Life rarely works out the way we expect it to. Or is that just me? In my experience, the aspects of life I thought I had figured out were the ones I ended up knowing the least about. I haven’t lived a very long time, but I’ve lived long enough to understand that God’s plans are bigger than my imagination–and often beyond my understanding.
I’ve said it before. If I could have told the me of 10 years ago everything that was going to happen in my life, I would have been terrified. I wouldn’t have wanted anything to do with it. I would have given up before I even started because I wasn’t ready for it.
Why else do you think we face trials and frustrations on a daily basis? Or do you really think God has nothing better to do than to mess with you?
Today’s verses are James 1:2-4.
Dear brothers and sisters,when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
On May 21, three heavy boxes were delivered to my front porch. My roomie had to carry them in for me because I was at work, but I knew what was in them. The moment I’d been waiting for had arrived, a moment more than 10 years in the making. Far more than that actually, if you want to be technical about it.
My first published novel.
I can’t even express the excitement I was feeling. Honestly, I think I was repressing it because I wouldn’t have been able to focus on anything else if I hadn’t. For 10 years, I’d worked on this manuscript. I’d written and rewritten and plotted and planned and scrapped and rewrote and edited and rewrote again. For 10 years. And then, in preparation for this official publishing venture, I edited it some more, with my awesome editor’s assistance, of course.
It felt like the beginning of a new era. I’d worked so hard to get this book to where it was, sacrificed time with family and friends, did whatever I could to make it happen because I believed it was what God was calling me to do.
So you can imagine what I felt when I opened that book up and spotted a typo.
And not just one. Two. On the very opening pages, no less. Two typos! They survived three rounds of harsh proofing. Irritating. Irritating beyond comprehension. But not the end of the world. Two typos. I could handle that.
And then, after I sold a couple, a dear friend told me so very kindly that she’d uncovered a handful more throughout the book.
Seriously. I could have bashed my head through a wall. Two typos on a usually ignored page I could deal with. Obvious, stupid typos scattered throughout? Not good.
And here’s the hard part. The physical copy of the book isn’t hard to change. It’s the electronic copies that are killers.
That’s right. Two versions of the book were already uploaded and waiting to be released for Kindle and Nook, and finding these typos meant I had to pull them down and edit them myself because I didn’t want to pay to have the files reformatted again.
And that’s how I came to a crossroad. It would be easy to leave the typos alone. I mean, after all, how many people really notice them? It’s really only the writers who pick up on that stuff, right?
The decision to fix the typos came down to choosing between what is easy and what is right, and many times that’s the same choice we face in every other aspect of life. What’s right? What’s easy? They rarely coincide. It’s unusual to take the right path and find it’s easy going.
But in choosing the right path, in fighting through the daily struggles and the numerous frustrations, we learn things we wouldn’t have learned otherwise. We learn who God is. We learn who we are. We learn what it means to follow Christ.
For example? I learned how to edit .mobi and .epub files. And that’s valuable because Crosshair Press has two more books coming out after Nameless, and now I know how to fix them up properly. I wouldn’t have know that if I hadn’t made the decision to fix my stupid typos.
So what trouble is facing you today? What decision do you have to make today? Sure, taking the easy road might seem like the best option right now, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be the best option tomorrow. Maybe the right road looks tough and challenging and difficult, and you know what? It probably is. But instead of focusing on how hard it is, think instead about how much stronger you’ll be on the other side.
God has awesome things planned for all of us, and we won’t be ready for them if we chicken out and take the path of least resistance. Brave the right road and get stronger. It won’t be easy, but you won’t be sorry.