This year I am trying to commit to doing things that I think are important for my own personal well-being. Being a mother of two busy boys and one adult son who is preparing for college, and homeschooling makes life very busy. Being a mother who has always put everyone’s needs before her own, it is difficult to consider my needs important enough to allow time to take care of me on a daily basis.
Last September, I had a wake up call that caused me to make, not only and effort, but a commitment to take care of me. Last September, I had to wake my husband and have him take me to the emergency room because of severe pain in the middle of my chest that shot straight through to the center of my back and into my right shoulder. I was frightened, worried that I might be having a heart attack. After spending about eight hours in the E.R., I was relieved and thankful to find out it wasn’t my heart, but I was diagnosed with gall stones, and in order to avoid repeating this awful pain, I needed to change my eating habits. (Also after a follow up appointment with a specialist, they made an appointment for me to see a surgeon to have my gall bladder removed.) That never happened. I found a naturopathic doctor instead, and what a blessing! She has me on several whole food supplements and gave me a plan for eating healthy that would not aggravate my gall bladder, and it was the first healthy eating plan that I have found easy to follow and stick to, and I have been doing well since then. So, pain motivated me to commit to taking care of myself physically, and now that the weather is getting warmer, my plan is to commit to walking my dog at least three times a week as well.
What about my other needs? My need to feed my brain and my need to write. My need to feed my brain is filled by having time to read, so I have committed to reading every night before bed. This has been a blessing in three ways: 1) it feeds my brain with knowledge and entertainment; 2) it allows me to examine other writers’ works to see what is selling; 3) it relaxes me and helps me to sleep. Finally, my need to write, and for me it is a need. I find if I do not write, I get frustrated and short-tempered and feel like I could burst because I have story ideas and characters in my head that really need to get out. I have been blessed by a supportive family in this endeavor, as well as the others listed above, in that they encourage me to write. I have been a member of a local writers’ group for a little over a year now that meets monthly, and I rarely miss a meeting. They also have a one-day writers’ conference in the Spring and I attended last year and am already registered for this year. Any other one-day writers’ conferences or workshops that I find happening withing a reasonable driving distance, my family encourages me to attend, and I do. I also committed to writing this blog, not quite a year ago, and this year I am doing my best to commit to posting three times a week, though I don’t always succeed. I have recently committed to writing for two hours every evening and I have been blessed to be able to be faithful much more than not in this endeavor. I am also committed to connecting with other writers/authors, both published and unpublished because it is an encouragement and inspiration to me to get to know them and to learn from them.
Finally, this morning, I made another commitment that I should have made a very long time ago, and that is I committed to starting each day, Monday through Saturday, in devotion with the Lord. Sundays I won’t have time to do this as we will I will be busy helping everyone get ready to get out the door for Sunday school and church where I will meet with the Lord on His holy sabbath each week. This is huge because this fills my most important need; my eternal need; my spiritual need. The first devotion/Bible study book I have decided to go through in my morning times with the Lord is Write His Answer by Marlene Bagnull because not only will this provide nourishment for my spiritual need, but will help me and encourage me in my writing, something I believe God has given me to do.
This morning I learned that “Writing requires patience”: patience in doing the writing, patience in editing the writing, patience in receiving feedback on the writing, patience in waiting to hear back from the magazine or publisher or whomever I submit my work to, and patience to keep trying when my writing is rejected over and over and over again, all the while trusting in the Lord. The two verses that the Lord impressed upon me this morning are:
“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.”
These verses tell me that I need to seek God’s plan for my writing and set specific and measurable goals and to give myself and my writing time to develop.
How about you? Are you taking care of yourself? Have you learned to seek God’s plan for your writing and have you learned to be patient — to give yourself and your writing time to develop?