Early on in my writing life, I had to give up the notion that writing time would come easy, be ideal and full of inspiration.
When I signed my first book contract, I was working full time for a software company as a department manager. I’d recently become a worship leader at my church, adding that to my job as youth pastor’s wife. My husband and I also gathered with other area pastors to start a weekly multi-church prayer meeting and I’d become the Vice President of a national writers organization and was coordinating our second annual conference.
Writing? Yeah, like when? Where? And I didn’t even have children to raise. I felt pushed, pulled, torn, frazzled and on the edge. I’d never written a book to be published before. I’d not coordinated a conference and my committee was “out there” across America. If I failed, I’d let so many people down, including myself.
I lay in bed one night praying, trying to decide if I should just work up my courage and resign as Vice President and admit I couldn’t do it all. I didn’t need to be that kind of person. But as my final grasp for God’s grace, I whispered in the darkness, “Lord, you have a conference to coordinate, let me know what you need me to do.”
Peace washed over me. I didn’t resign. The Lord sent me a co-coordinator. The conference was a success.
And, I wrote my first book by June of that year and met my deadline.
A busy life seems impossible to avoid these days. We have so many options and opportunities available to us. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.
1. Make sure the jobs or opportunities you embrace are really from the Lord. Don’t say yes out of guilt or even selfish ambition. Know that you know all you’re doing is right and good. Sure I had a full plate that one year, but I knew God had loaded me up for a reason.
2. Give it all back to Him. Ask for wisdom and grace, insight and help.
3. Let go of any and all concept that you have to be perfect. You’ll fail and it’s okay to fail. There were quite a few bloopers at that second annual conference, but we got past them. God’s grace was greater.
4. Get organized. Since I knew my book deadline, I wrote out my writing schedule on a calendar. I had a few extra vacation days so I scheduled them as mega-writing sessions. It’s not unholy, or ungodly to plan. Most of us fail in our sincerest desires because we live by the tyranny of the urgent. We don’t plan so our lives are governed by the moment. If we do plan, we allow ourselves to be knocked off course. Schedule writing time and STICK to it. If it’s one hour a week, then guard it with all your might.
5. Be confident before God. Know that He has good works planned for you to walk in. He loves you. He wants you to succeed.
In the midst of juggling my schedule, I worked hard to maintain my own intimate relationship with Jesus. It wasn’t always easy and I failed to reach my ultimate goal, but by having a goal, I found success. Otherwise, I might have drifted way away from the heart-to-heart relationship I wanted with Him.
There were a few tools I used to help me stay on track with my relationship.
1. I attended corporate prayer meetings.
2. I was faithful to all worship services.
3. I went early to youth church or main church to have prayer times.
Look for ways to fortify your spiritual as well as natural life.
1. Find a buddy to pray with or write with.
2. Ask your family to “do it with you.” As parents we spend time driving our children to school, music or dance, sports events. Wouldn’t they love to help mom or dad meet their writing goal? Bring them into the adventure with you.
3. Pray. Ask Jesus for grace. For help. If all else fails, use my prayer. “Lord, you have a book to write, let me know what I need to do.
If you find you just can’t manage it all, set is aside and wait. Maybe your season of writing is not yet. But keep taking notes, keep praying, keep learning.
God is faithful to keep us in His will. Even when we fail, He will not.
So exhale. Relax. Have fun.