For someone who considers herself a writer (I do. I am.) it amuses me and surprises others when I announce, if asked, that I’m not interested in writing a book. Well except maybe my memoir–isn’t everyone writing a memoir?
But writing an actual book? No. I know how much time and effort goes into such an endeavor–why would I opt for that?
Except that well, maybe I am. The book idea literally dropped into my brain the other night after the long ride home from a Christmas visit to my son’s. I had a few Deep Thoughts while traveling in the car, a reflective time of our four days together, but I had no idea my thoughts would turn into anything. When I sat down to download my thoughts on paper I ended up with an outline, chapter sections, an introduction and marketing plan.
I’m sure every author starts in such an inspired fashion. Of course the hard part, the seemingly impossible part, is to finish the job with the perspiration part, to misquote Einstein.
But this post is not about the book idea but the idea of a book. Those are two different things.
For everything we do begins with an idea. And it’s the DOING that sometimes keeps us from even beginning.
Our pastor’s message last Sunday was about Nehemiah’s rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. Prodded by a broken heart for the condition of God’s city, Nehemiah asked for permission from the King to return to Judah and assess the situation. He began the task alone under cover of dark, surveying the project and noting what needed to be done.
After Nehemiah gathered the information, he returned to the King and asked to begin the work. Permission was granted; Nehemiah solicited help and commenced building, stone by stone, day by day. And 52 days later they were done.
The point of the message: Start Small. Start Now.
Perhaps the progress you seek will take more than 52 days; it may be more like 52 weeks. Life changing work usually takes little lifetimes. But that shouldn’t frighten you from taking the first step.
What is your small step?
As I scribbled these notes in my journal, I couldn’t help think about the observance of Epiphany on January 6th. Epiphany is an ancient feast day still celebrated by many that marks the Magi’s visit to the Christ Child. When God began His world-changing, bigger-than-life plan, he sent a baby.
Then the baby grew up to become the reference point for every other part of history–we mark our lives in time because of Jesus’ birth.
Even Jesus started small; his band of brothers was only a dozen men, disciples whom he faithfully ministered to day by day, word by word, walk by dusty walk. He never questioned His Father’s ability to accomplish what He promised, he simply chatted with children, ate a meal with those who welcomed him, went fishing with friends.
Oh, and walked the way to the Cross.
Our little lives will never lead us to die on a cross, but we are all being called to die in some way. Die to our own ideas and listen to the Father’s direction for us alone. To ignore the naysayers who come along to discourage and distract us. To keep our eyes towards our task instead of looking at the size of what we want to accomplish.
There is always something to lay down, die to, step away from, put off–you fill in the blank–so that we can pick up something else.
Do you want to write a book? Lay down your insecurity and start journaling every day.
Is there a relationship that needs mending? Leave your fear behind and begin with a phone call.
Interested in being healthier this year? Put aside your self-doubt, get up off the couch and go for a walk.
With the beginning of this new year, perhaps the best way to make a new start is to sit in the quiet (or the dark) and just look and listen, then ask, “God, is this from you?”
Assess what you think you’re hearing–“It looks like this is what I think needs to be done.”
Then when the task looks overwhelming, remember to ask for help, “Father, without you by my side, this will never be done. I’m laying down what’s in my hand and picking up this small stone instead.”
And then begin.