Thursday, 13 August 2015

Don't let the world squeeze you

by Anusha Atukorala

Recently we had the joy of having a beloved niece visit us. On the last day of her stay, we planned a full day’s celebration of her birthday. God blessed us with golden sunlight and blue skies and we revelled in a day packed with family frolic. After she left, there were a few cheery reminders of her visit. A chair in our family room had a little red balloon tied to it. I smiled to myself as I removed it, recalling the fun we’d enjoyed.

This little balloon was fast losing air. I squeezed it gently. It was transformed into an oblong shape, like a large brightly coloured Easter egg. I hadn’t realised I could change the contour of a balloon and was fascinated. I left it on the table and got busy with a few chores. Later, I saw to my dismay that its shape had changed. It now looked a sad, messy piece of rubber. As I looked at it, I was reminded of wisdom from the Word:
Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould
Because of course when the world squeezes me into its mould – it offers me only temporary glory.

I don’t know about you, but I find that the modern world tries hard to mould me differently to what God intends. As a Christian writer – the present day lifestyle crowds into my God space – and into my freedom, demanding that I fill it up with many activities. Some of it is good. But a lot of it detracts from my calling.

What are ways the world can squeeze us Christian Writers into its mould?
1. It urges us to spend hours on numerous have-to-be-done projects – building our platform, networking, social media, blogging, marketing, self promotion – all which are good and right but could be at cost to other vital areas of our lives.

2. Counting the world’s standards of success as our yardstick. Success for us is not:
a. How many books we have published or
b. How many books we sell or
c. Doing what other writers do, because they are the done things or
d. Pleasing publishers and readers first rather than God

3. Filling our lives with good things but pushing out our relationship with God into the periphery.

The modern world is a very interesting place. We have numerous distractions which keep us happy. Technology has given us a leg up with great writing equipment, constant contact with other writers, computers, iPads, phones and a plethora of connections. Much if it is needed. But we can easily get swamped in the vastness of it all. And we can focus on the wrong things. Worse, we can even forget our calling.

What does success mean for you and me? What is the litmus test for us Christian writers? Success for me I believe is that I am faithful to my calling. Each of us has a different mandate within the larger context of being a writer. Perhaps it is a good practice for me to have a frequent check on my life?
Am I spending my time wisely?
• Am I being obedient to what God has called me to?
• Am I being a good steward of all the gifts He has endowed me with?
• Am I being faithful to what God requires of me to during this present season?
• Am I willing to give up what matters to me (even some of the ‘good things’) if God asks it of me?
• Am I bearing fruit that pleases Him?
• Is God being glorified in and through my life?

Romans 12 verse verses 1 and 2 shows me what to do each day.
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.”

May you and I be faithful to our calling. When God greets us at heaven’s gate may He be able to say to each of us:
Well done my good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of the Lord.

Anusha loves life. She is passionate about Jesus and the difference He has made in her life. Writing is one of the many things she loves to do. Invigorating walks on cold winter evenings, connecting with family and friends, writing contentedly at her computer, connecting with people, singing and making music, sharing the love of Jesus – these are some of her passions. Her first book ‘Enjoying the Journey’ contains 75 little God stories about life. Do drop in at her website to say G’day – Dancing in the Rain. She’d love to connect with you.


  1. Thanks for that check list reminder, Anusha. Being faithful to someone we love as Our Heavenly Father is just as true as in our earthly sphere. And like your funny balloon example, we are being squeezed by the culture around us. We just need to trust him and persist in our Christian walk.

    Here's the irony about persistence: it takes persistence to persist. In dealing with spiritual opposition, the longer we obey God, the greater the resistance. When we refuse Satan's first temptation, he escalates his attacks. When we stand against cultural immorality, the culture stands against us. The longer we trust God, the more we need to trust God, both for strength today and for results in eternity.

  2. Thanks for that insightful response Rita. Yes, I think it is very easy to get sucked into what HAS to be done and forget that sometimes God desires we do things differently to the culture around us. Some of what seem to be 'good' things are not always the right things for an individual. Or might detract from her or his calling.

    And you are right Rita. Persistence and perseverance is needed isn't it? Satan doesn't take 'no' for an answer so we need to keep resisting him. Thank God that God is always able to make a way when we come to Him and ask Him to lead us. May we be persevering and faithful in all He calls us to do.

  3. Thanks for your wise words Anusha - always good to keep a godly perspective in all we do.

    1. Thanks Jenny. I have found that the modern world clamours for attention all the time. It's only too easy to do a lot of good things but neglect the most important. A daily struggle. :)

  4. Yes Anusha, I know what you're talking about! I'm sure recognising the process, as you've done here, is one of the biggest factors in dealing with it. It's so easy to just drift along, getting unhappily caught up in those distractions, because the world convinces us to, as you say. Then, we may also tend to feel guilty when we aren't as successful as we feel we should be in our mould-squeezing. I know that was the case for me. Thanks for reminding us all to keep the most significant priorities first.

    1. Thanks Paula. I sometimes wonder if it is just me - so it's lovely to have someone who understands what I am talking about. :)

      I know life will always be challenging - especially when we desire to follow God and His purposes which go often in an opposite direction to the pull of the world.

      Thank you for your response which blessed me. xox

  5. A great post Anusha. It's so easy to get caught up in worldly views of writing and success and to veer from our calling. I think it's also important not to get too caught up in comparing ourselves to other authors. It's easy to think someone is more successful than we are or that they're doing or not doing what we think they should be. However, God may well have called them to different things. Thanks for the reminder to be true to our own calling. If we keep a check on that, we know we'll be doing what is pleasing to God.

    1. Hi Nola. Yes, good point that we needn't compare ourselves with other authors. We often compare ourselves with others even in our Christian lives - and yet - it's totally unnecessary! May we all please Him above all things. And may our offerings as Christian writers be sweet smelling sacrifices. :) Thanks Nola. xo

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  7. Dear Anusha, I found great comfort in reading this encouragement today. Thank you for sharing timeless wisdom.

    1. Thanks so much for digging it up today Mazzy. It was a lovely surprise reading something I'd written unexpectedly and it was good to be reminded of God's truths. So glad it comforted you my friend. May God continue to lead us into His ways and His work in His wisdom as we yield to Him.