Life and other catastrophes · Relating to God

Tryin’ to be a hot-shot

As a child I loved writing stories and poems, and later I kept a diary. From the beginning of my teenage years to the age of 21 when I got married (and somehow didn’t need a diary anymore), I’d filled about 35 400-page exercise books with my thoughts.

Writing has always been a big part of how I express myself. I find I stumble along less when I write than when I speak, and it’s a wonderful outlet for my frustrations and ponderings.

In terms of a career, I’d always dreamed of journalism. I wanted to be able to write full-time if possible, and after an admin job which was a terrible fit for me, and a terrifying stint in public relations, I landed my first journalism job at a little newspaper in Blacktown, a suburb generally known for its high crime rate.

My boss was a talkaholic (who had Asberger’s Syndrome and seemed to have a story about everything). He remembered the good old days when journalists were allowed to smoke and drink indoors as they hunched over their typewriters. Gilbert was so enthusiastic about the job of a reporter that I couldn’t help but be carried along by the thrill of rushing to the scene of house fires, car accidents and robberies. Even though most of my reporting was about school fetes, local elections and Betty Smith’s flower show, the times I could jump in the car with Gilbert to find out how this reporting thing was done was just so much fun. And the best part was, of course, the writing – which he encouraged me greatly in.

But I got carried away. I started to identify with my job as reporter so much that I’d bring home endless stories every night and couldn’t think of anything else. I couldn’t wait to get back there the next day. And when Gilbert left the paper and I found myself doing many of the jobs he’d done as newspaper editor – I became even more wrapped up in it. I loved it – yet it was kind of taking over my life. It wasn’t until one day, when I tried to nab an interview with the friends of a couple who’d been murdered in their home, that I realised I’d actually switched off my emotions. I cared about the next big story more than real people.

I think I threw myself into my first journalism job so much because firstly, I could hardly believe I was doing what I’d always dreamed of doing; and secondly because it was so affirming for me. I’ve always struggled with low self-esteem and this made me feel really good about myself. But it became addictive in an unhealthy kind of way. My work at the time was really about meeting the desperate need I had to be respected and praised. To feel important and worthwhile.

It was one of the many ways I have misplaced my hunger…

Not that there was anything wrong with enjoying the job – it certainly was a wonderful start to my career and holds some great memories. But it was also one of the dead-ends in my search for meaning.

I have discovered slowly that in Jesus Christ I have all the affirmation I need… All the purpose, joy, approval, satisfaction, relationship fulfilment, unconditional love and acceptance that I’ve been looking for all my life. And I’m so grateful that HE underpins everything – career, hobbies, family, marriage, friendships, and anything else I might choose to invest in. He is my centre. All I could ever need. The foundation and cornerstone of my life.

Thank you Jesus for finding me.

“What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”

(Phiippians 3:8)

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22 thoughts on “Tryin’ to be a hot-shot

  1. My dearest Ali! What a remarkable post! And the self-realisation and the giving up of the attachment to the praise, self-importance and glamour of journalism is something so few would ever dare to recognise much less to let go off. You know why I know? Because I was a journalist once. A hot shot one at that. 😀
    I worked at an English national daily in Kuala Lumpur after university because I loved writing. I was committed – seriously dedicated to the job. Driven even. I felt the thrill. The buzz. To be someone. And I was good at it – just as I believe you are too. I rose to the ranks. It can be quite bloody and definitely very fast-paced and aggressive.
    But after a while, I too saw behind the sheen of such a lifestyle. The endless cycle of adrenaline rush. Today’s headlines, tomorrow’s fish and chip wrapper. I think both of us did try very hard to make a difference through our work but it always boils down to the cold hard truth of what and who we become through our work. Are we defining it or are we using a shortcut to let it define us.
    I love the verse from Philippians. St Paul what a great man indeed. And I do believe that when we build our lives on a foundation that cannot be shaken – then we cannot be shaken too.
    Many hugs to you, Sharon

  2. Wow Sharon, it sounds like you definitely understand the buzz it can create! – the addictive nature of journalism, and the feelings of self-importance it produces.
    “Are we defining it or are we using a shortcut to let it define us.” – well said. Are we in control of it, or does it control us? When we are insecure and searching for significance we can easily use and exploit our careers, or worse, people… to give us what we think we need.
    Absolutely… so thankful for Christ, the sure foundation on which to build everything.
    Hugs and thanks for reading and being a blessing,
    Ali

  3. Great post, I really enjoyed reading this. I used to want to be a journalist too, but never pursued it. Take care :)x

  4. Great post, Ali. And could I relate! From scribbling stories since childhood, teenage diaries {and later journals} to majoring in journalism and working for a newspaper and even an Asperger’s boss!!

    And you are so right…we find ourselves as we lose ourselves in Him. Being swallowed up by all that Love so that we finally get it and start living on purpose. The purpose He created us to fulfill.

    His call speaks love to our searching, hungry hearts and as we come,we eventually find our place, hear our calling and do the works He has prepared for us to do.

    And that blesses everyone!

    1. A similar story, wow!! And yes, well said! It’s wonderful to finally ‘get’ what we’re looking for, regardless of what the circumstances of our life turn out to be. May you continue to be a blessing as you live the life He has called you to, with your amazing writing gifts.

  5. I can so relate to better being able to express myself in writing rather than speaking–I sure hope no one asks me to speak and expects something grand! Fortunately, I had my “success” in writing years after coming to know Christ and understanding how everything else pales in comparrison to Him, however… what a rush to finally find my niche (funny about your job that was a horrible fit for you–I’ve had those also!) and receive recognition, praise, and yes, self confidence! Finally, I had something that was “me” that no one else could claim for their own. I finally felt like I was worthy. Thankfully, I do know as you do that the sucess could be taken away and we would still be “someone” in God’s eyes if no one else’s. Great thoughts from you here!

    1. Well said! It is wonderful to receive praise and feedback on our gifts, especially when we have the sure foundation of our relationship with Christ. I’m glad you found your niche, and are using it to be such an inspiration to others 🙂

  6. Wonderfully written! A relationship with God is the only thing that can truly satisfy us in this life. After all, what is everything else compared to that? Careers, money, fame…it all fades away. None of it has any eternal value. And God–not anything or anyone of this world–is the One who took away our sins and gave us eternal life!
    God bless,
    TTT

  7. What a wonderful look you gave us , through relating your own work as a journalist to what you have in Jesus. I am going to remember this – to ask if my work is defining me, or am allowing who I am in Jesus to define my work. 🙂 God bless you, dear Ali, as you lay aside all else but Jesus!

  8. Thanks for sharing your writing and work experience. We find our worth more readily in the tangible than the intangible; but that is what we feel our worth is, not as God values us.

  9. I always thought journalism would be a fun career, but I never pursued it. I can relate to the praise feeding self-esteem. In my younger years, I really needed that. I knew God as a child, but it hadn’t occurred to me that He was enough.

    Your last paragraph sums it up beautifully.

  10. Hey Ali. This was a great post!
    In life there are so many things to enjoy thanks to God. That is not the sin, the sin comes when we allow them to be idols in our lives. Your post captured this wonderfully. Thank you for reminding us that Jesus Christ is at the center of everything!! He is the One we should be consumed in and He is the One we get everything we need! God bless you.

    Rolain.

    1. Thank you Rolain! Exactly – well said. We have a natural human tendency to misuse God’s gifts, but I’m so thankful that Jesus draws us back to Himself, the source from which all else flows. God bless and thanks for dropping by 🙂

  11. Hey!

    This is Jennifer from Jennifer’s Hope (jennifershope.wordpress.com). I wanted to write to you to first of all thank you for following my blog, and second, I wanted to let you know that I will be announcing tomorrow that my blog has moved.

    Not many people know it yet, but the address to my new, self-hosted blog is http://www.jennifershopeblog.com.

    The site is already up and running, and I am hoping that you will take a moment to check it out. Unfortunately, because of the new site’s location, you’ll have to subscribe by email if you want to still be notified of my new posts.

    To do so, you can go to http://www.jennifershopeblog.com and you’ll find a form to enter your email into on the left sidebar below my picture.

    Thank you so much & God bless!

    Jen

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