Coming into a new year always causes me, like many others I know, to reflect on life — where I’ve been, what I gained or lost over the last year and where did I wind up just before the clock stuck midnight turning into a new year, or in this case, a new decade.
Some things went great in 2019. I entered much healthier than I left 2018, having just won a brief battle with breast cancer!! I was in the fittest place I had been in years having hit the -100 goal a few months earlier and I was moving every day. Job, though stressful, kept going which allows me to work from home — that’s a blessing for sure. And I started my Mormon 2 Grace blog, feeding my passion to help those in experiencing, or those that have experienced a faith crisis after particpating in a high deman religion (“HDR”).
Then it got bumpy – mostly towards the end of the year. Somewhere along the way, I lost my mojo and stopped everything healthy, creative, freeing and started feeling a bit like I was in a slump. Couple that with an end-of-year illness that has taken the better part of a month to get past and well, I was thrilled to be coming into a new year. I needed a do-over for sure.
One of the things that happens when I give in to the left side of my brain and all but ignore the right side is that I become cranky. Like really cranky. Not someone you want to spend a lot of time with unless you enjoy whining. Whining like a three year old who didn’t get the treat at the grocery store they landed their eye (and sticky hands) on. That’s where I’ve been hanging out for the last few months. Feeling disconnected from myself and then everyone around me. I’ve felt just plain old shut down.
In starting to look towards this new year, I knew I didn’t want to continue on this path so I took a long hard look at myself and my current life and did some praying and soul searching. What do I want to do, and more importantly what am I being called to do, and I realized some pretty big things.
I’ve been running. Running from a call God put on my life many, many years ago. The call to write. Have you ever been called to something that caused you so much fear you shut it down, or out, completely? That’s where I’ve been sitting — smack in the middle of fear. Not in faith. Not even a little bit of faith. I have come up with literally every excuse in the book as to why I can’t write. From “I lack talent” to “what could I possibly say that hasn’t been said already”. Lies — all of them. My problem is that I have an “ideal” writer in my vision — what a story should, or at least needs to, look like and I have taken the “lean into God” out of the equation. I’ve been doing things on my own – with my own limited understanding. No wonder I keep coming up short and feeling like I don’t measure up. Sheesh. All those hours in my Bible and albeit I have trouble memorizing scripture, but the one I can remember and I’m sure we all know it, goes like this:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.~ Proverbs 3:5 (NLT)
Well, in thinking of all the things we think of come the new year (what’s our word for the year, supporting verse, goals, etc.), I’ve been doing some very pointed resting. And by resting I mean reading. I’ve spent a lot of time in the New Testament this year — so much so that I decided to call a spade a spade and read it through this year. I’ve read God’s promises and Jesus’ lessons. I’ve prayed and finally, I’ve read a book that has helped free me from thinking the only thing I have to write is a memoir — the book Unveiling Grace did a great job of recounting Lynn Wilder’s family as they followed and then left Mormonism. I feel like she did it such justice, I am not free to think of a different way to write the story God has called me to. What a gift.
I’ve decided to stop running and just give in to His grace. If He is calling me, He will also pave a way. I believe that more now than prehaps I have in the past. And in affirming that belief I took a step that I have put off for the better part of a year. I have made a committment to my writing by joining a group of other writers who support each other in this pursuit. It’s called Hope*Writers. i joined on Friday, and already, just reading all the introductions people are making of themselves and their writing stories over the weekend has been refreshing, inspiring, encouraging. I am so glad I made the move. They have educational resources and a path to follow to encourage writing start to finish, and though I’m not a big fan of instructions, I have decided that if I’m paying for my membership, I will work the process day-by-day. In fact, getting back on here to blog is part of the process. I’ve committed in my planner time to write — like it’s a job — one I love, but a job none the less and today was update my personal blog day. And you know what? It feels really good to be writing something for myself. Just letting the words flow. Feels like a gift today.
The first steps covered are making time for writing, because writing doesn’t just happen. Especially when you’re a wife, a mom, a full-time employee and leading a weekly growth group. Life happens, but writing needs to be intentional. Which brings me to my word for the year — intentional. I’m focused on being very intentional this year. With my time, my friendships, my health, my writing. I’m still working on a supporting verse, but that is my word for 2020: Intentional.