God's Purpose

The Tyranny of Belonging

African hearts

African hearts

I'm preparing my first novel, African Hearts, for uploading to Amazon. As I prepared the text, I was drawn to the conversation where Kam and Gina are on Monkey Rock taking some time out to look at the elephants washing in the creek down in the valley. To this time Gina has been challenged by village life in more ways than one. She questions Kam about belonging and what it means to belong. She also challenged me when I re-read this scene. I've just returned to the Gold Coast, so I began to think about the word 'belong', and a question came into my head: Does anyone belong anywhere?

I don't know about you, but I use this word lightly in conversation, especially where the meaning of life comes up. I looked up the dictionary and realised I've used this word incorrectly for most of my life.To belong is to be possessed, as in an item to be owned by someone. No wonder I became confused whenever I thought about where I belonged.

So what words should I be using instead of 'belong'. After much thought and free writing on this subject, I've come to the conclusion that belong is not a good word when we're meaning we want to 'fit in'. We don't want to be anyone's possession, we want to be a contributing part of a group, helping others and ourselves fit in, and sharing ideas with each other.

Kam thought he wanted to work as a surgeon in that big hospital in Kampala and Gina has been confused for some time about where she fits in; back in Australia or in Gumboli? So I've come to the conclusion they're talking about their life's purpose.

Nobody can own another person, however, they can live together contributing to and sharing a lifestyle and encouraging each other on their life journey. Is this the issue that Kam and Gina were dancing around while they were up at Monkey Rock? I've changed this scene and all the other belonging issues in the e-version of African Hearts. Watch this space for the new cover and when it will be available on Amazon for download to your Kindle.

So, I'm left to ponder further: belong is a strange word, I wonder where it belongs? I'm eager to hear your thoughts.

African Hearts Confirms A Reader's Future

Sydney is a city that goes, goes, goes. It's a place I really enjoy visiting to catch up on family and friends, and find the new and interesting things I hadn't done when we lived there about fifteen years ago. It's a vibrant and exciting city, and full of the unexpected.

We did book signings at West Ryde and met some wonderful people who really wanted to get to know me at a personal level. One of the most surprising moments was when three people approached me with quizzical looks on their faces and asked me if I'd been to Africa to have written African Hearts. I wish! But I was pleasantly surprised when the young lady said seeing my book was a sign that she had asked God for to encourage her to go to Africa and work with the orphans. I became so excited for this young lady and her husband. The looks on their faces was a mixture of pleasure, relief and a little anxiety. They also told me they nearly didn't make it to the signing. They'd arrived half an hour before I was to finish. They saw this as another sign that they were meant to be there to speak with me.

After much excited discussion they left feeling they were to follow their hearts and go to Africa to work with the orphans. This was an extraordinary experience for me that God would use me to encourage young people to understand what God was saying to them. Some authors say book signings are not their favourite thing to do. After this experience, I believe it's a very important part of the marketing process to connect with my readers in so many ways. No matter how tired I might be at the end of the day, I believe the time has been well spent. Encouraging others is what I love to do to see them reach their potential in their chosen field. If part of the process means standing for four hours in a book store I will. Connecting with my readers is what motivates me and helps me get through the days when the writing is not going so well.

Thank you Koorong, West Ryde for your commitment in helping me help others and fulfill God's purpose for my life.

Don't Worry About Tomorrow

Several years ago I had a stress attack that left me with a brain that I'd thought would never think again. Stress can have a negative impact on our lives and yet, stress is what gets us up every morning to go to work, to look after our family and to care for ourselves.

Stress is caused by the imbalance of overwork and little relaxation. I was too busy wanting to be super mum that I forgot about my own needs. I was running my own business, my home, and I was homeschooling. My husband got ill and needed surgery. His business also needed someone to run it. You guessed it, more responsibility for me. I had little in reserve to cope with this added stress. Something had to give, unfortunately it was me. I ended up in hospital for three days and it took two years to get back on my feet.

My stress was the bad kind of stress. I allowed it to pile up on top of me, ignoring the headaches and sleepless nights, saying I could do anything. I was pushing myself to an early grave and I didn't know it. I had no choice but to slow down.

I came across a Bible verse: Matthew 6:34 - "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

I meditated on this verse for several months and the truth set in. I wanted complete control of my life so much I worried incessantly about situations that weren't under my control. As soon as I stopped worrying about these situations my stress levels dropped dramatically. My life turned for the better and I started planning for God's purpose for my life instead of mine. I planned my goals and schedules, but I lived my days in the present, hour by hour, working toward my goals. My mind became clearer because it wasn't cluttered by worry that robbed me of energy and life.

If you're a worrier, I encourage you to start meditating on Matthew 6:34. Worrying about tomorrow is time wasted because God has a purpose for your life. Put God in your plans, cease worrying, and your tomorrows will start to have a new sense of purpose and wonder you'd never thought possible because God is for you, not against you.