When 2013 ended, yes, I’d finished a great year of making income for my family, but I’d fallen far short of my writing goals. I’d failed to complete the first draft of my third novel, which I’m tentatively calling Drone.
I tend to get down on myself when I don’t meet my personal goals, but then I have to remind myself that I have priorities that must come before my writing—namely, supporting my wife and two daughters.
So while I didn’t meet my writing goals, I kept food on the table—and really, what’s more important? That’s an easy question to answer. God doesn’t go soft on men who fail to provide for those under their care (1 Tim. 5:8).
So yes, I do have a personal goal to finish novel number three in 2014, but I also temper that goal with an important truth. God gives us just enough time to do what we really need to do.
It’s great to have goals, but they must be balanced by reality while we submit to what God wants above all else. So while setting goals has its place, goals can sometimes become their own form of idolatry if we don’t align them based on what God has called us to do. After all, what I think is important for me to achieve right now may not align with God’s goals for me.
I must admit, though, that I’m delayed for another reason. I have a story I think is more powerful than anything I’ve ever written, but the plotting and the ending, in particular, are giving me headaches. I’m stuck, and I’m not sure how to move forward. The story’s possibilities are also so endless that I rather feel like a deer stuck in the headlights. I’m praying for wisdom. If you want to pray for me, too, I’d welcome that.
Then I must be frank that the whole process of getting published puts a damper on the prospect of finishing another book. It’s almost like a mental block. I love writing, but I must admit that I hate the process of getting published. I’m being brutally transparent here. Perhaps if I found a literary agent, he or she could help me navigate the sometimes-choppy waters.
I have several friends who are venturing out on their own, exploring the whole scary world of self-publishing. Is that for me? There are strong reasons to find the idea appealing. But then I think about the extra cost of time and finances . . . And I’m not sure. And indecision is one of my biggest weaknesses; sometimes I just can’t make up my mind.
So, as I face 2014, I have reasons to feel conflicted. And uncertain.
But when I think about the newness of this year, I visualize the pot of paper-whites my wife has stationed beside the kitchen window (I gave her the bulbs for Christmas). Just now there are new, green shoots rising up out of the soil, almost as if by magic. The promise of something fresh and new is refreshing, especially when we are surrounded by so much snow and cold at this time of the year.
That’s how I feel about this new year. It’s sort of like starting over with a clean slate. A year from now, will I have been faithful to what God has called me to do? Only God knows.
What about you? What are your goals for 2014? What biblical truths do you keep in mind to help you set right priorities and keep your goals from becoming idolatrous?
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