Can I confide in you? I hate New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t know if it is because I have always had the weight thing at the top of my list, but somehow it just feels as though I am setting myself up to fail when I put pen to paper. To me this is a bit odd, because I am by nature a list person. I wake up in the night with a list of things to do running through my head. I have been known to write down things I have already done, just so I can experience the satisfaction of crossing them off. I mean things like showering, brushing my teeth and getting dressed. Think about it, by 6:30 a.m. I have already accomplished three things. (who cares that it is something I do every single day) In some ways, it is simply a mind game that my brain engages in for entertainment. There are times this neurological stimulation feels like a curse as my mind tries to organize details in a way to get everything done in the most efficient manner. It would make logical sense then, for me to LIKE making a New Years list.
So why do I despise it so? I think it is the permanence of it. Once it is down, my mind will not let me rest until I have at least attempted it. Not a problem if it is something as simple as brushing my teeth, but losing 100 lbs. is a different story. Even spiritual goals come up flat, as my brain turns them into performance rituals devoid of life. After so many years of this kind of failure, is it any wonder I have quit trying? No, I think that this year, I resolve NOT to make any resolutions.
This year I am going to take steps towards that to which God has called me. For me, it is more than semantics…it is walking in what God has given me to do; following my dreams. After my cancer, I realized that God has given me the ability to write for a purpose, and that I may not have years to put my words on paper. He convinced me that I have a part of him that no one else has…a personal viewpoint that he has molded and shaped through my life experiences. No one else can express this part of his heart like I can. It is his design for my life to reveal his glory to those with whom I come into contact. In my life, this involves writing what I see and hear. For years, I have felt the urge to write a book and yet it took the possibility of death to make me act on it. Why is that? Why is it that we sell ourselves short which, in turn, denies others the opportunity to witness God’s glory at work through us? I believe that we do not see ourselves through his eyes. We think we are ordinary and that we have little to offer. I never could have dreamed that someone else would want to read anything I had written. I had journals full of thoughts and ideas that were sitting on a shelf. God, in his gentle but firm way, confronted me on this.
“Why do you bottle up what I have given you and keep it to yourself? Don’t you
know this is what I created you to do? Don’t you know there is no one else that I have entrusted with this task? Because of your distinctive passions and interests, your life experiences, and your relationship with me throughout all of it, you are uniquely qualified to display my glory. When you hold back, you are hindering my glory. You must trust me on this and step out.”
My heart was grieved at his words to me. I just kept putting it off. I am a very busy person and to write takes time and thought. I can always do it later, once my life has slowed down and the kids are grown. This is what I told myself to justify not stepping out. But in reality it was fear that was holding me back. Fear that I wasn’t good enough or that no one would like my writing. Fear that I would embarrass myself.
Then God, in his infinite wisdom, granted me time to slow down and a new fear…fear of dying without doing what he called me to do. Fear that what was in my heart to do, my dreams, my words, would go to the grave with me, unspoken, unwritten. Cancer brings with it the gift of perspective.
This year I will step out even further. It may be one step or five…but I will move forward in my writing. This is not a checklist; it is a heart-cry. My question to you my dear reader is this, what will you step towards this year? Do you have music in your heart that needs to be played? A song perhaps, that someone needs to hear? I am quite sure that there are numerous books to be written. I cannot tell you the number of times since I wrote my book that someone has told me “I have always wanted to write a book.” So why my brother, have you not done it? Sister, what is holding you back? Your heart is crying out to follow the dreams God himself has put in your heart. His glory is burning to be expressed. Are you a teacher that needs to teach? Are you a musician that needs to sing or an artist that needs to paint? Maybe a counselor that longs to bring healing to broken hearts? What is it that stirs your soul?
One step. Move one step towards it. Do not make the mistake I did and wait until you think you are dying to step out. God’s glory resides inside of you, and he has given you a way to communicate it to a dying world. Lay down your fear and your excuses. Allow him to breathe life into your dream and then move on it.
I leave you with a story…this Christmas I was with my great aunt Janette. She had a fever as a child that caused brain damage so she is mentally impaired. Childlike in every way she is a joy to be with. She is 4-foot something and stands about chest high. Mostly she is happy. About everything. She sees everything very simply and calls it like she sees it. While you may not think she knows all that is going on around her, there are times she is surprisingly wise. We were discussing something, I do not remember what exactly. I think someone said ‘I’ve been meaning to do that’ or something to that effect. She in her innocent way said, “You’d better do it because it’s later than you think.” Profound.
One step. Follow your heart-cry. He is waiting…and it’s later than you think.