By Tim Sudduth
Finally, spring has arrived. To me, winter is the hardest season of the year. Between the cold, the dreary skies, and the ultra-short days, the energizer bunny in me has a tough time making it through the day. I seem to be able to do so much when the sun doesn’t go down before the six-o’clock news.
With the decrease in energy, I also have a harder time keeping a positive outlook. With the gray skies of winter comes a gray blah over life. A good snowfall helps, but here in the South, we know that only brings with it slush and icy roads. Ho-hum and bah humbug.
Because of this, I think it makes much more sense to make any annual resolutions in the spring instead of at New Years. Not only do I have more energy and a brighter outlook, but spring also represents new life and new beginnings. To the gardener in me, this is amplified by all the new leaves and blooms that pop out everywhere around my house seemingly overnight. The flowers and new neon-green leaves just make everything a little brighter.
Whether you already did this at New Years or not, I challenge you to take a new look at where you are in your writing life. Is this where you want to be or is there something you need to do to take the next step?
Actually, I think we should continually be doing this throughout the year. In Ephesians, Solomon wrote about how we will encounter different seasons in each of our lives. It doesn’t mean that we will all go through the same things, but it does mean that things change. Whatever is challenging you today will change given time.
A child must first learn how to crawl, then how to walk. Much later maybe how to walk with a cane, then a walker. Learning the alphabet and multiplication tables changes to whether to use a semicolon or leave a tip. Dating, parenting—well, you get the point.
No matter where you are in your writing journey, there are always challenges to face and lessons to be learned. If you are like me, first, I’m sorry. Second, although I wish I could fast forward through the tough, boring times in my life and get to the good stuff, often it is in those tough times that we learn the most lessons. Some truths can only be learned in the heat of the battle.
Even though these lessons are hard,
they are important. And we need to take our time and make sure we learn them. That
brings us to a tough catch-22. We don’t need to hurry out of the trial too
soon, but neither do we want to dwell in it. And we can’t judge for ourselves
how well we are doing.
We often don’t know when we’re ready.
(Well, Tim. That doesn’t help.)
The best thing about our journey—whether it’s writing, a career, a relationship, or life—is that we don’t travel alone. The One who designed and equipped us is also walking along with us. He knows when we’re ready.
Our job is to constantly be making sure we are walking with Him. And we can do that through prayer and seeking His will. I’ll admit, a lot of times I feel like I’m floating in the middle of the sea, alone, and waving my hand, saying, “Yoo-hoo, Abba. I’m over here.”
But remember Who is God and who is the creation. The feeling of being adrift from God is normal. Just because you don’t see or feel Him, doesn’t mean He’s not in the boat.
When you feel like your prayers aren’t even reaching the ceiling remember, they don’t have to. They only have reach to your heart.
There are two ways you should NOT use to determine if you need to make a change.
- Don’t look at the calendar. I am struggling with that now. I have some finished manuscripts that are just sitting around, and I want to get them published. I know that I only want them out when they are ready, but when another year passes, yikes.
- God doesn’t go by our timeline. (Maybe we should buy Him a watch?) And if you aren’t finished writing your book or whatever your goal is, by a certain age, so what. Are you where God wants you to be as best as you can determine? Are you seeking His will? Again, He is God. He has the wisdom and power we need to continue on this journey. And He understands that we don’t.
Don’t look at others. Everyone else in your writing group may have published several articles or books, and you feel left behind. Another writer’s sales may be eclipsing yours, but you know your characters are better. But none of that matters. Each of our journeys is unique. And maybe God has a lesson He is still teaching you. And He is smart enough, and kind enough, not to rush.
All of this boils down to the poem about the two sets of footprints in the sand. One set is yours, and one set is God’s. And the times when only one set is visible are those times when He is carrying you.
Think about what an awesome and mind-blowing gift we have that the Holy God of the universe has decided that He wants to take me, you, on this journey with Him. How long will it last or where are we going, we don’t know. We do know that since it is with Him, it will be more awesome than anything we could ever imagine.
(Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net, Keerati, and Stuart Miles.)
Tim Suddeth is a regular attendee of The Blue Ridge Mountains Writers Conference and a member of ACFW and Word Weavers. He’s currently working on his fifth novel. He has a monthly post on The Write Conversation and is trying to make a dent in his to-read bookcases. You can follow him at on his blog at www.timingreenville.com or on Twitter @TimSuddeth.