When I was asked if I would like to contribute to the Make Me Available blog, I looked through the MMA merchandise and was immediately drawn to the DOER t-shirt. The reason? It encapsulates my author journey.
Several years ago, a friend of mine, Byron Easterling, wrote a book called Dream Big, Dream Often. It was a book that changed my life.
It made me ask, ‘Do I have a dream?’
For weeks, I talked to God about that question. Bit by bit, He nudged me along, I was surrounded by creatives who were following their dreams.
I remembered my childhood love of creative writing when the title for a novel popped into my head. Turned out my dream was to be a writer. Could I really do something as cool as that?
If you’re going to follow a dream, you need to get over yourself and your self-doubt and do something. And so I began writing my first novel, a young adult book called What If?
In the process of writing the book, I discovered there was a lot more to it than I had naively thought. I wrote the story, edited it, sent it for critique, completely rewrote it, edited it, sent it to Beta readers and then so many more steps before it went to print.
This can be a tricky part. What do you classify as exceeding? I know I’m not the only author who expected sales to rocket from the moment my book was published! The reality is authors struggle to get their books out there. We begin to understand that every sale is special. So for the first time round, I’m going to say exceeding was holding a copy of my first novel!
I love that this is a continual process. As we repeat,we learn so much about ourselves and our mission. We deepen in our faith and in our calling. None of us will get it right the first time. We need to keep repeating the process of dream –overcome – exceed.
Here are some things I’ve learned ‘on repeat’:
Five years ago, my iron levels tumbled to ridiculously low levels. I went from being a really active person, involved in lots of different ministries and activities, to struggling to get through the basics of the day.
For months, my energy levels were non-existent, and during this time, I took my frustrations to God. What about all the things I was involved with? His response? Writing was the only thing He’d actually said to me to do (the other things in my life were good, but not the best). And yet, writing ended up lowest on my to-do list. So, as my strength returned, I went back to writing. Going from one published book to four, with a further two books planned for 2023.
For many of us who are believers, stepping out to follow a dream will often come with a Bible verse. For me, that verse is Galatians 5:22: ‘For the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’
I have always loved this verse because of the knowledge that when we live in Jesus, these elements are part of us.
This verse has become part of my writing. As I plan each book, I’ll think about the themes, story, and the characters of the book. But I also think about which elements of the Fruit of the Spirit will weave their way through the story, I love that.
Of course, there are some things to avoid in the repeat phase. Probably one of the biggest ones is don’t compare yourself or your dream to someone else and their dream. I’m not going to lie. I struggle with this one. It can appear that others are exceeding when I am not, but I don’t know all of their story. Our task is to focus on our own dream and what God is directing us to do.
The repeat phase has also been about more than just writing. It’s been a time to step up and make brave business decisions. It’s a time where new friendships have been made that lead to encouragement and mentoring. It’s a time where my faith has deepened as I’ve trusted more and more in God.
When we get to Dream, Overcome, Exceed and Repeat, we get to live an exciting adventure.
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