It's safe to say that 2011 has been an "off year" when it comes to writing. I've not done much--definitely not all the things I had planned to do. I know the year isn't quite over yet, but that halfway point of JUNE is mocking me, reminding me of how much of a writing failure I am.
Only, I don't feel like a failure at all. I probably should. I haven't really met many of my goals. I haven't really even tried. Yesterday (okay, and today too), I spent my free afternoon taking a nap and playing stupid computer games. I think I might have a slight touch of apathy going on right now. I hope it passes soon--like by next week, when I have lots of time off that can be used to work on query stuff.
Yeah, but I guess I should be more upset that this year hasn't gone exactly as I had planned back in the last few days of 2010. The last two or three years of my life, I've noticed that my calendar is a week off from the actual calendar. My New Year doesn't begin on New Year's Day. It begins at Christmas. Christmas is the day on which my entire year revolves.
For the last few Christmases, my brain has focused on one idea that has to do with the Christmas story--with the story of God coming down to earth in the form of man in order to redeem mankind from death and sin. Three years ago, I focused on the Star--connecting the stars that God showed Abraham back in Genesis 15 with the Star the Wisemen followed in Matthew 2. I even wrote a song about it. Two years ago, I focused on Joy.
When this past Christmas came, I started thinking early about what idea would stand out. One word kept standing out to me. Peace.
Linus in A Charlie Brown Christmas (my fave Christmas movie) read a passage from Luke 2--"...Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will to men." A song we sang for the choir Christmas program at church--Casting Crown's version of "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" with the refrain "Peace on earth. Peace on earth. Peace on earth, good will to men."
I wish I had taken Greek and Hebrew in college instead of going with Spanish (because I can't speak Spanish). Then I'd be able to have better insight as to what that phrase "peace on earth, good will to men" actually means. I've read several different translations, which all give the phrase a slightly different meaning. "Peace on earth to men, on whom His favor rests." "Peace on earth to those on whom His favor rests." Does it mean that God offers peace and good will to ALL men? Does it mean that God offers peace because His favor rests with men? Does it mean that God offers peace ONLY to those on whom His favor rests?
I wrestled with this for a little while last December. I came to the conclusion that while the translation and arguments surrounding it might be important at other times and in other circumstances, it didn't really matter to what I was trying to figure out. The fact is, God did come to earth to offer peace to those who would accept Him. He created us. We rebelled against Him. He came down with us to offer us reconciliation. The angel came to bring good news. And it was the best news ever. I think that's why my whole year revolves around Christmas. Easter is important too--it's also the best news ever that death couldn't keep Christ in that tomb. I think the fact that Christ came and the fact that Christ lives are both the best news ever.
The thing is, this whole idea of peace didn't leave me after the Christmas season ended. And I'm still trying to wrap my feeble human brain around the concept of peace.
I'm an angry person. If you haven't noticed this about me, it's not because it's not true. It's just because you haven't seen it. The ladies I work with at the drop-in center have seen it. Lol. I have a short fuse. It's not as bad as it used to be, but it still exists.
But I can handle the short fuse a lot better than I can handle the grudges I hold, the bitterness I have let creep into my heart, the irrational senses of unfairness that I feel. The Lord has been working in my heart since this past Christmas to root out a lot of the anger I didn't even realize I had. Reminders of past pain and grievances have just popped up at seemingly random times, and I've had to deal with them and/or let them go. And it's been a long, often difficult process. And I know He's not done yet. I'm grateful He loves me enough to work on me...
All of this is to say that sometimes the plans I make for my year, for my month, for my week, for my day--well, all of them can be thwarted quite easily. I had plans for this to be a major writing year. The Lord has had plans to work on my heart. He's showing me that peace, although I can't understand it, is something worth pursuing. He's showing me that as an imperfect person, I can't hold the imperfections of others against them. He's showing me how to listen more than I speak. He's bringing situations into my life that force me to be confrontational, yet He's showing me how to be gentle in the midst of those confrontations. And I'm learning again that everything that comes into my life is filtered through grace. God knows things are going to happen to me. He knew I'd have a couple of financial issues this year (so far). He knew I'd have to deal with work issues and situations in the lives of friends. He knows everything that's coming, and He's allowing it--the good and the bad--because everything that comes my way is an opportunity to trust Him and show love to others.
And I have a feeling that peace is found somewhere in the midst of all of that.
So no, this year hasn't gone exactly as planned. I could definitely stand to work a little harder, so don't get me wrong. I'm not using this as a cop-out. But when it comes down to it, I'm not really that stressed out that things haven't gone as I planned. God has His own plans. And I'm hoping that when Christmas rolls around again, I'm closer to peace (and to Him) than I was before.