Tuesday, February 20, 2018

My Road Map to Success

by Emily Conrad

As the date for the release of my debut novel draws closer, I've been thinking about how long the journey to get to this point has been.

It was fifteen to twenty years ago when I thought Jesus might be saying: Let's take this trip together. It'll give you time to get to know Me better, and you'll meet lots of other people along the way. It'll all be for My glory, the trip of a lifetime!

Me (not really having listened except maybe to the very first and last parts): Okay, Jesus, let's go! I've got a map right here!

And I did have a map. There I was in Wisconsin, and I saw my goal--those mountains I love out west. What I didn't pay enough attention to is the fact that my map was folded, hiding from view the great, flat, length-wise sates of Iowa and Nebraska. Except, in this case, I was in Fictionland hoping to get to Successfulauthorland.

Jesus knew all about my map, including the folds, but He didn't rip the map out of my hands and show me the long, long road.

Instead, His response was more like this: You don't know the way as well as you think you do, but I've got the perfect route for you.

Me: Okay, okay, let's just get on the road already. Here, I'll take the first shift at the wheel.

Following the course I charted out, I started seeking publication in high school. I queried agents, studied writing, and submitted short stories to magazines.

When I didn't reach my landmarks in the time I expected to, I looked to Jesus in frustration.

He wasn't ruffled or surprised. Let Me drive, and enjoy the ride.

This is easier said than done when our dreams are on the line. It's futile to grab the wheel from God or to try to influence Him with our best backseat driver tactics. He's going to take us down the route He planned at the speed He determined, and this is going to take some time.

As we draw nearer to one part of my dream, the publication of my debut novel, I'm realizing there are not only folds in the map, but mislabeled cities and states. For example, what I thought was Successfulauthorland is actually Debutnovelland.

What is Successfulauthorland? I'm not sure, but I trust Jesus knows.

One thing I do know is we won't find significance and meaning and purpose at any of the landmarks or points of interest along the way to our dreams-come-true. Value is not a hitchhiker along the roadside, nor can we buy it from a dusty souvenir shop or gaze at it in a famous museum.

Instead, we've had significance, meaning, purpose, value, and worth all along. Our lives are worth living every step of the way, this road worth traveling. Not because of anything in us, but because Jesus packs these things into the car.

He travels this road with His children--driving when we're wise enough to let Him. The real goal is not to reach the elusive Successland but to see His best play out in our lives and in the lives of those around us.

With Him at the wheel, we don't need to fret about how long the journey is. We don't have to be disappointed at discovering another fold in the map or another mislabeled city. We can trust that His plans will not fail, the course marked out for us is perfect, and He will never leave us stranded at the side of the road.

I'm only twenty years into this writing journey. It's not as simple as I thought it was when I started. There's a lot between points A and B. The trip doesn't fit into a two-week vacation or a five-year plan. Those are all already out the window.

To truly make the trip of a lifetime with Jesus, it'll take just that: a lifetime.

But really, is that too much to ask when He offers us eternity?

This journey isn't as simple as I thought it was when I started. There's a lot between points A and B but with #Jesus, I'll get there. via emilyrconrad

Photo credits
Title image photo by Stephen Monroe on Unsplash, text added on Canva.com
Girl on car photo by averie woodard on Unsplash
Empty car photo by JD Weiher on Unsplash


Robyn Hook said...

Love this, Emily! Thanks for sharing. I can't wait to see what God has planned for you and I'm so happy to be with you on this journey.

Pearl Allard said...

Emily, I love this. “He's going to take us down the route He planned at the speed He determined, and this is going to take some time.” I’ll raise my teacup to that. May God grant you success as He defines that for you and hooray!!! for your debut novel. :)

Emily Conrad said...

You bring up an excellent point! God so often gives us travel buddies! I'm so grateful for you, Robyn, and excited to see your journey play out, too!

Emily Conrad said...

Thank you, Pearl! May you enjoy the journey as He takes you toward the success He has for you, too!

Ruthette said...

"Jesus knew all about my map, including the folds, but He didn't rip the map out of my hands and show me the long, long road." INCLUDING THE FOLDS. ❤❤

Jerusha Agen said...

What a beautiful metaphor for our life journey with Jesus! I love this reminder to rely on Jesus to drive and enjoy the unexpected routes as He takes us through them. You're right--it's the journey of a lifetime! All we have to do is sit back and trust the future to our Saviour, Who will be glorified through it all and we enjoy being with Him forever. Sounds simpler than it is to do, though, so I'm thankful He gave me roadtrip companions like you to spur me on and remind me what His idea of success looks like. :)

Emily Conrad said...

Thanks for stopping by, Ruthette! <3

Emily Conrad said...

Roadtrip companions are such a key part of this! It really is difficult to stay out of the driver seat, and I'm grateful for you, too!

Barbara Britton said...

We definitely need to find joy in the journey. God's ways are the best ways even when we want to drive. He has done more than I could have done on my own. God creates the best surprises.

Emily Conrad said...


marilyn leach said...

It seems we often run ahead of speed limits the Lord has set on our travels. This was a good reminder to enjoy each minute we have "on the road." Thank you, Emily

Kelly Goshorn said...

Boy can I relate! Love this post!

KatieC said...

This is great! I can definitely relate. <3

Emily Conrad said...

Thanks for stopping by, Marilyn! Good point about speeding. I hadn't thought of that, but it's such a fitting metaphor!

Emily Conrad said...

Thanks for stopping by, Kelly :)

Emily Conrad said...

Thanks, Katie! Glad the post resonated!