By Marilyn Turk
It seems like I’ve spent most of my adult life in a hurry.
Raising three sons born within four years and working full time in the big city corporate world forces you to hurry. Looking back, that time seems like a blur of activity.
My sons were involved in different sports which meant they were usually in three different places, often at the same time. In addition, school work had to be done in between their other activities.
I worked in sales for twenty-five years and “lived” in my car, driving all over Atlanta and North Georgia. If you’ve ever driven in Atlanta, or any big city for that matter, you know how hectic it is. Traffic races through and around town, then suddenly grinds to a halt when there’s an accident. And there’s always an accident somewhere. You pray you won’t be in it, yet your stomach is in knots because you have to get to an appointment.
Competition is fierce, and company politics are frustrating, yet you must endure and rise above because the job is important to your family’s income.
Then one day the children are gone, and life takes a turn, but not a dead end. When retirement is possible, some people want to pursue dreams they carried for years. For me, the dream was writing, and soon I found myself in another race—the race to get published.
So another set of activities took over with conferences to attend, proposals to create, blogs to post, social media to keep up with, and even books to write. Competition exists in the writing world as well, as writers vie for the attention of publishers and readers alike.
This past weekend I attended another conference, but this time with my author-friend Lenora Worth, who’s been writing for over twenty years. While I was hurrying to get to the scheduled events, she was less concerned. Even though she’ll quickly say one can always learn, her main focus was seeing old friends and enjoying her time away from working (writing full time).
We stayed at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, which is one of the most unique and beautiful hotels I’ve even seen. The center of the hotel is a giant atrium filled with flowers, trees and shrubs set among myriad waterfalls and waterways.
Lenora kept telling me how beautiful the scenery was and how she had found other routes to our events, but I wanted to keep to the route I knew that bypassed the scenic route so I wouldn’t get lost.
Then it happened. One night after an event, Lenora invited me to join her and her friends somewhere in the atrium. I was undecided and lingered behind, visiting with a couple of other writers until they left to go to their rooms. My watch read “nine o’clock,” which wasn’t late, and I wasn’t tired.
So I embarked on a journey to find Lenora. As I meandered through the lovely atrium accented by special night lighting with the sound of waterfalls all around, I realized I had no idea where I was. I was lost. But I didn’t care. I wasn’t in a hurry. The atmosphere was so beautiful and relaxing, I just stopped along the paths to enjoy the scenery and take pictures.
I unwound. I relaxed. I savored the moment, not worried about getting anywhere at any particular time. As I pondered my situation, I realized I’d been too busy. I’d let the frantic pace of work take over and I’d allowed stress to once again enter my life.
I don’t want to be like that anymore, and I don’t have to be. Yes, I have deadlines, and stress wants to steal my peace. But nobody forced me to let my life become so demanding—I allowed it to happen.
I realize it’s time to refocus on my priorities, why I do what I do. And the answer is because God gave me stories to write, stories to inspire others. God doesn’t promise wealth or fame if I follow His call to write. All He asks is that I’m obedient to the call and write what He has laid on my heart. I have no competition if my focus is purely to do God’s will to the best of my ability.
Despite the demand to develop my marketing platform with busyness, I’ll take the advice of beloved Liz Curtis Higgs who said that Christian writers shouldn’t worry about their platform because God is in charge of it. And if God only wants one certain person to read my book, then that’s okay. But He never intended this journey to be another rat-race. Rather, writing should be like eating a delicious, tall milkshake on a warm day, savoring each bite slowly until it’s finished.
Let the savoring begin.