When I find myself struggling to keep my head above water it is usually because of a choice I have made to do something which drains my energy. Working too many hours, not trying to go to sleep, staying in bed and skipping church, avoiding writing a blog post…
In our lives we are going to do things that require immense effort, things that are incredibly rewarding, but after doing them we need time to recharge our batteries and feed our soul what it needs. At these times I know I must turn to God and pray for guidance, for perseverance to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I should turn to God first in all situations, whether good or bad, seeking to align my desires with His. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t, but I’m learning to be better at this. To keep my soul healthy this is a good choice to make. There are other good choices for me to make, ones which keep me choosing kindness, and help me to do better, to be better.
Writing stories. This is one of the things that gives me energy no matter what. I love sitting down at a keyboard and tapping away, even using my incredibly frustrating cellphone keyboard to type gives me energy. After I finish a writing session my mind is so energised I feel my soul brimming with enthusiasm. I can write about places I have been and people I’ve seen. I can write fictitious adventures that fill the soul with wonder. I can write short poems that make you think, long poems which evoke deep emotion, short stories where the reader has to build the world out, or novel length epics about saving a world. Whatever it is, whatever I’m writing, I have the feeling I am right where I am supposed to be. Earlier this week I entered another short story competition and a poetry competition with my dad. Talking with my dad online to work through ideas and to get to the best finished product is a story itself. Maybe the words we write will fly off the page and become heroes and villains which will do battle? Maybe what we write today will be something to catch up over and laugh about in the future? And maybe, just maybe, we’ll even do well in one of these competitions and it will be the start of something bigger than ourselves.
Today I will finish writing the first draft of my novel. I can confidently say this because I have four paragraphs left to write. It has been an epic journey through the continent of Kosetsu, where brave adventurers have compelled my hand to write the triumphs and tragedies of their journey. It has been hard work, but every time I think how much enjoyment it has brought me I can’t help but smile. The next step in the journey, my journey to publish this book, is to share the story with others.
(I apologise if you have been holding out to read a first foray into the world of this book. I said I would post a story here by the end of this week but I have been spending equal parts of my time finishing writing the draft of the book and overcoming a few personal battles, so that little story is not quite ready yet. The seed of an idea has been planted, the plot is in my head ready to bloom, and I know how it will grow from start and end, so keep an eye out for a fantasy snippet in the near future. Again, my apologies for not having this ready to publish on here just yet.)
Playing and writing music. This is the other main way to feed my soul what it needs. Like with writing, it can be any type of music. I love sharing the experiences of playing and listening with others. Just this morning at church I was in the music team and it was an almost transcendent experience. I fluffed a few chords as I always do, got lost with where we were up to on the page a few times, missed singing a couple of notes right, but through each song I felt uplifted by the Holy Spirit. Whether you are Christian or not, music is a way we can connect with others. We can be encouraged to see the world through different lenses, from different perspectives, to move our journey forward, and sometimes just to keep going. We can then take what we have learned and offer it to others as hope and guidance. I do not know everything. Far from it. But I have been through difficult times, and offer the lessons I have learned to be where I am freely. Just as I willingly accept lessons from those who have gone before me who know better than I do.
I continue my journey forward in life, into this crazy year that is 2020, with God at the centre. Take heart when experiencing struggle, readers, and know you are not alone. When we are in the midst of struggle that is the hardest thing to remember. Peace to you all.
What are the things that keep you going? That help you to choose kindness? That help you to do better, to be better, in our world?