DR: Joy in the Journey
Recently, I was asked in an interview: What one thing would you like to share with up-and-coming writers that they may not even know to ask yet? I’m glad it was an e-mail interview because the question threw me for a minute. Yet, once I thought about it, I knew exactly what I longed to say: Appreciate the here and now! Don’t always be dreaming about what wonderful things the future might hold. Yes, a certain amount of “dreaming” is necessary to set goals and accomplish them, but I think we writers—and probably people in general—have too great a tendency to forget to enjoy the present because we’re so anxious about the future.
Our human nature tends to make us discontent no matter where we are in our career. We say “if only I could sell a manuscript,” but then when we do, instead of praising God for that blessing and letting it be enough for now, we start grasping at the next rung on the ladder. I want to write for a bigger publisher, I want to do a book tour, I want to win awards, I want to be on the bestsellers lists…
We also tend to compare ourselves to people who are further along the road than we are—more prolific, more “famous”—and of course we come up miserably short in our own eyes. Why don’t we, instead, learn to compare ourselves to the thousands of aspiring writers who have yet to see their name in print, or sign that first contract? Why can’t we look at the person who would give anything to be in our shoes, and be humbled to rejoice at how far we’ve come?
I know how I would feel if I gave one of our children a bicycle and she stamped her foot and pouted, “but I wanted a motorcycle!” There’s nothing wrong with wanting a motorcycle. I believe God honors us when we dream big and aspire to do great things for Him. But when we forget to acknowledge His gifts of “bicycles” along the way—or worse, when we gripe that “all I got was this stupid bike,” it’s akin to thumbing our nose at God’s gifts.
I hope I’m learning to enjoy each step along the way and to be grateful and content that God has seen fit to give me the opportunities and experiences He has. I have a long way to go before I accomplish all I’d like to in this business, but I’m so far ahead of where I was ten years ago.I’m learning that I can see a lot of great scenery as I pedal along—beautiful vistas that I might miss if I were whizzing by on a Harley. I don’t want to miss one mile of the journey.
Deborah Raney, author of A Nest of Sparrows and Over the Waters