Wednesday, 4 January 2012
On the 29th of December 2011, my husband, son and I, packed our bags and began a 400 km drive to Mildura, Victoria. We looked forward to welcoming the new year in with our extended family from Whyalla, Sydney and the Blue Mountains. Our plan was to converge on neutral territory and to enjoy 5 days of relaxation, adventure and family times together. Very exciting! We found that the roads were packed with many other holiday makers, both before us and behind us. Our speedy passage was often interrupted by many a slow moving vehicle.
Shan would overtake a long slow road train and breathe a sigh of relief as we moved again at the appointed speed limit of 110 kmph. But ever so frustratingly, just 10 or 15 minutes later, we would catch up on yet another slow moving vehicle. And then…. more overtaking was needed by swinging out to the lane of oncoming traffic. It always made me hold my breath and pray fervently that we would not have a head on crash!
Obstacles! No matter where you drive, there are often obstacles to overcome, don’t you think? I got my driver’s license only a year ago. Driving hazards seem to pop up every time I drive. A car on the right of me; a roundabout in the front of me; an impatient tailgater on the back of me, a parked car on the left of me….! Whenever I get behind the wheel, my road seems to become an obstacle course!
Come to think of it, every time I start walking on the road of life, obstacles seem to drop down right ahead of me. Know what I mean?
In fact, hazards and obstacles pop up all over the place on our Writing journeys too, don’t they? A writer’s life is not an easy life. Needing agents, but never finding them; needing publishers but getting rejected by them; needing ideas but losing them; needing readers but being rebuffed by them; needing luck but losing the same; needing encouragement but often discouraged…..! Need I go on?
You and I know that we are often energised by our calling. That we have purpose and passion as we write. That nothing excites us as much as the stories that grab at us from the inside. That life at the keyboard, or life with a blank piece of paper and pen is truly invigorating. That there is lots of good stuff inside us that needs to get out there and be seen and heard and read by the world!
We also know that we rarely have a smooth ride. Other professions seem to have it easier. They may not spend half the time we do on their work, but they actually earn good money from it. We don’t. We work hard; we write into the wee hours, we burn the midnight oil. But to what purpose? Our should-be-world-famous manuscripts are often not picked up. They sit idly on a slush pile at a Publisher’s desk somewhere out there for many dreary months. And then we get that dreaded letter from the Publisher, which politely informs us that we didn’t make it this time! Perhaps we do publish our books. But then have to spend many hours and lots of energy figuring out how to sell our books.
As we were winding our way towards Mildura, my mind went catapulting towards obstacles, not just as a Christian writer but also as a Christian. I don’t know about you – but as for me, my Christian life is jam packed with obstacles. One day I walk around without a care in the world; a song in my heart and a smile on my lips. The next day I wonder what hit me. I crash into a huge roadblock on life’s journey. It badly impedes my progress; it quickly steals my joy!
Wouldn’t it be great if life’s highway was one beautiful stretch of country road with no obstacles, no difficulties, no hard to live with folks, no nothing that impedes our progress? Then, we would be singing all the time. Our purses would bulge. We would hold it all together. We would even be successful, well known authors. Life would be wonderful!
But you know what? That’s an illusion! Yes, an illusion. Dare I say it? Yes! I do believe that without those very obstacles, life would not be half as good it is now! Without the difficulties and the huge mountains that block my progress, I would not be half the writer I am today; or half the woman I believe I am!
As I reflect at the start of a brand new year on the year that is past, I feel a warm glow welling up inside of me. The glow isn’t all about success that follows the world’s definition of success. The feelings of well being that bubble up inside me overflow out of a different kind of success.
When I chalk up my successes of 2011, the ones that I feel most ‘proud’ and glad about are nothing to do with my “achievements”. No! I am full of joy today because I re-discovered this past year that God and I are always a majority. That God alone is always enough. Full stop. I feel successful not because of success. But because I chose His way when times got rough. Because I jumped over many hurdles with His help. Because I am still going.
Because I deliberately chose a better pathway when an obstacle loomed in front of me. Because I decided to take a detour when God suggested I needed one. Because I felt my soul growing muscles each time I overcame an obstacle! And yes, I even felt God’s cheering me on from the sidelines as I jumped over hurdle after hurdle in His strength! And you know, He sometimes gave me Eagles wings, so I could fly high over some of those obstacles!
On Jan 1st 2012, as I sat in an unknown little church in Mildura with my family – many miles away from home, my heart was bursting with joy. I felt God’s love and peace in my heart. I knew that any difficulties I’d encountered to date in my writing journey were all good – they had challenged me; and they had helped me. They had made me appreciate the good things I had accomplished. And so I didn’t take them for granted. They spurred me on to write better.
I knew also that life’s obstacles of the past year were stepping stones to character growth, to refining my spirit. Lessons in learning to love God. Lessons in learning how to live in freedom as His beloved child. Lessons of doing things God’s way and not mine.
So the very things I thought of as obstacles to a happy life were in fact the source of my joy today. I believe I have a new confidence. A new spring in my step. A new smile in my heart. I did have a year filled with obstacles. But the obstacles were blessings. Seeming hazards that refined me as a writer. That grew me as a person. And so I rejoice today with all I am. And praise God for an obstacle filled year which brought me closer to Him and His purposes for my life.
Is your present life as a Writer an obstacle course? Is your life as a Christian filled with new hazards each day? Fear not my friend. Those very obstacles are the stepping stones to better things. I say this with confidence, because His word says so. And I found it to be true. He has shown its truth to me over and over again.
The obstacles I’ve surmounted and overcome through God’s amazing love and God’s amazing grace, have brought me where I am today. I do love the new ground I stand upon today. I am excited about the new pathways that beckon me enticingly. So there is something to say about this Obstacle Course called Life. It’s great! Take my word for it!
May every obstacle in your writer’s journey bring out the best in you! May every hazard in your Christian journey be the stepping stone to enjoying abundant life – today and every day of 2012!
A very Blessed New Year to you all!
Anusha enjoys many things in life – music and song, poetry and prose, writing and writers, family and friendships, creation and The Creator. She’s finds joy in simple things, in quiet moments, in life led by the One who died for her.
She’s been writing all her life for pleasure. But 5 years ago, God tapped her on the shoulder and asked her to get on with His plans for her. Since then she’s been writing also to fulfill her purpose and calling in life!
Her first book 'Enjoying the Journey', a collection of 75 little lessons from every day life, is available from her Facebook page "'Enjoying the Journey' by Anusha Atukorala".