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

Girl on car photo by averie woodard on Unsplash
Empty car photo by JD Weiher on Unsplash