Recently, my sister’s husband, their six-year-old son, and I were at my mama’s house. My nephew wanted his dad to fix him something to eat (what in particular it was, I don’t know.) I was sitting at the kitchen table while my brother-in-law prepared whatever it was. When he was done and gave it to his son, he abruptly cried out, “That’s not how Nah-Nah does it.” As his father tried to appease him, he kept repeating over and over, “That’s not how Nah-Nah does it.” Finally, my brother-in-law politely replied, “I’m not Nah-Nah.” I did not say a word during the entire ordeal, but inside, I was crumbling with laughter.
Anyway, it made me think about how even some of us adults (me being one of them) are creatures of habit, and anything that is not within our normal routine simply throws us off course–like a runaway train that ends up reeling off the tracks. Sometimes it seems as though I’m on auto-pilot; some things become so routine that I do them without even thinking about them. In the past, I had my comfort zones, and that was where I wanted to stay. And If anyone so much as came within an inch of me, I would immediately want to start crying like a baby and warn them to get out of my way and leave me alone!
One of the things that has helped me to be more adventurous and outgoing is my writing. In 1999, I began writing my first manuscript. By 2000, it was complete. Thereby began my search for a publisher, and all the while, I’m thinking to myself, “I’ve never been on an airplane in my life, and I know that at some point, my publisher will expect me to get on one and travel to a book signing.” But I wanted to write so badly that I did not let it stop me from pursuing my goal. In April of 2004, my first novel, A MEASURE OF FAITH, was released.
Finally, the time came for me to board an airplane from Atlanta to my first book signing in New Orleans. And would you believe that it was during hurricane season in the pouring rain! I was thinking, Of all the times for me to go on my first flight, it would have to be during hurricane season! And as if that wasn’t bad enough, when the flight attendant informed us that whoever had an aisle seat near an exit sign would be expected to assist others in the event of an emergency, guess who one of the passengers in that category was! You guessed it–me! She then added that if anyone did not feel comfortable being in the position of having that responsibility that we could request to be moved to a different seat. Now, I was already nervous about flying for the first time, and on top of it, they expected me to help my fellow passengers if the plane crashed! I came really, really close to raising my hand and asking to be moved. But I braved it, and both the flight there and back home went good. I still don’t care for flying, and I haven’t flown again since. Of course, if I had to, I would do it again, but I’m in no hurry.
Writing has opened up so many doors for me that may not otherwise have been opened. I have met so many wonderful and interesting people. I get to share pieces of my many thoughts with people all over the world. One of the things I asked God when I learned that I had gotten my first two-book contract was to please keep me humble because no matter what I accomplish in life, I never want to feel that I am better than anyone else–because frankly, I’m not. To this day, I still pray for humility. I also continue to tell everyone (including my family and close friends) that I am still Maxine and that I’m no better than anyone else. We are all God’s children, and only He can read our hearts. (1 Samuel 16:7)
Because of my relationship with God, I have been able to go outside of my comfort zones and accomplish things that I never imagined I would do. However, I am simply dust, and any little speck of good that may be in me and everything good that I have is because of Him. Yes, I have grown, but I still have a lot more growing to do–and even if I live forever, I shall never know all there is to know. But because He has helped me to step into the deep part of the water, my horizons have been broadened. But more importantly, it has given me the strength, courage, and fortitude to not cry about things that are beyond my control but, instead, to lean upon Him instead of myself. (Proverbs 3:5 & 6)
HAPPY READING! And as always, this is from my heart to yours.