My Journey as a Writer
"The Spirit of truth will testify to me, says the Lord, and you also will testify."
- John 15:26b, 27a -
- John 15:26b, 27a -
Dirty dishes on the sink. Laundry crawling out of the hamper. Browning grout in the shower. Daughters with ears plugged to their electronics oblivious to the mom shouting, "Dinner is ready!"
This is the kind of scenario that drains my energy to low batt. I know I need to recharge, to plug into my source.
I sat down and prayed and picked up The Imitation of Christ.
"Vanity. Everything is vanity."
Ugh. I felt the punch in my gut. Have I allowed stress to enter my house, and entertained it with coffee? I had a perfectly manageable home until I started this freelance business. Then things got out of hand. I spent more and more time on my computer screen than in the kitchen. My mind spent more and more time thinking about my website than the empty refrigerator and pantry.
God's Warning Signs
As I checked my email, deleting the spams, one subject caught my eye. "Been sacrificing your writing dreams?"
Certainly I had not, I thought. I've launched my blogsite; been keeping myself up to date with webinars on SEO optimization, how to's to increase traffic, steps to build my subscribers; started networking and exposing myself to social media; and keeping a good tab of my progress.
Or have I? This question pounded me on the head after reading The International Freelancer's newsletter. This very successful freelance writer, despite her enormous success and a thriving writing career, felt she has failed as a writer. Why? Because she has allowed her freelance writing projects get in the way of her writer's dream --- to write books.
As if that newsletter was not enough, when I picked up "The Wealthy Freelancer", the author, at the beginning of the chapter staunchly warned its readers about one pitfall that may hound freelancers --- that after having achieved enormous success with landing writing projects and clients, we come to realize one day that the writing dream has become a nightmare. No longer are we writing for the joy and love of writing, but has brought corporate America inside our home with all its stress and imbalance.
And the last punch in my gut --- Matthew Kelly's book "Resisting Happiness: A true story about why we sabotage ourselves, feel overwhelmed, set aside our dreams, and lack the courage to simply be ourselves... and how to start choosing happiness again!" The subtitle probably explained it all. I was just struck that someone as successful as him, a New York Times Best Selling inspirational author should experience this scenario and have to battle with it DAILY!
He's saying that there are things that we know make us happy, but somehow, we resist doing it. We get sidetracked with the inessentials and mundane things. We push it at the lowest priority. For instance, he knows that daily prayer makes him happy because it connects him with the divine inspiration and guides his day. Yet he always has to put an effort to sit down and actually pray. Taking a walk also makes him happy because it clears up his mind but it's also a struggle to actually go out and walk! And writing gives him immense satisfaction and fulfillment, yet the effort of actually sitting down and putting words in paper is a hurdle that he needs to overcome. But when he defeats the first battle, that is, the resistance to pray, he finds enough armaments to slay all the other dragons.
That was another punch in my gut. I realized that I have allowed myself to get carried away with the trivial tasks thinking these are more important than the dream that I share with God --- to publish my novel. His novel.
Keeping a healthy balance
As a Christian copywriter, I know I have a greater purpose --- that of building God's kingdom even in the ordinary tasks. Yet, in order to do this, I need a balanced and inspired life. I cannot inspire if I start to expire.
In the hospital, we have a different use for the word "expired". It's not just for products in our pantry or refrigerator that indicate these are no longer good to consume, and consuming it might make us sick. In the medical field, it means dead. Literally. The patient has expired and the white blanket is pulled over the entire body.
I cannot inspire if I am expired. Many times, the things that push me to the point of expiration are the mundane tasks that I shove as my priority, the anxiety with which I season my work with abundance, the stress that I cloak and wrap around my body.
God speaks all the time, we just ignore Him most of the time
Today, Saturday, I had no reason to get up early. But at 5:30 in the morning, I opened my eyes feeling rested. So I thought, I might as well pray. No reason to sabotage myself at the start of the day.
With the usual prayer booklet Challenge 2000, I started my prayer. And then an idea flashed in my head. Go to mass.
Hmmm. The only mass near me is at the Cistercian Abbey and I've never been to that place. Who knows if only the Cistercians are celebrating mass in that place. That would be totally awkward to see a lay woman suddenly appear and join them, wouldn't it? Resistance welled inside me.
But the thought persisted. So I picked my iphone and googled Cistercian Abbey. Of course, the first thing that appeared was the Liturgy schedule. How convenient!
Daily mass: Monday to Saturday at 6:30 AM.
But it still does not say, join us for the liturgy, I continued to resist and argue.
My eyes landed on the facebook link. How convenient, really.
The first thing that appeared on the screen -- Join Us.
But I have not finished my morning prayer yet, I resisted further.
You're going to a church. To hear mass. The highest form of prayer. The voice within me sounded adamant. And did I also hear just a teeny-tiny hint, a little note of exasperation there?
Alright, alright. I knew there was no point arguing. I dressed up, drove on the quiet and still dark neighborhood and arrived at the Abbey within 5 minutes.
At 6:05 AM, it was way too early for the mass, but I saw cars parked and a man went inside the church so I followed.
The moment I entered, peace settled in my soul. I was where I should be.
The melodious, deep voices echoed inside the high-ceilinged stone church as the monks chanted the Office of Readings and Lauds. I sighed and settled on the seat at the back. Lay men and women trickled inside the church while the monks prayed. The readings, hymns and air of solemnity soothed my senses like a cool balm on a burning wound. I heaved a deep sigh as my spirit joined in prayer.
I have slayed the first dragon of resistance.
After an hour I left the church, I knew other dragons of resistance will come my way. But I am armed and ready.
Focus on the dream
As a freelancer just starting out in this writing business, I have learned that it's easy to get sidetracked, to forget the very thing that made me abandon everything to pursue my dream.
So I wrote what I needed to do first, and make sure that I didn't neglect it.
I know I will encounter resistance within me and even outside of me every day. But being aware of why I am here, doing this thing will keep me on the right track.
As a Christian copywriter, it would be foolish if I did not start my day with a prayer and my work with another prayer.
Didn't St. Paul say, "Pray unceasingly?"
Didn't Jesus wake up early EVERY SINGLE MORNING to pray first before he went out to do His work, His ministry.
Am I greater than Him, that I can afford to pray less or even not to pray?
If He, the Son of God, who is completely united with the Father, rose up early in the morning to pray, who do I think I am to even consider doing His work, His ministry without prayer?
And I consider myself as a Christian copywriter. Shame on me!
How can I inspire if I do not plug into my source?
If I cease to inspire, I expire. Plain and simple.
So with a careful resolve, as I washed the dirty dishes, loaded the dirty laundry, prepared barley soup and baked bread, I wrote my plans for the week ahead, making sure I put on the top of the list the one thing that brought me to this writing business in the first place.
And yes, on top of that, to PRAY. Daily. At the start of the day. So I don't cease to inspire.
11/13/2022 10:16:57 am
Thanks for sharing thiis
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