Thursday, July 6, 2017

Empowerment Through Trust

 by Josephine-Anne Griffiths


The other day while I was reading and proofing a manuscript for a lovely Christian writer, the penny finally dropped for me as to the one true theme of the book. It’s a fabulous book and I shall be posting a review on my website on July 10th when it is due to be released. Yes, there are many themes and thoughts running throughout this particular book, however, the theme that struck me the most, was that of control. Control of us by others, our resulting actions, and our desire to self-control and have control of every moment and detail of our earthly lives. I guess it is only human, but if we truly know God, we should know and accept that He has ultimate and complete control over everything. We just need to trust, and that can be extremely difficult.



Some weeks ago now, there was a disaster at the Griffiths’ residence. A nasty old Ransom Malware worm accessed my computer via my website. I know I should have been more cautious when opening an article on a ‘likers’ website and I should have unplugged the external hard drive before proceeding. I definitely should have copied important files to a USB flash drive; however, I’ve previously been misplacing these pesky little things. Trust me, quite a few changes will be taking place within my writing space.


· Always back up, but unplug external drive when not backing up.

· Use those USB flash drives, label them, and store them in the safe.

· Be super cautious about what I open up on the internet. Just because someone ‘liked’ one of my posts does not mean that they are a friendly source. I’m afraid my human pride and my annoying curiosity let me down here. ‘Oh wow! Another person likes what I am writing!’



The point is that I thought I had good control over what I was doing. I promised myself that I’d finish my first draft of ‘Charlie Dreams’ by the end of May this year. I did it. I finished before my deadline at the beginning of May. After approximately three years of writing on and off on this particular project, scraping some and writing more, I came up with 80,000 beautiful words (or so I thought and still do), ready to go through their first edit.
Ah, the agony of the edit. Killing off many of my darlings, correcting my grammar mistakes and other typos. I don’t know who would have cried the hardest, me or those beautiful words. Over those three years I wrote somewhere between three hundred and fifty and four hundred thousand words. Many darlings had to be executed, but what if every last darling word was gone? What if I was faced with a blank screen, with all my hard work just a memory? Well that’s kind of what happened to me. 'Charlie Dreams is lost in cyberspace ... gone forever, unless I start the whole process again. I spent a couple of weeks mourning my loss, crying, stamping my feet, sitting in my armchair sulking, vowing that I would never write again.



Slowly I began to reason through the situation. After all, this was so much my own fault. I could either sulk forever, or perhaps begin again, using the gifts that God has generously bestowed upon me. You’ll be happy to hear that I have chosen the latter.
Now about that little word, control … try as we might to control all things us, we never have complete control – only God has that. He told me. He warned me. I heard those soft, patient words inside my stubborn head which said ‘Back up properly, keep everything safe, print off a hard copy and lock it in the filing cabinet. You never know what may happen, but I do, so be careful and wise.’ Did I listen? Well obviously I did not! Will I listen in the future? Definitely! I am already listening. Our desktop computer and my laptop are having a well-earned vacation with the computer technician/engineer (aka my beloved step-son, Brad). As you read this, I am working on hubby’s (aka HoneyBun) laptop, with strict instructions not to even think about putting anything on his laptop. This is all going directly to a flash drive which is labelled and will go into a snap-lock bag near my work space, with a duplicate in my safe. Next time I have so many words to share, I will go straight to Office Works and let them print out a hard copy, and bind it for me.



As mere humans it is natural to want control, especially if we have been through some traumas in life. We yearn to have that control over something. I know myself that I have been through stages in my life where others controlled and manipulated me. Feeling powerless and useless is very debilitating. However, although we are not useless or stupid, because we were wonderfully made, with a purpose, we don’t need to have control of everything because He always has our back. Always has everything sorted ahead of time. He knows why things happen the way they do. Which leads me to another question. ‘Why am I writing, and who for? What does He want me to write?’ You know, if I never wrote another word, He would always know and appreciate what I had written, because nothing is lost in His realm.



Some good news now! I did manage to find my synopsis for ‘Charlie Dreams’ and one short chapter. It is a beginning! Also I have signed up for ‘July Camp NaNoWriMo’ which began on Saturday July 1st. I have made a slow start, but it is a start. One cannot edit or proofread a blank page 😏



So, what have I gained from this experience as a writer? Apart from the need to be more careful and organised, I’ve truly realised the need to have faith, and trust the One who loves me the most.

"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them." ~ Maya Angelou

Who am I writing for? That’s easy, God of course. Everything I do each day is for Him, and I know He’s smiling down upon me even when I make mistakes.




What about you? Did you ever have such a moment when you realised that all things were really beyond your control? I hope you did because it is both humbling and empowering. Yes, we do have free will … that is a gift, but beyond that we must trust.



Please leave a comment below. I would love to hear of your experiences. In particular, how did you regain the courage to begin again, whatever it was that you were working on.

10 comments:

  1. Thank you Josephine-Anne...I too have had a revelation about control! I think too much about the long distance future. This week God reminded me He is in control and to enjoy today without thinking about what 'might' be in the days ahead!
    So thankful God's got it!
    Wonderful to have companions from CWD for the road trip of life!

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    1. Thank you, Di :-)
      It seems that quite a few people are receiving these revelations about control. I suppose with the world running in such a fast pace, and not always in the right direction, it's only natural to want to take back control. I too am glad God's got it. Yes, it is lovely to have caring friends on this journey called life. Take care Di :-)

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  2. Wow, Jo'-Anne. Losing work like that would shatter me. I commend your apparent sanity ;). One way to Inexpensively back up work is to email it to yourself at the end of each day. But you are right, we can't control everything. I'm glad for the reminder to rest in God's love...

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    1. Hi Sue :-)
      Another good friend told me the same about emailing myself at the end of the day. I need to listen more I think *wink* Thank you for your assumption that I am sane (apparently), but you know we all need a wee bit of crazy to keep us doing what we do ... And in my case, really good medication :-D
      Bless you :-)

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  3. Hi Jo'Anne. Thanks for a great post. I still get a shiver thinking about how you lost three years work and 80,000 words despite all the back-ups. A writer's worst nightmare! It is a comfort to know that despite everything, God is in control. I pray that the words will flow. They are in your writing memory already they just have to find their way through your fingers again. And who knows? (Well God.) this time around the words may be even more distilled, even more potent.

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    1. Thank you, Jenny :-)
      My sister Bernadette said exactly the same thing to me in an email earlier today. Yes, God is control, and I'm counting on His guidance so that my next 'first draft' may be better than ever. I love your words 'more distilled' and 'more potent' :-) This is what I am praying for :-)

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  4. Wow! What a beautiful post Jo-Anne and borne out of pain and suffering. My heart goes out to you. How cruel these people are who create ransomeware. I can't imagine the trauma you would have experienced to find ALL your work disappeared in an instant. And the backup too. Oh Jo'Anne. :( Too hard!

    Loved your thoughts about control and trust. I think most of our Christian lives are to do with trust. If we really trusted Him, we would be able to sail through life because we would be able to treat all adversity as blessings. But how hard it is to do that.

    I once deleted a spam comment on the Guest book of my website and 3 years worth of Guest comments disppeared in a flash. I was not a paying customer with Webnode then, so there was no backup and that was that. I grieved the loss - but knew I had to let it go. That was nothing compared to your loss of course. As a Computer Programmer in the eightees, I lost several programs (a lot of work they were too) and learnt the hard way about backing up being essential. A great lesson to learn.

    I fully agree that losing something valuable helps us to lean more on God. There was a time I lot of intangibles - my job, my ministry, my church family, two dear friends through death and my beloved Mama to death - all in the matter of 9 - 10 months. Wow - a tough season of loss it was. However, they have thrown me on God as never before and brought it's own bittersweet blessings. Now I can thank God for the soul growth and blessing that came through them and the knowledge that He is in control of my life and I can but yield and go with the flow. :)

    Blessings my dear friend on your writing journey and may all you have lost be returned to you a hundredfold. I'm sure you will discover the completed book in heaven one day if you don't find it here. Well done on your getting up and persevering through this too. You are a trooper!

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    1. Dear, sweet Anusha ... I am only persevering because the only other alternative would find me being a resident in St John of God, Psychiatric Hospital again. This past couple of years has been difficult for many, and yes you've had more than your fair share :( With three dear friends, and my wee Jessie all passing away within eighteen months of each other, and all of the health issues that keep wafting through this house, I really thought 'This has to be the end'. But unfortunately it's never the end ... Until. It. Is. The. End. Without God's Holy Spirit surrounding me, and numerous supportive friends, I don't think I could go on ... with anything. Thank you, Anusha :-)

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  5. Oh, Jo'Anne, ouch! But glad you're coming to terms with it. The new version will be even better. Tim Winton was all set to go to print with a book Dirt Music (?) but knew it wasn't right. He chose to start over, and the result is so acclaimed. I look forward to hearing of your progress. God bless.

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    1. Wow, Ruth! I guess if Tim Winton can be brave and trusting enough, then so can I :-) Thank you for your encouragement.
      God bless you on your writing journey too :-)

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