I’m tempted to sign off here, to end in the immortal words of Forrest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that,” but it occurs to me that a little more explanation may be required.
I’ve jumped at the opportunity to participate in a “blog hop.” This means that every other Monday for the next twelve weeks I will post here on a given, writing-related topic. I will then link this post to the blogs of a number of other writers also writing on the same topic the same day. This will give you the opportunity to hop from on to another to compare various viewpoints (click on “Writer’s Blog Hop” link in right column).
As you may have surmised, the topic for the first blog post is “What are your writing goals for 2014?”
When I read the first topic, I admit my initial response was to gulp. Goals? Should I have made a list of goals for the year that I need to strictly adhere to? Is this why I haven’t made it onto the New York Times Bestsellers List yet? I booted up my laptop and opened a fresh page, determined to forge this list destined to change my life and career immediately so that I would be able to share with my readers—and the readers of my fellow writers’ blogs—just where I see my “vision-casting” taking me over the next fifty weeks or so.
But then, as so often happens when I am staring at a blank screen, I froze. After several, unproductive minutes of this, I powered the laptop back down and closed the lid. This goal thing may require a little more thought than that, I decided.
And so I thought about it. And thought and thought and thought. And here is what slowly crystallized in my mind: Not only am I not sure I do have goals for my writing, I’m not completely convinced that I should have them.
As Ricky Ricardo would say, “Let me ‘splain.”
As important as being a writer is to me, what is far more important to me is being a follower of Jesus Christ. And as a Christian, I decided it might be a good idea for me to turn to the Bible to see what it has to say on the topic of goal-setting. What I found is that it has surprisingly little to say on the subject.
In fact, Ecclesiastes 5:7 says, “Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God” (Ecclesiastes 5:7).
There’s a goal I can get behind. Stand in awe of God. Do whatever it is you are called and gifted to do in order to further His kingdom. That’s it.
Now, I’ve been raised in the Oprah-Dr. Phil-Anthony Robbins generation; I’m as indoctrinated as the next person in the belief that I should set goals and have a vision and craft a mission statement for my life, my work, my family, and my future. As I pondered this topic, though, a suspicion began growing in my mind. The suspicion that maybe, as a Christian, I’m not actually meant to follow the Oprah-Dr. Phil-Anthony Robbins manifesto for how to live my life.
I’m not for a moment suggesting that God would prefer me to flounder about aimlessly with no clear direction on how to live my life. Just the opposite. His direction is crystal clear: whatever I do, do it all in the name and for the glory of the Lord. For me, at least, spending copious amounts of time making and doggedly pursuing lists of things I absolutely must do in 2014 in order to reach my goals and achieve my dreams in my life and writing career doesn’t necessarily make that direction any more clear. It may, in fact, distract me to the extent that I lose sight of that direction entirely.
So here, after much soul-searching and consideration, is the sum total of my writing goals for 2014:
I will write.
I will pray and seek the will of God for my writing—and for every other aspect of my life—and always, always be open to His leading and guiding, even if He takes me down paths I didn’t anticipate, foresee, or even desire.
I will pursue excellence in my writing, as though I were doing it for God, and not for other people (including agents, editors, reviewers or readers).
I will use the gift of writing that I have been given to glorify God in every possible way and at every possible opportunity.
And that, dear reader, is all I have to say about that.
Press on, my friends. Press on,