“I can’t believe i’ve done it” I am sure this is a statement that most first time authors say when they finally hold their finished book in their hands. They were certainly the words that came to my mind. Writing a book for many people is a bucket list item that few ever begin let alone finish. I too have wondered many times whether I had what it takes to make it this far.
I started my journey to becoming an author many years ago. It began with a hope that the truths of my life could change other people’s lives for the better. A hope that perhaps my trials that became triumphs would help someone else turn their trials into triumphs. However, a simple desire to help others is not enough to get across the finishing line. It takes more than desire, it’s an investment of time and money, it takes courage, honesty, transparency, vulnerability and determination. For some these words are more than they are prepared to give but for those that dare to lay it all on the line, they become a published author.
Mother Teresa once said “A sacrifice to be real must cost, must hurt, and must empty ourselves” This so accurately sums up my journey in writing so far. There have been moments of deep searching and wanting to give up, it has cost me time, money and focus but the greater depths of truth you discover about yourself, bring the greater heights of joy when you finally reach the end of the road, knowing that you are a different person to the one who took that first step.
Putting your life into words sounds like it should be easy, they are just memories after all and I naively thought this would be the case when I began writing. However, for me it wasn’t just about reminiscing but reliving moments in my life that I either find pleasure in remembering or wished to forget.
I believe Mother Teresa’s words meant that to become who we are purposed and destined to be, we must sacrifice ourselves on the altar of honesty and vulnerability and that is a painful and sacrificial process. It was for this reason that I purposefully chose to be open, honest and vulnerable in my writing. I stepped bravely into the deleted scenes that I’d happily left on the cutting room floor to reposition them in the movie reel of my life. There are of course risks with vulnerability, it’s a fact that not everybody is going to get me and there will even be those who will no doubt oppose me, but I figure if I can help just one person discover Jesus through my story then it’s worth it.
The greatest challenge in my writing journey, however, was not IF I should write my story but more asking myself “what do I want to say”? The answer to this question had me at checkmate for many years.
Extravagant Life to Extravagant Love went through many facelifts and title changes, as, I guess, have I. We have evolved together as I have gone through the arduous process of discovering my voice and what is the takeaway from my life experiences, what do I really want to say? It wasn’t until I reached the last line of the final chapter and looked back over my life when I had a ‘Eureka’ moment.
My life is a perfect example of God’s extravagant love. He has always been present through every trial and triumph, through every high and low, even when I didn’t realise, even when I thought he was distant. Hindsight is great at bringing perspective to the past. I could see so clearly that my Saviour was always there, showing up in the nick of time, guiding and leading me and lavishing upon me so much that it would leave me in awe of his great love and kindness. But here’s the best part and what I want to say to the world. These experiences are not just unique to me, it’s available for you too if you dare to open your heart and mind to experience Jesus. He longs to lavish his love upon you too, to take you on an incredible journey of discovering him. If I had to choose between living with extravagance or being loved with extravagance I would choose the latter everytime, for His love is the most valuable thing we could ever possess.
Romans 5:8 MSG ‘We can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!