It’s been a minute. Well, 525,600 minutes — give or take a few. (Do you have that song stuck in your head now?)
Being a writer is a funny thing. One is free to call themselves a writer whether they have any skill in the craft or not. One can even call himself a writer if he never writes, I suppose. But after a while, one has to wonder, “Do I call myself a writer simply because I can write? Or, am I ever actually going to get back to writing?” At what point of fiddling with numerous other crafts, hobbies, and projects and neglecting writing does one cease to be a “writer” and become simply a “person who can write”?
Hopefully that point is somewhere beyond 525,600 minutes. (Seriously, can you read that number without singing it!? That’s the only line I know of the whole song.)
Time is relative isn’t it? It isn’t… but, it is!
Explaining that is beyond the scope of this writer’s ability, but boy do I know it’s true. This time last year I was pumped up about a whole bunch of changes in motion and plans in place. I was pumping out words and thoughts (they go together with me) about new productivity routines I was going to be practicing and content I was going to be writing. I was scheming something fierce about desires my wife and I had, and we were pursuing things with some of the greatest clarity we’d had in years.
I was the cat we’ve all seen that wiggles and bobs its head, then wiggles down through it’s spine and through its tail while it gets its paws positioned just right before a big pounce. Eyes wide. Muscles tensed. My tiny brain about to burst with hope and expectation. I was poised to pounce. And then I leaped…
…onto something completely different than I had planned!
In the last writing I managed to squeeze out last year, as my new course was sapping every last bit of time and energy out of me, I wrote these words about the unplanned changes taking place, “In short, I’m in a new job and trying to buy a new house in the span of just about two weeks. It’s wild.”
That was not an exaggeration! But, though it was fast, it wasn’t without careful wisdom and council. I went on to say,
“In change like this, especially this quickly, there’s always a lot of both loss and gain. I’m still wrapping my mind around everything it’s going to mean for future plans, and I don’t have it figured out yet. However, one thing I know, is that it’s made a lot of sense as a “next step” when we, my wife and I, have considered the economics of all our desires together.”
This is one of the things I love about writing, and especially blogging or journalling. It’s good to look back and see and remember the thoughts, the feelings, and the steps you took. It’s good to be reminded, and see with more clarity, how Biblical truths play out such as Proverbs 16:9.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)
If Anything Goes As Planned, I’ll Think Something Is Wrong
It’s all so true. Now, here I sit, a year-ish later, writing a new post and humoring about how my plans haven’t changed all that much and yet my life abounds with change. And, as I suspected, we have lost much and we have gained much. It would take hundreds upon hundreds of more words to try to explain what all those losses and gains are, and still I suspect we haven’t even realized much of it.
But, this is how walking with the Lord goes. If we believe Proverbs 16:9, and we believe Isaiah 55:8-9 — “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord” — then we shouldn’t be surprised that as any given block of time passes we can look around to perceive that nothing is as we thought it’d be.
At this point in my life, if anything were to go the way I actually plan it to, I would have to think something is terribly wrong. I’d most likely be walking in disobedience to the Lord.
Again, last year’s changes weren’t completely out of the scope of things we had considered. They just weren’t what we would have said were the “next step” until God was basically putting our feet on them. We also certainly had no idea the true amount of effort and cost they would demand. This was so true that I don’t know if we would have chosen them at all, and yet, in retrospect now, I’m really grateful for the demands, the costs, the gains, and, now, the new opportunities and insights because of them.
Walking with God, and working hard in and at doing so, is the greatest adventure a soul can hope for. And, the more you do it, the better it gets and the more enjoyable it becomes.
It’s a bittersweet joy at times though. I’ve never been accused of being complacent or apathetic in my life. So, because of this, and many other factors I’m sure, my wife and I find ourselves starting this year in very different emotional, spiritual, relational and even physical (as in locations) places than we were this time last year. Some of those differences are purely exciting and some of those have sorrow mixed in with them.
We foresee a lot of interesting changes on the horizon this year — way more than the one or two we were planning for last year —and many of them are because of the unplanned steps the Lord took us through this last year. We’re grateful. Yet, it hasn’t been without some cost. Yet still, we’re grateful.
When God is doing the directing of your steps and you are walking in obedience to that guidance, you can know that even the costs, the losses and troubles, are for your good.
In a sovereign turn of events, I began a commute at the end of this last year that allowed me to begin working through a book I’ve hoped to devour for years. That book is “Future Grace” by John Piper. I cannot recommend it enough. It was a superb book to end the last year and begin this one on. In this season of unplanned events and unpredictable transitions, one of the gold nuggets of truth that I came upon in it was this thought:
If God is who we say we believe he is, namely good and sovereign, then we must necessarily believe that God only gives us what we would ask for if we knew everything he knows.
Powerful. Such a tremendously powerful thought to meditate on.
Onward And Upward
So now, as I start out a new year and a new season of life, I’m not going to spend much effort declaring what I’m doing. I’m not even going to spend much time saying what I hope to be doing. To be clear, I’m not saying it is wrong to do these things — within reason, it can be okay or even helpful. I’m just saying the truth is that we rarely know what we’ll be doing tomorrow. Not really. Especially not me in this season.
So, for myself, I’m declaring only two intentions at this point:
One, I will write more, and often. Writing is my first and primary love of all the crafts and projects I do. It helps me to process, consider, enjoy and remember the way God orchestrates his will in and through me as well as everything and everyone around me.
Secondly, yet primarily, I intend to “seek first his kingdom” with trust and contentment in all circumstances. It’s easier said than done, but it’s easier the more it’s done. And, it’s worth it. I look forward in the years ahead to looking back on this writing, and many others to come, and saying, “Yep. Definitely worth it.”
Onward and upward in course — excited for the unplanned, but pre-established, steps!