In a far-flung corner of my garden sits a rustic, weatherboard, split-level chicken coop with a nesting box bulging from the side. Inside live two guinea pigs and two rather robust white chickens — Henny and Penny.

Up until a few weeks ago, Henny and Penny were good layers. On a good day, we’d collect two to three eggs that were often fried up the following morning. The girls were always on their game. Like clockwork, they would hustle into the nesting box, hunker down, squawk for about a minute and pop out a few eggs.

Then one morning I noticed Henny, the larger chicken, would only lay one egg at a time and sit on it all day. Concerned about her behaviour, I sought advice from our local expert, the owner of a stock feed store, who explained the phenomenon. “Ah … she’s broody mate,” he said, which I later discovered was a behavioural tendency where chickens will sit firmly on their eggs waiting for them to hatch.

This explanation was a lightbulb moment. If eggs were my ideas, then I’ve been guilty of being broody at times; sitting on my creative ideas for an inordinate amount of time until so much time has lapsed, they are either no good anymore or someone else has claimed them. My fear of failure or lack of confidence have meant many of my creative genius moments have come and gone.

One particular story idea I had was a corker and one I knew instinctively would work for a certain publication, yet it took me two years to pluck up enough courage to forward the pitch to the editor. Now I’d love to tell you my submission was an immediate hit, but I didn’t hear anything for weeks until I rallied myself and made a phone call.

Apparently I caught the Editor at the wrong moment. “I’m on a deadline,” he barked, informing me in no uncertain terms he didn’t take unsolicited pieces. Trembling, I put down the phone, walked into the kitchen and made a cup of tea, resigning myself to defeat. Weeks passed and then out of the blue an email arrived from that same cranky editor who wrote, “Nicole. I like this idea. What else have you written?” I submitted some clippings; he liked what he saw, and commissioned me to write an article, which was published earlier this year.

What’s more, “My spark of genius,” a story I knew was prompted by the Holy Spirit and one which mentioned the name of Jesus, got 1000 shares on Facebook and a congratulatory phone call from the editor. It was a lesson for me: To trust my instinct and to believe in myself. Oh, and not to leave it so long next time.

I wonder–  How many ideas, inspirations, revelations, sparks of genius are we sitting on, too afraid to present them or explore them? I’m not talking about those colossal concepts that involve taking a massive risk, but small, divinely inspired moments of brilliance that could well open doors to your next God assignment. Think about it:

  • What are you sitting on that’s gold?
  • What’s stopping you?