kind of peace and blogposts get commented on and loved. The question is, I suppose, are we willing to take the risk of try? Are we willing to put our writing out there for all to see, to query that agent (or twentieth agent?) To let the world see the gift God has given to us - even if it hurts a little?

Rejection smarts. Criticism can cut sharp. But then there's the rush of knowing your writing has impacted someone, somewhere, in a positive way, and the try is suddenly worth it.

Similarly, in faith matters, disappointment hurts. When God doesn't seem to come through, it's so difficult to keep persevering. But then there's the rush when we see God impact lives, transform situations and fill people with that peace beyond understanding. And the try is suddenly worth it.

Today I'd love to encourage us all to embrace a life of try, in faith and in writing, which so often cross over. 

Today I'd love to encourage us all to embrace a life of try, in faith and in writing, which so often cross over. To take a step into the unknown, prepared for the hurt and expectant for the hope. May you seize hold of God's promises, of knowing that in everything God works to the good, even in darkness. May you be assured of God working in and through your writing and hearing your deepest cries in prayer, and launch yourself into trying once again...

Liz Carter is a writer and blogger from Shropshire. She likes to write about painful times and how God can be found in the midst. Her first book, Catching Contentment (IVP) explores how searching for God in the darkness can bring treasure even in a life of long-term illness.


  1. I think you're right. We are too risk-averse - at least, I know I am! Interesting read, Liz.

  2. This is so true, Liz. At times I wish I'd never published my book, Waireka, I've had so much stress and difficulties with the publisher. But then people tell me how much they've enjoyed reading it, so I suppose it is better out there than just sitting locked away here. Thanks.

  3. A really inspiring post. There are times when it seems as though everyone else is having success except us! Maybe the reason is because they are taking the risks we are reluctant to take. We heard a great speaker recently (Simon Guillebaud) who talked about most people's aim in life being to get to death 'safely'. Not a great ambition yet often we all pursue it.


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