What to Do with ‘What If’

Copyright Creationswap, photo by Brad Castaneda.
Copyright Creationswap, photo by Brad Castaneda.

Am I where I’m meant to be?

I wonder sometimes if I should take a crazy chance and do something ‘amazing’. Have I missed opportunities? And is God happy with the way I’m tracking? Is my life accomplishing anything?

These questions popped up for me again this week. It’s mostly just because I’m thinking about a trip to America for a writer’s conference next year. Of course, to see everything I’d want to see, I couldn’t do it in a two or three week holiday. I’d have to live there. Which raises the question … should I live there?

After years of watching New York on TV and in movies, it seems like an amazing place. How can I live my life without experiencing this? How can I experience it unless I live there?

I also spent last weekend researching TV writing, which is a job that looks really awesome. But I’m 23; if I want to act on any of this, it needs to happen in the next few years.

Usually questioning like this would lead to turmoil and a great inner debate. I have a great job—is it crazy to toss that and go overseas to try new things? But if I don’t take a chance, am I a scaredy-cat?

It’s a testament to how God’s been changing me, that I cruised through this week with barely a stressful thought, despite the questions. He’s burned Philippians 4:6-7 in my brain;

 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I prayed about my questions, then happily lived my life while I pondered them in the back of my mind.

After a week, I have a few conclusions:

  1. I am open to God’s leading. If he really wants me in the US, he’ll tell me. I acknowledge that a desire to go can be God’s leading. Right now this is more of a ‘what-if’ exercise. If that turns into a real desire to go, I’ll consult God and decide.
  2. I watch too much TV. A big part of why I’d like to go is because of the glamour. Everyone talks about how awesome New York is, etc. Take the glamour away, and I’m suddenly not so committed. I found a great website this week called ‘Life After College’ which shows the lives of college graduates and is searchable by job and location. They write about what their daily life is really like—no glamour—and even post pictures of their apartments. The ones I saw work really long hours and their apartments look nothing like the one on Friends. Nuff said.
  3.   I actually love my life here. As cool as NYC and America are, the older I get, the more I fall in love with Australia. Plus I have the best housemates and family ever.
  4.  Books are my passion. As cool as writing for TV would be, I don’t care about camera angles or any of that stuff. I care about the story.
  5.   I have kinda lived life, half-expecting some ‘happily ever after’ movie ending to happen to me. You know, I’ll marry a prince or make it big with my writing or wind up living someone interesting (like NYC). I find that the not knowing, the potential for something great to happen, is exciting. I would sometimes look at people whose lives had ‘peaked’ (in my view, anyway) and think, ‘Wow, it would really depress me if that potential for something awesome to happen wasn’t there anymore.’ But let’s face facts; less than 1% of people would have those ‘ideal lives’ that I picture, and once you achieve that status, it’s not as fulfilling as you thought. The masses of humanity are just normal. I like to write about things we all experience, so why would I get annoyed that I’m just normal too?
  6.  I feel like a chicken because I haven’t taken a crazy chance, and instead I’m ‘settling’ for a normal life. But I know that’s not right. It’s not like I want to be an actor or anything. I don’t have any crazy dream to take a chance on, except for my writing, and I’m already doing that!
  7.  My contentment and purpose is found in God. If I’m where He wants me, I’m not ‘missing out’ on anything, because the action is happening right here! I wouldn’t matter more to God if I was a Hollywood writer or a stay-at-home mum trying to write novels while wrangling her kids. The world’s idea of ‘important’ is a lie. It’s God’s opinion that matters.

So there we go; I questioned something and found my answer, all minus the usual stress! Thanks God!

Now I just  have to organize this trip…




When the Point is Not the Point

Copyright Creationswap, image by Matt Cole.
Copyright Creationswap, image by Matt Cole.

What if an issue I’m having, is actually not the real issue at hand?

For instance, I’m planning to attend a writer’s conference in America next year. I am SUPER excited to head back to the States and meet real authors who can help me improve my craft. But there’s a few hurdles to overcome first.

When’s the right time to go? When will I be ready? Which conference should I attend?

And, the one that’s concerning me the most; who will I travel with?

So far I haven’t found a travel buddy. While doing the conference alone doesn’t bother me, travelling as a tourist after the conference does. I get lost in Australia; how will I find my way around the gigantic cities of the USA? And if I never find someone to come with me, will I get to go at all?

But the other day, something occurred to me.  I’ll bet that God’s not worried about which conference I choose or who I go with.

Copyright Creationswap, photo by Joe Davis.
Copyright Creationswap, photo by Joe Davis.

Sure , if He particularly wants me at one event  He’ll direct me toward it. If if a travel buddy is necessary, He will provide one. But I think the detail He is way more interested in is whether or not I trust Him.

It’s tempting to stress. It’s tempting to set a deadline and say, ‘God, you’d better give me an answer before this date, otherwise I can’t go and my world has crashed around me’.

But I’ve learned that God usually breaks those deadlines. I think it’s on purpose to stretch me.

Far more important than the fun of the trip, the networking I do and the skills I learn, is how my relationship with God fares during the process.

As the time draws nearer, will I wonder if He has lost control? Or will I pray about my concerns, do the best I can, and then trust it to Him?

Maybe the point of the conference, isn’t actually the point of the conference at all.

I faced the same situation months ago with my job. I didn’t know if I should find a new job, which one I should pursue, or if I should work two part-time jobs. I stressed and stressed and stressed.

At the end of the day, God probably wasn’t as concerned about the job as He was about my attitude.

I wasn’t really freaked out that God wouldn’t provide; I was more worried that I’d make the wrong choice. I didn’t trust that God would come through on His promise to guide me.

It was a painful lesson, but God’s helping me to not fall in the same trap this time.

Do you have any such issues in your own life?




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The start of my novel is now online!

There’s a taster below; follow the link to read the first three chapters of Open Your Eyes.

Open Your Eyes

What if someone could see into your soul?
All your wounds. All your darkness. All your potential. All your beauty.
How would you react?

Nathan Scott’s eyes see more than most. Penetrating past flesh and bone, they slice down to the very soul.
So when he moves to the small Kansas town of Grangeville, Nathan sees that jealously, suspicion and fear are tearing the local church apart. What’s more, the minister’s intriguing niece seems determined to avoid him.
While the congregation knows about Nathan’s sight, no one is aware of his secret mission – to find his estranged father.
While tensions build and relationships grow more complicated, Nathan is faced with two of the greatest challenges of his life.
Can he love a father who has done nothing to deserve it? And can he unite his church before it self-destructs?

To read the first three chapters of Open Your Eyes, follow this link.

Open Your Eyes