Hello, February! Does anyone else feel like they were just run over by January? The start of a new year is always busy and filled with new goals to accomplish in the coming year, but I feel as if this January had a mind of its own. So many around me have been hit by the flu and other ailments that simply make you “stop”. We have had friends with hospital visits and stays. With so much going on it has been easy to get behind on the goals and resolutions we all made at the new year. Stop beating yourself up – February is here and now is a good time to pick the baton back up and continue the race.
I don’t like to make “resolutions” because it just sounds so formal, but I do partake of Resolution’s more gentle cousin, Goal. I have done pretty good with some of my goals and others are definitely in the “rework” stage of development. Here are a few:
- Go to lunch (I have a terrible habit of working through lunch. I still eat, of course, but I am usually at my desk and just keep working and eating. Not good at all)
- Intentionally encourage others on a daily basis
- Journal every day
- Read 52 books
- Walk away and around (this goes back to my poor work habit…I have got to get out of my office)
- Explore publishing options and other ideas to increase writing
Okay, that is probably more like all of them, and so far, I am not successful at going to lunch or walking away from my desk, but I have been successful with my journal plan and intentional encouragement. I am on my way through my book list and have done nearly nothing on the publishing front. (I did seek out one publication, but they said, “Thanks, but no”…so I press onward).
Obviously the most daunting of the goals on the list is related to my writing. I thoroughly enjoy it and have been saying for quite some time, “Someday I will…” Last fall, I participated in a writing challenge called “Write 31 Days”. It was a month-long event and I experienced all that I love and hate about writing at the same time, but it was way more love than hate for me. I was glad when it was over and I was so very pleased that I not only completed the challenge, but really seemed to find a niche for my message. It was a great experience for me. And then it stopped. I should have been able to continue on that writing train for quite some time. Yet, it stopped and so did I. And here I sit, three months later trying to encourage myself for the next few hundred words or so. It is not going as I planned.
But life rarely does, for any of us. And that is okay. Sometimes we have to “rework” things. This often means taking a step back to look at things from a different perspective. One thing that helps me gain a different perspective on my writing is starting a new journal. I started a small one at the beginning of the year related to my everyday journaling and intentional encouragement, but today I started another one specific to writing. One of the notes I wrote down pulled me back to a beautiful sight I witnessed this morning and the even more beautiful reminder God gave me. As I left for work early today, the moon was still hanging in the western sky, while the sun had not yet burst above its eastern border. The full moon was huge and bright in the sky and I wondered if I could see it in my review mirror. (Of course that made me wonder if I could capture a picture of the moon in my review mirror). So without looking at my phone, I snapped a grainy picture. When I got to the parking lot at work and looked at it, I realized I not only captured the moon in my review mirror, but the sun inching its way upward in front of me. Psalm 139 immediately came to mind, particularly verse 5, “You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me”. I was reminded (again) that God, the Maker of the sun and moon, the One who placed them in the heavens, the One who controls their light, rays, rotation, and movement, is the One who in control of all things.
Another bit of encouragement came to me this afternoon as I was working on my Bible study material during the lunch hour (I get half credit for this one; I was still at my work desk, but at least I was not working). We have been working through the book of Romans, and this week we are studying the latter verses of chapter 10, which speak about sharing God’s Good News of salvation with others, both near and far. As I prepared to answer each question, I kept feeling the urge, the need to write. Honestly, it was a bit unsettling. I mean, I can easily get distracted when I am working on Bible study, but this was different, it was as if each answer needed to be related to writing. The last question was related to where God has placed each of us to share His message and how we planned to encourage someone today. I suspect that the “someone” was me, because I certainly needed to be encouraged, but if that “someone” is you, Dear One, I am praying for you to be encouraged as well. Close the book on what has not been accomplished in January and move forward to what can be accomplished in February. If that seems too big of a list to work through, start with tomorrow. Start your day with an encouraging word from God – a reminder that He goes before you and behind you. He is with you. Two of the most beautiful verses I have claimed from my Romans study so far are Romans 10:8-9,
“But what does it say? The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
The beauty of this passage reminds us that He is near to us – as near as our own mouth and heart. He longs for us to come to Him and to invite Him to be our Lord. He doesn’t need us, He wants us. We need Him, and we need to want Him.
So many words tonight, Dear One. The Lord has blessed me indeed.