Full Life Reflections: February 16th
Can I share a truth bomb with you? I’ve been frustrated lately.
During the summer of 2022, I decided I was going to put in the time and effort to begin writing a book. For those who have written books, you know it takes a lot of dedication and work. As I’ve taken on this great endeavor, there’s been a lot more to take in than I anticipated. As soon as I’ve reached one goal, there’s quickly more work to be done. Some days it seems like I’ve barely made a dent in the long road ahead.
Feeling overwhelmed recently, I called my husband to complain. My once confident heart was replaced with fear. “Can I still do this?” I thought. My brain couldn’t wrap itself around all the work, possible expenses, travel, research, and actual writing that still needed to be done for this project. Quickly forgetting my God-given progress, I felt defeated looking ahead to the mountain still in front of me. I was at a standstill. Putting off writing for another day, I complained and allowed my brain to run wild with negativity.
Patiently listening to my frustration on the phone that day, my husband reminded me, “Take it one day at a time. You can’t eat an elephant all at once”. And I knew he was right. I needed to keep moving forward, taking bites of my elephant. I needed to trust God would continue to guide my progress as He’d already been doing even if I couldn’t see the end.
My complaining reminded me of the Israelites after their exodus from Egypt right before they crossed the Red Sea. They couldn’t see a way forward, so they sat and complained, forgetting all of God’s blessings up to that point. God’s chosen people were brought out of Egypt, freed from slavery, and promised a land flowing with milk and honey (Exodus 12-13). Yet, when Pharaoh’s horses and chariots came darting toward them at the Red Sea, the Israelite’s fear set in,
“Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians?’ It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” (Exodus 14:12).
The Israelites actually said they wished God never brought them out of Egypt. When hardships struck, they immediately wanted to go back to what they knew- slavery. They were afraid to move forward in freedom because it took work. But God had greater plans for His people. God had entrusted them with freedom, and now they needed to trust God with what was up ahead, even if they couldn’t see beyond the sea.
How easy it is for each of us to sink back into wanting what was old because we’re afraid of the hard work or the unfamiliar ahead. Sometimes it’s easier to complain and move back into complacency rather than put in the work or simply keep moving in the right direction.
God finally instructed Moses and the Israelites,
“Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to MOVE ON” (Exodus 14:15).
This was their time to act. This was their time to move forward.
I believe this is true for each of us. Sometimes we get stuck in only seeing the mountain we have to scale rather than remembering Who called us to that mountain and what lies on the other side. We let fear stifle our progress and resort to distractions, complaints, or just staying in prayer without moving in the way God is calling us. It’s not that God doesn’t want us to pray, but we can pray in our movement as we trust God. It’s in these times of doubt, we need to reflect and remember God’s blessings in our life- remember His faithfulness as we move on.
As I continue on in this writing journey, I can’t see the end of it or fully wrap my brain around all of it, and that’s scary. But I trust God. And I pray He will encourage me to stay the course, put in the work, and remember His faithfulness as I move forward with what He has put before me.
Photo by Rok Romih: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-in-red-jacket-and-black-pants-walking-on-snow-covered-ground-3848197/
16 thoughts on “Move On!”
I so appreciate your transparency in this newsletter! I’m right there with you. Thank you for the encouragement to keep going.
What a beautiful piece! For what it’s worth, I finished writing my first book last year (it’s on comic books and theology and I’m in the midst of formal editing now). It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done! I signed the contract in May and had a year to finish the manuscript. I spent SEVEN MONTHS wrapped in anxiety, fear, and wrestling with pretty serious imposter syndrome. I didn’t write a single word! I couldn’t! “Who was I to write a book?” “What did I have to say that was worth reading?” And on and on. My anxiety was such that I wouldn’t (or couldn’t, more likely) even bring this up with my therapist of my closest natural supports. I did scattered bursts of research but even that scared me. So I am in awe of your having such an open conversation with your husband and writing and sharing a post about all this! I couldn’t find the strength to do that for months.
Ultimately, I found my groove and I finished it but it was one of the most emotionally exhausting (rewarding and wonderful and exciting, too) things I’ve ever done. Even as I wrote though, I doubted the strength of some arguments, struggled to see my way to the end of some chapters, and had to draw on a lot of strength from those who loved me when I couldn’t find that well in myself. It’s hard.
It’s scary. it’s messy. It’s wonderful too, but…it’s a lot. As you are in the midst of all this, know I love you. I appreciate you. I believe in you (I love your writing). And I’m praying for you.
Thanks so much for sharing, Michael! That’s really encouraging, and congrats to you! Lots of hard work for sure! Keep me posted on your journey ahead- how exciting! I appreciate the prayers. God bless!
Thanks Amber. It’s great that you’re doing this. Writing a book is a worthwhile goal. Speaking as someone with experience and echoing the good advice of your husband, writing a book is a marathon and not a sprint. We must approach it that way. I remember reading something years ago in which a successful fiction writer said her goal was to write five good pages each day. I would say do the best you can, whatever works for you. Concentrate on the daily work at hand. We must be aware of the finish line, of course, because that’s the goal, but we should not focus on it. Be happy with whatever you accomplish at a time. You have much experience as a writer already. A book is actually just a collection of single pages with a common theme. We live one moment at a time, one day at a time. We can’t live a year in a day. Any well-written edifying book will take much work and much time but the effort should be enjoyable for the most part, which means we must limit stress and allow the writing to be a labor of love. Stay dedicated and you’ll get there.
Thank you for the encouragement, RJ! Yes, that marathon mindset is key. Thanks for the reminders and sharing your experience- much appreciated. It is a labor of love! God bless the rest of your week.
I love this: “A book is actually just a collection of single pages with a common theme”. So true! And seeing the project in this way, makes it a lot more manageable.
Thank you for the encouragement. Good luck on your writing journey!
May God empower you, give you endurance, help you to keep on keeping on, doing the work that He has for you to do. 🤍🙏🏾
This encourages me also, Amber as I am prayerfully considering writing a book also. Thank you!
Good for you, Petrina! You’d do great with it! I recommend attending some Christian writing conferences- great information and it’s important to connect with people. God bless!
Writing for the long haul is much more difficult than we imagine. And I think loss of direction and writer’s block are something we all experience. But one day the clouds will lift and it will be easy again. Honestly! Hold on to that : ) Are we allowed to know what the theme of the book is?
Thank you, and yes! I’m researching and writing on Biblical approaches & Jesus’ responses to toxic people.
A much needed subject to be writing on. It’s really great that you’re doing this !!!
Thank you for the encouragement!
Thank you so much! Great advice. God bless.