My December blog post at IR is up!
Did you get everything done this year? How did it go? What does “everything” mean to you?
Every year’s end, there seems to be a rush to make new year resolutions that run the gamut from exercising and dieting to being more productive and self-confident to whatever is cool and hot. I find it ironic that not making any new year’s resolutions is also a thing. Then again, if you don’t have goals, how do you know if you’ve reached any?
To me, getting everything done is a two-edged sword. On the one hand, it could mean that I complete my checklist for the year. If that is the case, let there not be something amiss, right? If “everything” means everything that God wants me to do, that’s one thing. If it means only what I myself want to do, regardless, then I have a lot to answer for regarding God’s perfect will for my life.
Ideally, “everything done” should mean what God wants me to do rather than only what I want. If what I want intersects with what God wants for me, then that’s a wonderful thing.
We’ve all heard of these adages, haven’t we?
- If you’re too busy for God, you’re too busy.
- If you’re too busy to pray, you’re too busy.
- If you’re too busy to spend time with your family, you’re too busy.
In the midst of the great chaos of 2021, I was surprised I wrote two new books at all. I wrote one book through the hard work of packing up thirty-plus years of stuff to prepare for the downsizing of our family home. I wrote another book while experiencing the grief of losing two friends and then unexpectedly catching COVID myself.
In the end, the year 2021 found me rereleasing one book, writing two new books, and revising three second editions of previously published novels.
When I heard that some of my author friends have published 24 or 48 books in 2021, I cheered them on. I congratulated them. I think it’s wonderful that they had the time and wherewithal to write so many books this year. We all have different lives and different capacities for achieving things. Some of my books took me ten years to write, some took ten months to revise, some took ten weeks to think about, and yes, some took me ten days to draft. There, but for the grace of God, go I.
In my 2021 process, I learned many things about God. Among all the important spiritual nuggets such as trusting God and waiting for Him, I also reminded myself about some basic fundamental Christian things. Here is what I told my newsletter subscribers a few weeks ago:
Even though I only published two new books this year (compared to last year’s four), I know that God is still sovereign. Praise the Lord. I am grateful to Him for everything. One of the many things I learned in this turbulent year is this: I am still saved in Jesus Christ regardless of what I achieve or don’t achieve, write or don’t write, pursue or don’t pursue. My salvation is secure in Christ. Therefore, I can go forth with peace in my heart.
What about you? Did you accomplish everything you set out to do in 2021? What is your assessment of it? Did you learn something new about God in the process?
The next time I blog, it will be in 2022 A.D., so until then, I wish you a Happy and Blessed New Year!
Some of my replies to readers’ comments:
Yes, indeed re: health. I hear you about exhaustion. Over the Christmas weekend, we had to drive two vehicles some 1100 miles (1770 km) round trip to visit grandma and bring our cat home. Two vehicles bc the pet crate is so big it filled up one vehicle, so my husband had to drive the other vehicle with our son and all our luggage in it. Each way takes me 8-10 hours to drive, depending on how many stops I make and what traffic jams there are on the highway. The more stops I make, the more delays. The fewer stops, the more exhausted I become driving such long distance on the road. So it’s difficult either way. I drove there on Friday, and drove back on Sunday, with Christmas Day as my day of rest. Thankfully our Christmas meal was simple and sweet. And Thank God the cat only whined for two of the ten hours, but the drive home was super long because there were multiple wrecks on the highway and the GPS kept sending me on detours through cities and small towns I’ve never been to before (read: impromptu book research trips LOL).Jan Thompson
Now that being a novelist is my main job, I have to be careful not to let non-writing things exhaust me. Mentally and emotionally spent, I will be certainly unable to write. I have to factor in non-pecuniary costs, such as HEALTH, as you and I discussed here. I’ve heard of enough stories of people who worked all their lives (in whatever profession), finally retired, and then spent way too much time at the doctor’s. Then again, I thank God for my doctors, who helped me survive COVID and a non-COVID viral flu plus my allergies this year!
God is good all the time. I hear you! I wanted to write more books this year too (something like half a dozen planned), and yet… Oh well. I’ve learned to let things go, but yes, I do a lot of forensics each year too. I think for 2022, I will start to evaluate at the end of every month instead of quarterly or bi-annually or yearly. Do you have small children at home? When my son was young at home, it literally took me 10 years to write one of my novels. My most productive years was when he was in a local homeschool high school academy, where my only job as homeschool mom, besides driving the teenager around, was to proctor tests and teach two classes instead of six or seven! Now that I am an empty nester, I am surprised at my lack of TIME to sit down and write a book. You’d think I’d have more time HAHA. I’m praying for 2022 that God’s perfect will would prevail. However many or few books He wants me to write, that’s my happy place.Jan Thompson