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  • Writer's pictureSuzie Anne

I Never Wanted to be a Writer

Do you remember playing that you were all grown up as a kid? How about school spirit week where each day was a different dress-up theme, with one inevitably being career day? What was your go-to choice? I moved through several different careers: cheerleading, veterinarian, and teacher are the three I remember going as before I finally settled on being a dairy farmer and housewife. I worked towards these goals for several years, well the former one more than the latter – unless you count doing lots of dish washing and other house chores as preparation – even attending Purdue University and majoring in Animal Sciences in pursuit of that career. But throughout those years, fifth grade through college, I encountered multiple people who questioned or gave me doubts about my chosen career.

The first person was my wonderful high school English teacher Mrs. McVay. I was fortunate to take all four of her classes, but it was in Composition my freshman year that God planted His first seed of calling through Mrs. McVay. Our last assignment was a short story and I wrote a fanciful fairytale called Cow No More. It received high honors and was chosen to be read to the class, and she prefaced the reading with, “I could see this as a children’s book.” I have never forgotten that comment, even as I professed despising writing. The next seed was planted during my junior year of high school in Indonesia.

English class over there was just like a regular class (though let me tell you: explaining American idioms to non-Americans, especially ESL people, is absolutely hilarious and rather difficult) with nothing significant until the end of the year. Aunt Cindy (not biologically, all adults from the same mission organization are given the honorary title because they fulfill those roles), my teacher, took me aside one day and asked what my career plans were. When I told her dairy farming, she replied, “You need to do something with writing.” I responded with “I hate writing.” The conversation went on a bit longer, but I filed her comments away under the “Adults who don’t know me well and can be ignored” part of my brain, returning to the US and happily forgetting all about them. Until my senior year of college, that is.

The last seed was planted by my Ag Systems Management professor, Dr. Bob. The other two major influences are obvious – they’re both English teachers – but Dr. Bob was a surprise as ASM is more of a math and physics course. His influence came about because he is a big believer in sending well-rounded graduates into the workplace, and so on every exam he would include an essay question. At the end of the semester he encouraged me, based on my essay responses and a research paper, to attend grad school because, “They need more people who can communicate well in writing.” And although I did consider his suggestion, I decided I’d had enough of due dates and homework and returned to the family farm.

For the next two-and-a-half years I worked on the farm, mostly enjoying working with the cows but feeling an overwhelming lack of purpose and desire to do more than the basic things. What I had dreamed of, planned for, and studied for left me feeling empty and exhausted. In my quiet time with God I got no answer to the question, “Why am I so disinterested and unfulfilled on the farm?” I was finally desperate enough to tell God, “Well, if You’re not going to answer that question, show me what I should be doing,” with enough snark to impress a teenager.

It was then, after I was willing to let go of my dream, that the planted seeds opened and began to grow. As I shared what was on my heart with friends - the unfulfillment and the nudges from God to once again write - I found that they were supportive, watering and fertilizing (I’m still a farm girl!) the seeds with their thoughtful comments and encouragement, and I began to write again. The joy I found in writing amazed me, as did my partnership with God. When I would get stuck, all I had to do was ask Him for help, and an idea would come to mind that I had never considered before. He combined those three fledgling seeds into one strong plant, helping me begin the process of transforming my short story into a novel. And today, I have over 15,000 words written – more than I ever imagined I could write.

I don’t share this to brag. I am still a newbie author wandering around in the shiny new world of becoming published, traversing the twisting road of writing. I share this because in my quiet time today, Mathew 10:39, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” took on a whole new meaning for me. I had my life mapped out, I was in firm control and almost exactly where I planned to be…but I felt dead inside. Nothing I tried changed that feeling. But when I finally got desperate enough to truly surrender my life, and my plan for my life, to Christ – allowing that dream, that life, to die – following God’s call instead, I found incredible joy.

So, do you have joy in what you’re doing? Or are you holding tight to a dream, even as it’s leaching away your life? God never promised an easy path, my writing journey so far certainly hasn’t been, but He has promised us joy and life – abundant life – in Him. (John 16:23-25 & John 10:10). If you aren’t experiencing these, maybe it’s time to let go of whatever dream or life is consuming you and instead grab hold of the life Christ has for you, an abundant, joy-filled life.

God Bless, and keep magic in the mundane.


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