So, how are you coming on those New Year’s resolutions?
(Are those crickets I hear?)
Yeah, me too.
That’s why I’ve been thinking about doing away with the whole resolution thing (or “thang,” as we say here in the Lone Star State). Instead, I’m praying for a revolution. After all, without God, I wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything…even getting out of bed in the morning.
I’m greedy this year, but in a good way. I’m greedy for more of His presence, more answered prayers–not just for me, but also for all those who are hurting–and more of His words in my ear, on my lips, and in my mind.
I’m asking God…
- To take my thoughts away from the markets and focus them on stewardship. I truly want to honor Him with my writing. This means (gulp!) that I’ll need to ask for His strength to be more disciplined. When He gives me an idea, I need to turn off the television, put down the latest decorating magazine, and write–without worrying about how the piece will fit into a publisher’s plans. Oh, God, help me stop obsessing over markets and contracts and instead be faithful to write the things you want me to write.
- To help me be content. I’ve always been goal-oriented…to a fault. Too often, my ambitions led me off-track. Instead of being led by the Spirit, I’ve been driven. And since I’m being honest, I’ll admit that I have compared my blog stats/Amazon numbers/speaking schedule to other writers and felt insecure–or, worse, envious. I’ve browsed bookstore shelves and gone from admiring to coveting. I’ve admired another writer’s website and wished it were mine. Oh, Father, forgive me. Help me to know the secret Paul talked about–of being perfectly fine right where you’ve placed me….whether on bestseller lists or in remainder bins, in Barnes and Noble or on my blog, on a designer site or a “homemade” masterpiece. You have given me so much! Help me to count my blessings instead of my bills. In the midst of economic uncertainties, may I covet nothing but your peace.
- To fill my heart with simple joys. Too often, I get mired in the past (Should I have Twitter-ed that? What did he think of my idea? Did I mess up my career for good this time?) or the future (Will I make enough $$$ for us to have a real vacation this year? What’s my editor going to say?– and–How in the world will I find time to write when I actually get the contract?!). What I really need to do is 1) take a deep breath and 2) let ordinary miracles bowl me over, preferably every five minutes. Frederick Beuchner wrote, “Life itself is grace.” So are used bookstores, computers, and online friends. Abba, remind me to read and write more deeply. Prod me to study and meditate on scripture, instead of just quoting from it for my latest WIP. Rip my blinders off so I can appreciate every connection and blessing you’ve given on this path you’ve ordained for me.
- To show up and show off. I once had a music director who prayed a version of this during Wednesday night choir practice. He believed that we should spend as much time talking to God together as we did rehearsing…and boy, was he right. This same director invited anyone to sing in “his” choir–church member or atheist, bank president or convenience store clerk. Many who came out of their love for music–or just pure curiosity–stayed week after week, and their lives were inevitably changed. They showed up, and God showed off. Lord, never let me forget that I can do nothing without You. In You, and You alone, I move and live and have my being. You are my source, my guide, and my goal. Please show up and show off in my career, family, and relationships. Do what you do best, Lord.
A few years ago, I led worship at a ladies’ retreat. The speaker was wise, peaceful, and totally centered on Jesus. I wanted what she had, but I guess I was afraid to ask God for such a faith (maybe I knew it would be costly).
After dinner one night, she and I were discussing the books I had written (my first three books had come out, but then I received a ton of rejections and was sure my career was over), and she mentioned that she was considering writing a book based on her retreat material.
“I’d love to write more books,” I admitted, “It’s a passion of mine. But I can’t get another contract, and I don’t have the money to self-publish. It’s really discouraging!”
She looked at me and smiled. The next words out of her mouth went straight to my egocentric heart and lodged there, like a stubborn splinter.
“I don’t need a contract,” she said. “I just need more of Jesus.”
I’ve been working that out ever since.