Rough Starts

We all have them–days when nothing goes right and at the end of the day the to do list has nothing marked off and a dozen more things added.  Five days into 2015 and I’m looking back at the summit I was just on and wondering why going down the mountainside is so difficult.  I mean the trek up to the summit was hard, but this?  IMG_3671 fade

One thing that is making it harder, is I prepared for this.  I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.  I’ve never ventured here before. This is a new terrain entirely.

But I prepared.  I spent Advent slowing down, listening to the Lord about where He is leading me. I knew we were going to leave the comfort of the summit and come back down into the valley. The Lord gave me the word, togetherness, to focus on for the journey down, so I assumed this was not going to be a journey I could manage on my own. Not only would I need to stick with Him, but I’d need to be alert for those He brought alongside.  Then a week ago, He turned my attention to what I’d brought up to the summit with me.  There were some things, like publishing my first novel, that I definitely wanted to take with me and build upon this year.  Then there were things, like my hyperthyroidism, that I’d love to leave behind but can’t.  Then He pointed out some things I needed to leave behind that would weigh me down and keep me from being able to travel well.

1. Leaving behind bad habits.

I’ve spent the past few years unlearning obsessive tendencies and unrealistic expectations, but in the process I’ve picked up a bad habit of avoiding tasks until they have to be done.  This has made my time doing the dailies haphazard and complicated.  As I go into 2015, I want to be intentional. When cleaning, hygiene, finances, eating and sleeping have a time and a method, they don’t consume our days or get set aside until they are unavoidable. I want to use the daily tasks as opportunities to spend time with my children, to pray, to meditate upon God’s word and work out problems in my manuscripts.  All those dailies are truly gifts from the Lord, so I’m giving up idleness and avoidance.

2. Leaving behind time wasters.

There are so many things that compete for our time.  A few years ago I started sorting mail immediately and tossing most in the garbage.  It was amazing how few things I really “needed” to open.  There is a reason titles and headlines with the word “simple” tug at our hearts, we are tired of the constant need to make decisions on things that don’t matter. Our email boxes fill up. FB and Twitter constantly update and beg us to check them. TV shows and commercials insist we stop and watch them.  Stores bombard us with sales and limited time offers.  So in 2015 I plan to stop.  I’ll stop watching ‘random’ TV and unsubscribe from emails I don’t read.  I will be more intentional with “when” we go to the library and store, and stop eating out except as a treat. I’ve even split my Pinterest into an author account (my active research and where I learn more about the craft of writing) and my personal account.  I’m putting a halt to “dreaming” of a perfect life.  I plan to look at those personal boards and “do” or “destroy”.  I’m never going to learn to knit, so why do I have a knitting board?

3. Leaving behind my fears.

The ‘what if’ game that helps me develop deep characters also can turn my worries into debilitating fear.  The kind of fear that makes my feet refuse to move and my mind refuse to make a decision. I’m not a risk-taker, so making big life changes is hard for me.  As I look forward, there are several antagonists that are going to make the journey harder.  A large repair to our homes foundation will not only cost us financially but will require moving out of our home for at least a month.  Between migraines and issues with my thyroid, I am guaranteed to have days that I physically just won’t be able to do what needs to get done.  Add to that traveling through uncharted territory of writers’ conferences, querying agents, and all that goes with being an author. With all the unknowns, fear steps out of the shadows and insists that if I know what’s best for me, I’ll turn around and go back the way I came. But if learned anything in 2014, it was that everything can be taken, people we love, homes we’ve built, fortunes we’ve scrimped to save, and yet God can prevail. So I’m letting go of fear and holding fast to the Lord, who is greater than anything I will face.

And this brings me back to where I find myself today.  Going down over the ledge of the summit I find myself on the steep mountainside.  If I look down, I’m going to give a foothold to fear, so I’m trusting the Lord’s voice coming from just below me, telling me where to put my feet.  Trusting that He will catch me if I slip.  I’m not going to pine for the easy days of the summit or try and figure this out on my own based on my prior experiences.  If I want to get down this mountainside, I’m going to have to trust I have what I need, and if I don’t God will bring another climber down beside me.  These first few days over the edge have been rough, reminding me, I don’t have time or strength to dawdle.  When He says rest, I’ll rest.  When He says eat, I’ll eat.  When He says it’s time to go, I’ll go.

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2 thoughts on “Rough Starts”

  1. Great post, Jessica. This year will be a year of traversing uncharted territory for a lot of writers, I feel. Myself included. I set goals in order to become a better, more serious writer. I’ve never been this deliberate with my work. I think about who I’m doing this for. Myself, of course, and my children. I want to leave a legacy for them. A legacy that states you can do anything you can set your mind to. I think this year will be a great year.

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    1. I agree. I’m as excited as I am scared. I think about how much God did in scripture in very short spans of time. I mean really His entire ministry was just three years. So I try not to waste time dreaming about “where” I’m going to be at the end of the year. I make goals but I know if He takes me another way I am going to be happier following Him than insisting on hitting my goals on my timeline. It’s going to be a great year.

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