As we are now in the first week of 2020, I’ve noticed lately that people are congregating in huge numbers at places they have not frequented before. Places like The Gym, Jogging Tracks at our local parks, the Health Food aisle at the grocery store and one of the most shocking places of all: Church.
But there is one other place where people, me being one of them, are going to in droves: The Internet. Because it is during this time of year where writers, again like myself, rush to the internet to commit to their new year’s resolutions to start writing again.
“Oh sure,” we tell ourselves in our collectively strange minds. “This is the year I will stay committed to writing my blog, finally get my book in shape to get published, finally research and get an agent” yada, yada, yada.
Yeah, I know I’ve been lacking in my writing and blogging, but I didn’t think it was as bad as I thought it was. For you see, I went back in my records and I realized that I had not written a blog post in over a year.
A year! Seriously?
And do you know what the sick part of all of this is? I’m pretty sure I wrote a post about my slacking off as a writer and promising to do better in the future. (So much for good intentions.)
This is really kind of embarrassing for me to tell you all of what happened. I mean, sure, I can tell you that I will do better in the future, but what happens when something called “Life” rears it’s ugly head again and takes over? How will you all be able to trust me again in order to get your regular fix of irreverence?
Let’s face it. Just like the people who start the year off at the gym, jogging tracks, health food aisle or whatever, things happen in life to get in the way of you trying to achieve your goals. In January, these places are full. Come February and March, not so much. And why? Because of a four-letter word called “Life”.
We all have face obstacles that prevent us from obtaining the goals we wish to accomplish. Don’t get me wrong, not all of the obstacles we face are bad ones. Sometimes there are things in life that we have to do first before we can pursue our dreams and goals. But the question we need to ask ourselves the following: “Just how bad do you want to achieve your goals?” “What am I willing to give up in order to achieve my dreams?” “Am I willing to step on other people in order to get what I want?” “How far am I willing to go to succeed?”
If we really want to be honest with ourselves and the goals we want to achieve in life, we really need to be realistic about it. Deciding to change your name, move to another state and start over as a virgin just so you can feel free enough to write “The Next Great American Novel” is not a viable option.
Remember, you still have to make money to eat on, put a roof over your head, wear some sort of clothing (you can’t wear pajamas all of the time), put gas in the car and most importantly, pay your Netflix bill.
But one thing I think we also need to ask ourselves is “What is the purpose behind what we want to achieve?” Or, to put it more succinctly, “Why?” Why do we want what we want? Is it to fulfill some inner sense of self-worth? Is it to accomplish something for the benefit of humanity? Or is there some sort of divine purpose behind what wish to accomplish?
I think I’ve found out why I’ve been having problems staying focused on my writing. Why I’ve never been able to find the time or resources not only to write but to succeed in my writing career. And the answer is really quite simple: I’ve been trying to do this all on my own.
Much like the people who go to the gym or try to get in shape based on their own will power and their “I’ve got this” attitude, then fail and give up because they do not get the results they are looking for. And the reason they fail is that they do not look to a coach. An expert in the field who can guide them on their journey to a better body, better-eating habits and a better way of approaching not only the physical characteristics of their training but also the mental aspects of it as well.
That’s where I’ve been failing as well. While I am not going to a gym and working on my body (laughable as it is), I have been failing to seek the advice of someone who can guide me to being a better writer: God.
My life verse is found in Philippians 4:13 where it says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. That verse means a lot to me because it means that whatever pathway God has set for my life, be it a writer, father, husband, friend, that whatever path he has for me, I can do it because HE is the one who will give me the strength to do it.
So, how do we do this? How do we get the strength, the guidance, the pathway God has for our lives?
The first thing we need to do is ask for Wisdom. James 1:5 says this: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” If you don’t ask God for His guidance and instructions on where to go and what to do, you are destined to fail. And guess what? God wants you to ask Him what to do! Contrary to popular belief, there are no stupid questions when you are talking to God. Asking God what to do and where to go puts you on the way to succeed in what He has planned for you because God will never steer you wrong. If you want wisdom in order to know what to do in and with your life, ask God for it and He will give it to you in abundance!
The next thing we need to do is spend time in God’s Word (The Bible). I just found this great article by Matthew S. Harmon that is called “10 Things You Should Know about Reading the Bible” It explains perfectly, a lot better than I could do so in such a short space, why we all should all be reading The Bible and why it is so essential for our success. Here is the link https://www.crossway.org/articles/10-things-you-should-know-about-reading-the-bible/?utm_source=Crossway+Marketing&utm_campaign=f947bad751-20200103+-+General+-+Bible+Reading+2020&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0275bcaa4b-f947bad751-301466525
Finally, we need to ask ourselves the following: “What is our definition of success?” Well, it depends on who’s perspective you are defining the word. If we are looking at what success is in our own eyes, we may be chasing the wrong things in order to be successful. There are some who think of success as having a lot of money, a corner office at work, being the best in their field, having a bigger house, more toys than their neighbor and so forth.
But what if we look at success from God’s perspective? See, God’s idea of success is for you to achieve what He created you to do. You were given specific talents and abilities in order to achieve what He has planned for you. So in essence, if you are succeeding in things YOU think are important, you may be failing in God’s eyes who has a definitive plan for your life. And trust me on this, once you are following God’s plan for your life, you will never fail. That is not to say you won’t have some setbacks, because some setbacks are put in our lives to help us grow and mature, but trust me, God has NEVER set up anyone who is following His plan for their life to fail. He will give you the tools, the opportunity and the way for you to succeed. But you have to do it HIS way and then you will truly see the success HE has planned for you.
Let me leave you with this verse that puts everything we’ve talked about in perspective. Matthew 6:33 where it says “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” If you want to truly succeed in your life, with your family, with your relationships, in your career, in whatever it is you are trying to accomplish and if you do it God’s way with God’s definition of success in mind, it will happen for you.
But hey, don’t take my word for it. Pray about it and read the Bible to find out for yourselves. If you have any questions or comments, here is a link where you drop me a note or if you’d like me to pray for you.
I now return you to your regularly scheduled life…already in progress.