With the last day of the calendar year, many of us start thinking about a fresh start. Even though the earth rotates on its axis unaware of the human-defined change to a new year, we somehow ascribe significance to this man-made observance. It would be sad indeed if we reflected on our lives, goals, and dreams only once a year.
As I get older, I notice I get more desperate for accomplishment and notoriety. I see the sand slipping through that glass and think in terms of years left. "If I can write two novels a year, I'll have twenty-five finished by age sixty." Stuff like that. I notice I push myself hard and it creates stress. I get depressed every day that goes by and my agents fail to call me with good news of a publishing contract. Why can't I take God's view of eternity and know that the gifts and talents I am developing and honing now will follow me into the new order? Part of me wants so badly to touch the world, to make a difference, to end my life with the ability to look back and say I've accomplished something important. That I helped change lives, led people to God, imparted some hope. I pray every day for God to use my gifts and talents to those ends. And I trust He will, in His time, in His way. but what am I to do? What should we all be doing?
I am reminded of Jesus' discussions of being entrusted with precious things. He spoke of those who are given much, and more is then given to them. Why? In another place he says "he who is faithful in little is faithful in much," and that when we are entrusted with a task and we are faithful in carrying it out, we are giving more responsibility. I try to ponder of this concept often. I try not to despise the days of small things, small accomplishments. I know God has given me some very precious gifts and I know He has called me to use them to the full for His glory. He has not called me to be successful; he has called me to be faithful. I also think of the widow who hounded the poor judge until she got what she wanted. So is it wrong for me to pray incessantly that I want these successes? I don't believe it is. But I do believe when we pray for something we really want, we need to take the "talent" God has given us and invest it wisely.
I've read numerous postings of fellow editors, and seen posts of writers' discussing the role of holy spirit in the lives of writers. Many, many authors claim they have been compelled to write their book, story, poem, by God's spirit. Not only that, they say God wrote their piece, so they don't dare edit it or touch it. Many editors reply, "If God wrote your book, why didn't he edit it, too?"
If God calls you to be a doctor, do you just assume he will perform your surgeries for you and you don't even have to go to med school? You will just be given this gift and then you let Him do all the work? We would be horrified to go under the knife of a surgeon who had never spent a minute studying medicine. So why do writers feel they can just write under Holy Spirit and produce a God-inspired, perfect work? Doesn't it make more sense that we first get the call, and then we take the talent and prove faithful in what has been given us? To me, that equates with hard study, practice, discipline, humility to ask for and act on advice in order to be a proficent writer that God can use.
It goes back to the adage: Act as if your life depends upon you; pray as if your life depends upon God. Maybe I have that wrong, but it makes sense to me. If I plow ahead, full steam, sowing day and night, not letting my hand rest--as if it depends upon me--then I am showing the faith I have in God. How? Because if I truly believe He has called me to task, then I want to be about doing it 100%. Putting every determined, faithful effort in that I can. But underneath it all I hear Jesus' words from John 15:5: "Apart from me you can do nothing." Not some things, not little things-NO things. Nothing. We don't know what on earth we are doing for heaven's sake; we only trust that Jesus is in control and he will give us things to do.
So, that's my resolution for the new year--oops--for each and every day until eternity: To be faithful with what I've been given. To not squander the gifts, however small and seemingly insignificant. To pray incessantly for what I want in accordance with God's will. And, lastly, to be alert and awake, so I will not miss the nudgings of God, so I will follow His lead and grab every task set before me so I can prove myself a faithful steward of what He has entrusted to me. May this be a resolve for us all. Susanne