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When God Gives You an Idea.



I'm a writer, author, and online educator who loves helping others build intentional lives through the power of habit and meaningful routines.







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Sometimes God gives you an idea and that’s all it is for now. A seedling. A vision. A glimpse of something for the future.

This was the case for someone I was meeting with yesterday. She’s been holding to a steady practice of going to a coffee shop on Sundays to write. One Sunday, she felt one of those holy, sure nudges I always talk about. It was a book idea.

Immediately, she began to go back to her blog and pull pieces she’d already written on the topic. She put them all together and instantly felt deflated. It wasn’t enough words for a book. It was as if the magic of that moment was suddenly gone and it propelled her into a writing rut.

I couldn’t help but think back to all the times I’ve written books and what the process looked like. It was never simple. It was never copy and paste. It was a transformative process that took days, months, and sometimes years. That’s the beauty of a book- it takes a lot of time from you but it also gives you so much more back than you could ever imagine.

I assured her that the idea was good but maybe the revelation didn’t mean she had to propel herself into all directions, all at once. Maybe the idea was a glimpse of the future. Maybe the idea needed to slow-cook for a little while longer.

I’ve carried novels in my heart for years. Stories I know I want to write down one day. One of the ideas was given to me when I was 21 years old. I say “given” because that’s what it was— an idea downloaded into me so clearly, and so spontaneously, that I cannot believe it is anything less than divine.

I’ve written fits of dialogue and the beginnings of scenes but I have yet to sit down and write the novel. I’ve carried this idea for so long and am just not believing it is time to start writing.

Thirteen years, friend. That’s how long the idea has lived inside of me. And while I could be bogged down by the fact that I haven’t written it down sooner, every bit of life I’ve lived in the interim will inform how the words come out. How they sound. How they feel. How much weight they hold.

If you are in a season that feels chaotic and hard, like you can’t catch your breath if you tried, don’t pressure yourself with one more thing. Live fully into the season. Find ways to clear space for the next. Catch the ideas and write them down. Let them simmer on the backburner. Let God be God.

Imagine God gives you an idea for a dish you’re going to make in the future but you don’t have the recipe just yet. That’s not necessarily an invitation to make your own recipe. It might be that you need to wait longer. It might be that God starts by revealing the idea and then slowly reveals the ingredients. The process. The delicate instructions. Piece by piece, he wants to enter into a partnership with you.

If you could do the work all on your own, what would be the point? All the glory would go solely to you.

I always think about Moses and how he had a vision laid on his heart by God. He acted on that vision immediately and ended up screwing things up massively. Just because he had the revelation, he assumed he was ready for the execution. That’s not always the case.

Look how beautiful the life of Moses turned out. Look at the intimacy he fostered with God. It was a long, hard road but the waiting led to the fruition of the revelation. And when it was go-time, Moses used everything he’d learned over those 40 years to show up for the present mission.

God might reveal an idea to you and it might be 5 more years until you see the first part of it come to fruition. That doesn’t mean you need to sit on your hands or do nothing. Submitting to his divine timing is anything but passive. Waiting is a very active response.

Remember: God is the God of new things. If he is going to something in your life, it’s bound to be new. Something you’ve never seen before. Something you’ve never experienced before. More than likely, a creation you’ve never created before.

Don’t be afraid to accept his timing over your own.

I know every message out there these days is about productivity and getting things done but you’re not operating on the world’s timetable. Don’t be afraid. God knew what he was doing when he gave you the idea. And he knows, already, when the timing will be right.

It’s okay to let an idea slow-cook, even within a microwave culture. Some ideas need time to breathe. To grow legs. To take shape. Don’t crash into that process with your impatience. Let the idea breathe. Watch it grow legs. Let it take shape. Be in the process instead of wishing you could be at the end of the process already. You don’t want to miss the process, trust me. That’s where all the good stuff happens.

One day, it will be go-time. For now, let that idea slow simmer and add an aroma of joy to your life. He’s going to be good. He’s going to be faithful. It’s going to be glorious.

I’d love to hear from you:

In moving my blog to a newer platform, I sadly had to let go of the thousands of comments and conversations that came from readers over the last 10+ years. This grieves me deeply but I know there will new conversations, fresh words of wisdom, and opportunities to create close community once again. I’d love to hear from you in the comments section. I’ll be reading + replying on a regular basis.


  1. Sheena Heinrichs says:

    Wow. This, literally, felt like it was written just for me. I’ve had a book idea for 4 years. With 3 chapters written, I started really trying to crank it out this summer. I was just starting to feel like I was running out of God’s strength and into my own. I was getting discouraged. This was a little arrow to my heart. Thank you.

  2. Mckinsey says:

    I really needed this. Thank you!

  3. Amy Bareham Chapman says:

    Absolutely love this: "Submitting to his divine timing is anything but passive. Waiting is a very active response." Such a good truth nugget.

  4. Sarah says:

    This is a very timely word. I’ve a vision for an idea God gave me back in 2015. I felt for the longest that I wasn’t doing what God had called me to do, but there came a not yet home kind of peace in waiting on God to open doors and fulfill this vision. Also another new idea/passion that has been cooking the last two years and I am quick to rush ahead and make it happen. Yet I choose to place my hope in Him.

  5. Kelsey says:

    “Just because he had the revelation, he assumed he was ready for the execution. That’s not always the case.”

    That GOT me. These are definitely words I needed to hear today, not just for ideas I’ve had swirling around for a few years but recent revelations. I don’t need to rush the process or feel like it needs to be tackled all at once. I may have some learning to do before I get there.

  6. Kelli says:

    Hi Hannah-
    I love your encouraging newsletters and blogs. I have ideas for books and writing as I transition from technical writer to creative writer, homeschool mom for twenty years, and now moving into my golden–and what I hope to be my most productive writing–years. In 2020, God sent me back to grad school to get a Master’s Degree in Teaching Writing. It’s taking me 3.5 years until I graduate next May. I never thought this would be the way to incubate my books and ideas. But grad school is shaping me, changing me, helping me process, sharpening my craft. When I was younger it was hurry, hurry to get mediocre product. Now I don’t care how long it takes. It is worth it to craft sentences and thoughts that are much better than if I hadn’t lived in this in-between mode with all my ideas. Cheers to the incubators, the waiters, the soakers. He makes all things beautiful….in HIS time.

  7. Katherine says:

    This is so needed. Thank you, Hannah!

  8. Tryphena says:

    I absolutely love how Hannah can write about being productive and getting things done AND can share the truth about actively waiting and preparing for the next move. I appreciate the balance in these reflections, and of course, the wisdom that these are grounded in. For someone currently in the middle of a painful transition (that could have easily been avoided had I taken my time), I am slowly coming to realize the significance of waiting, and all that ‘the middle ground’ can teach us if we’ll allow ourselves to be open to learning. There are good things on the other side of the harvest, and there are good things right here as we hold the seed and prepare to plant. I don’t want to miss the blessing in each season.

  9. Marinalva Sickler says:

    You encouraged me with the thirteen years for your book to be produced. You inspir me with your writings.


  10. Lilli says:

    Thank you for these words. I’ve thought that God had given me several story ideas and characters that I love, but things happen, and I have been questioning whether or not writing these stories is what I really should be doing. Your words have encouraged me. Thank you.

  11. Emma L. says:

    These are such encouraging and much needed words. The Lord has truly used you once more to speak to me. I have been wishing this season I am in would make sense and that I could see the end of this process, but I have been so unhappy in doing so. I have drained all joy from my life trying to get to where I think I should instead of being where I am. Thank you, Hannah.

  12. Jessa says:

    I vividly remember my vision from God to put up a coffee shop to serve the youth ministry last 2016. Fast forward 2022, now that I feel ready to finally do it full time, the opportunity seems so limited. No rental space near universities aren’t opening.
    This reminds me to just let go the idea and maybe this is not they year yet. If it’s His will, then He will open doors for the idea He has given.

  13. Brittany says:

    Thank you for your encouragement. I’ve long wanted to write a book (memoir style) and I have had the idea and the stories for a while. I knew with the idea I needed the time to wait for my life experiences to unfold so I had stories to tell, but lately I feel the nudge that now is the time to start getting serious about writing. What feels like a hindrance to me is the involvement on social media that it seems authors must engage in. I’m not creative in that sense nor do I need another reason to be on a device instead of present with my people. I also work full time and my work doesn’t allow flexibility to write/post during my working hours. I have 3 kids and they are getting busier as they get older. I know it can be done, but I haven’t found a motivating rhythm to make it happen. Any extra words of advice are welcome!

  14. Alyssa Puckett says:

    Really needed this permission slip today. Thank you for these words Hannah!

  15. Sarah says:

    I really needed to hear this today. God gave me an idea for a book a few years ago, and initially I thought it would be done in a matter of months because it’s on the shorter side, but the more I wrote and re-wrote the more I realized the book needed to be written by someone I haven’t become yet. There are more things God has for me to do and experience before I can write this book the way it’s meant to be written. And that’s been a bit frustrating at times because I love checking off boxes and getting things done, and God’s given me a box that isn’t meant to be checked off just yet. But He’s also helping me to release that desire to Him, to wait expectantly on His timing and appreciate the beauty and purpose of the slower rhythm of the season He has me in right now.

    Thank you for your encouraging post!

  16. Debra Fillingim says:

    Whenever I read what you’ve written, I relate. It’s like I could have said that. Thank you for keeping it real…

  17. Amy says:

    Hannah, thank you for once again reminding me it’s as much about the journey in our life as it is about the destination. I really needed that today.

  18. Courtney Tucker says:

    Thank you so much. I have been right in this spot some days on my summer of writing. Thankful for the reminder to let God be God.

  19. Ejiro says:

    I was somewhat a late bloomer as a kid. And it’s played out in aspects of my life, even into adulthood. And, more recently, I used to think I was doing something wrong by allowing the passage of time just so some ideas grow; feeling like the rest of the world is getting things done while I’m still baking. This piece has just encouraged me to be more attentive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and to rely on God’s direction for movement and speed.

    Thank You.

  20. LuAnn says:

    This post is so … me. I constantly push to move to my timetable. Waiting to go forward is not something that was ‘taught’ when I was a child. It was, "have goals, strive every day, make them happen". I had to learn that some things are not in my control, and if something didn’t happen to plan, I was not guilty of not trying hard enough. Enough! God’s timing has proven time and time again to be better than my expectations. I can’t wait (haha!) to see what He has in store.

  21. Wendy Rice says:

    Thank you for reminding me that the book God has told me to write will be on His timing. I don’t have to feel any shame about any of it – the message, the process, or how long it takes. He will enable me to produce what he wants to be written.

  22. Lucy M says:

    Hallo. You’re my gift for the day. This is exactly what I needed today and for that, I thank you. Just discovered you while searching for love letters to practice calligraphy and I’ll stay for awhile.

  23. Elise says:

    What you’re saying about it all being on God’s timing is so true. Like, three years ago I wanted to do volunteering in Lourdes, France, back then I was too young. Then covid hit and I spent another two years at home. This year I finally was able to, and my plans changed there, I spent five days with youth on mission and then joined the hospitality. I knew God had planted that desire in my heart, but I didn’t know when it would happen. That is happened this year was truly God’s timing, because it meant the beginning of amazing memories, new friends, a whole new experience. Thanks to God!

  24. Meghan says:

    I tend to let your emails build up in my inbox and then I read them at my own pace. I chose this one tonight because a seed has been planted in me. I just moved 7.5 hours away from home, and I want this seed of colligate ministry to grow quickly. I feel like it is an answered prayer of what my purpose. But as you say in this blog, it is all in God’s timing, and I needed that reminder. Thank you!

  25. Hannah says:

    I know this essay is months old, but it just hit different today. God gave me the idea to write a book about my late father over two years ago. God even gave me the title and a path for it to follow. Then the pandemic, then grad school was put on hold, then grieving the loss of some important people in my life. The idea was still there and I wrote a little each year. This year, I have written for a blog and now twice for a Christian magazine. God knew I needed the practice. Thank you for these words because there have been moments that I thought it is never going to happen. But it will, when God wants it to.

  26. Courtney says:

    I have had this vision for a community space where people can come and receive the love of Christ through our hands and our feet. A community hub that offers food services, clothing, furniture, financial assistance, counseling, referral services to outside organizations that can help put you on the right path for SNAP benefits, medical assistance, etc. One place instead of 10 others that might feels so overwhelming for someone who is in need to try and find. A never-ending circle of phone calls all that lead to not getting the help they truly need. A place where a family member or a friend or anyone can go and get help for someone in need. Its a capital B – big idea. And I have no idea where to start. But I feel with everything in me that this is what God has been preparing me for through all the situations in my life. I have a terrible track record of starting something and getting so overwhelmed, it never gets finished. Or I just don’t start at all. But this time, I am putting it all in God’s hands. Everything you said in this article, Let God be God. And trust the process and His timing. Thank you for message. My heart needed this today.

  27. Beth says:

    I just finished (for the 2nd time!) reading "West With Giraffes". The author, though practiced as a professional biographer for various organizations, had never written ‘her’ novel. Now, somewhere in her late 60’s/early 70’s, she is enjoying the success of an imaginative historical novel. As her contemporary, her plucky stick-to-itiveness and this article gives me hope!

  28. Sarah says:

    Love, every word of this. It also seems to be the very season I am in right now. Thank you for the gentle yet reassuring reminder that it is in his time not mine. Also that even though it might not yet be go time there are still steps I can take until it is.

  29. Susan says:


  30. Susan says:

    I wanted to let you know this really struck me today as if it was a message from above. I went through a rough time when my son was a teenager and I kept a diary about what happened daily.. a lot of not good things. I have wanted to turn this into a book that would help others that might be traveling down this lonely and frightening road. Thank you for spurring me on as I feel like I have just been sitting on this diary for ten years or more. I know when I was going through hard times with him I searched for help everywhere and was ravenous for ideas and hope. This message from you combined with the sermon at church yesterday, has given me a new energy to get to work and get the book done. People need hope and love when dealing with these situations. God helped my son and our family and I know he will help others. I hope that when I get the book done and published, it will help people turn to God and seek his help in difficult times.

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Hi, I'm Hannah

I love writing about all things faith, mental health, discipline + and motherhood. Let's be penpals!


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