At the end of every three months, it is my job to complete an interesting book task. I write down the names of all my published books, go to the spot where those cartons are stored and begin my quarterly stocktake. Recently, this job has become easier, since I now have no remaining stocks of my first four novels, Heléna, All the Days of My Life, Laura and Jenna. I could get more from my then publisher, but have decided not to, in order to focus on my more recent novels, Heléna’s Legacy and The Inheritance, and my two non-fiction books, Soul Friend and Becoming Me.
Yet, even with fewer books, this can still be a rather daunting task—if I allow it to be. If I approach this job in a negative way, I can become rather discouraged. I might grumble at having to haul boxes around and check their contents. I might stare at these boxes and wonder if I will ever sell all those books. I might note that numbers of a certain title on hand have not decreased much in the past three months. I might worry about whether to buy more of this or that title at that point or simply wait and see what happens.
Alternately, I can remember God is with me, even as I perform this mundane book task. I can choose to listen to the Spirit’s encouraging words rather than any discouraging thoughts from the enemy, as I record those numbers. I can acknowledge how wonderful it is that I actually have all those published books on hand, ready to be sold via my website or wherever I am asked to speak. I can choose to realise how amazing it is that I have sold as many books as I have over the years, since first being published in 2007. I can choose to be thankful for those lives that have been touched by God through words I have written, both in my novels and in my non-fiction books. I can choose to recall that very first email I received via my website from a reader in some far-away part of Australia, telling me that, although she had not found God to be there for her in the hard times in her life, maybe she would ‘try God again’, as a result of reading my first novel, Heléna. And I can choose to be so thankful for those ones who, even this past week on Facebook, have commented how my latest book, Becoming Me, has moved and challenged them.
Recently, I enjoyed reading The Story of With, an interesting and unique book by former publisher, Allen Arnold. All over again, it challenged and encouraged me to approach my whole writing and speaking journey with God, not attempting things in my own strength, but rather allowing those God-given gifts and that God-given imagination of mine to flow freely, as I walk hand in hand with God. What a privilege and a blessing to be able to do this! What resources we have in God to persevere in our writing journeys and in life in general in 2017!
Are these your thoughts too? May each of us not only take stock of these greatest resources of all but draw on them constantly in the year ahead.
Jo-Anne Berthelsen lives in Sydney but grew up in Brisbane. She holds degrees in Arts and Theology and has worked as a high school teacher, editor and secretary, as well as in local church ministry. Jo-Anne is passionate about touching hearts and lives through the written and spoken word. She is the author of six published novels and two non-fiction works, ‘Soul Friend’ and ‘Becoming Me’. Jo-Anne is married to a retired minister and has three grown-up children and four grandchildren. For more information, please visit www.jo-anneberthelsen.com.