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 Asperger’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.”