Saturday, November 30, 2013

Victory! (It isn’t what you think, Kathryn.)

I made the decision to post a daily blog during the month of November because I was challenged to do so by a daughter who came by her competitiveness naturally. It seemed like a dare I couldn’t refuse. I doubt if even the loving daughter who threw down the gauntlet expected me to make it. I know I didn’t!

Today, the last day of November, I am declaring victory! This is no easy win over the daughter who made it a competition. Ignore the fact that her loving older brother suggested I post a double columned chart of days with links to our respective published blogs. It would have been tempting to call her out using a graphic reminder that I wrote more often than this mother of three, but it would miss the point.

The victory I declare this evening is not a win over the efforts of another person. This victory is personal and internal, and so I share with you, in no particular order, what makes this a triumph and ten things I learned in the process.
  1. I really did finish what I started. This is no small task for a woman who is the Princess of Half-Completed Projects. If you doubt this about me, I can show you two nearly finished quilts in a drawer that accuse me regularly. They are the matching comforters I began when my now middle-aged sons were 3 and 5.
  2. I discovered I have more control over my time than I thought possible. I kept my commitment to write for one hour every day. This was an average. Some blogs were written more quickly. Some took hours. One was the result of weeks of thinking before the writing began. But in the end, I squeezed out the time. My world did not come to a dreadful end, as I had feared.
  3. I learned that I could have a small, but potentially meaningful impact on people. This surprised me more than you might think. I accepted the writing challenge in order to stimulate my own thinking--and because I thought it was a dare. I wrote for the discipline of writing without much thought for the audience. (I know that one of the first rules of writing is to think of your audience, but I didn't know I would have an audience.) I was blindsided by the blessing it proved to be for a few faithful followers.
  4. I discovered how small our world is. I learned I could have a global impact from a colloquial environment. I wrote the blog from at least four different American cities and discovered that people from at least 10 countries were reading my words.
  5. I learned that every day has it's own beauty. Someone told me what she liked best about my entries was my ability to see the unique in the ordinary. Thinking through the meaning of my days in order to blog about them painted my hours with richness I had not foreseen.  
  6. I experienced first hand the writer’s mantra that good writing is less inspiration than perspiration. For many years, I only wrote when an inspiring idea coincided with enough time to put it in writing. When I made the commitment to write daily, I assumed God would magically give me 30 insightful moments worthy of sharing. This was not the case. Instead, on most days, I began writing without the ‘aha’ moment in mind, only to discover a spiritual truth showed up before I reached a conclusion.
  7. I learned to reassess how I spend my time. I couldn’t give up an hour and not have it make an impact somewhere. I made room for a new hour in every day by giving up less productive pursuits—one that I am now free to devote to other worthy endeavors.
  8. I learned new boldness in talking about my faith. At first when I realized other people where following my blogs, I wanted to demonstrate I had things to communicate on many subjects. I didn't want to put people off by too much God-talk or have them write me off as having religious OCD. I discovered I couldn't write apart from the reality of who I am—that I do not have a story to tell that doesn’t include the reality of the eternal life within.
  9. I concluded that my best blogs were the ones I wrote about other people who have touched my life. They brought a triple dose of joy. They blessed those about whom I wrote, blessed their friends who read the stories and blessed me as I remembered them.
  10. I discovered that my mind was clearer when I emptied it once a day through writing. Blogging proved to be a workout routine for an undisciplined brain. I’d like to hope it improved my ability to think, giving me a mind unhindered by the fanciful, free-floating words that have so often hijacked my train of thought.

Day 30. I’m done. A month of daily blogging is at an end. On a daily basis it was a difficult experience. In retrospect, it was an enriching one. I have loved doing it, but I don't know where to go from here.

What I do know, and in this I have confidence, that whatever work God is doing in and through me for his glory will continue by his hand, in his time and according to his will.

And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you. (Philippians 1:6 Amplified Bible)