Tag: commitment

Great Expectations

2018 is the year of EXPECTATION.

I often choose a word or a phrase each year as a motivational tool to help keep me on track and this one came to me way back in October and has been reaffirmed several times through various means.

Psalm 62:5 says, My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my EXPECTATION is from Him. (KJV)

The word expectation means the act of anticipation – looking forward to something. It also has to do with probability and the likelihood that something will occur. God has birthed in me many expectations for my family, my personal wellbeing, and my desires. I am expecting God to deliver on His promises this year! At first glance this might sound selfish.

Godly expectation is not about getting stuff, however. In fact, it is quite the opposite.

Expectation is about FAITH – believing God’s promises even when I don’t yet see the evidence of their fulfillment. Expectation is about TRUST as I allow God to work out the details and timing in ways that don’t always make sense to me.  Expectation is about SURRENDER – the act of intentionally laying each area of my life at Jesus feet, be it physical, mental or emotional. It’s giving up my ‘rights’ to each person, idea, or desire and putting faith and trust into action.

Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.” This is what the word expectation means to me for 2018. The past year, 2017, was a year of tremendous growth for me, although there were many trials physically and within my family. My word for 2017 was ‘Accountability’ and I feel God really took me to task in making me accountable to Him for my faith. It was a year of great change, much of which was painful, but which has brought about much fruit. The groundwork has been laid. Like Joshua and the children of Israel, I sense God’s call to move forward in 2018. To ADVANCE, as it were, into the promised land, with the EXPECTATION that He has great things in store.

“For the vision is yet for an appointed time; at the end it shall speak and not lie. though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come. It will not tarry.” Habakkuk 2:3 (KJV)

A Surprising Gift for Christmas

Christmas…

Excited children, twinkling lights, the smell of fresh baking…

Sweat pooling under the armpits as you  trudge on the treadmill…

RECORD SCRATCH

Okay, maybe that’s not what comes to mind for most people when they think about Christmas. But this year, it’s been part of my ‘MO’ for quite awhile now.

I’ve been faithfully attending cardiac rehabilitation for almost ten weeks now. My last session is on December 22 – just in time for Christmas. I started going back at the end of August but had some ‘setbacks’ (namely two trips to the emergency ward and more time in hospital) so ‘restarted’ in October. Since the program is not available in my community, I have been driving almost two hours one way to attend in Fort St John. Fortunately, I have three children who live there, so I’ve invited myself to stay over most weeks, and have been spending a lot of time with the grandkids. I sometimes feel as if I should just move permanently!

Kidding, of course. I am amazed at how much stronger I feel. What a gift! I jokingly say I haven’t felt this physically fit for years.

Most of all, I am grateful for the gift of life. Near death experiences will do that to you. For those that don’t know, I had a heart attack in May of this year and then had to have triple bypass surgery. Many people shrug when they hear those words – bypass surgery. It is a common procedure these days and most people know someone who has gone through it. No biggy, right?

For those of us who have experienced it, let me just say, I hope to never have to go through that again. Having your chest cut wide open and having your heart stopped so that it can be operated on, is a bit disconcerting, to say the least, no matter how ‘common’ it might be! The months of painful recovery are no picnic either. It’s why I am so amazed by the fact that I can sustain a ninety minute work-out that actually makes me sweat.

Reasonably good health is a gift not to be taken for granted. It’s the one I’m most grateful for this Christmas.

Getting Better at Telling Lies

I couldn’t help the reference to a book I read over the holidays called Telling Lies For Fun and Profit by Lawrence Block. It made me think about amping up my own productivity this year. Not that last year was a total dud. I did manage to republish my NEIGHBOURS Series, and I did a lot in terms of revamping my website. (Attested by the fact that I am posting here in the first place.) Other than that, many of my best laid plans went by the wayside.

I’m a person who enjoys setting goals, and I usually do it a couple of times a year. New year’s is the obvious one, but I also tend to re-strategize before summer hits and then again in the fall. Sometimes my goals are vague, more like ‘suggestions’ than anything specific or measurable. Sometimes they are quite detailed, which often then leads to more restructuring when I don’t meet my deadlines.

This year I’ve decided on the ‘one word’ theme, something I’ve tried in the past with marginal success. However, I have faith that this year will be different. Why? Well, the word I’ve chosen will help answer that question, I think. The word is ACCOUNTABILITY.

I’ve thought about it long and hard and this is the word that keeps cropping up. I want to become more accountable for my time, more accountable for following through with my goals, and more accountable for all the unfinished ‘business’ that I want to move into the finished column this year.

I have found in the past that I work well under pressure or when faced with deadlines. Somehow I manage to get things done. Contrast that with not having deadlines, and I find I can just as easily fritter away the hours watching mindless TV. (A terrible motivation suck!) But its time I became accountable for my own actions,

So, here’s to a year of ACCOUNTABILITY. I’ll let you know how I fare… 

Read my review of Telling Lies For Fun and Profit on amazon.

Faithful to the Call

 

The words of Habakkuk Chapter Two resonate in the ears of many Christian writers I know – including me:

I will stand at my watch
and station myself on the ramparts;
I will look to see what He will say to me,
and what answer I am to give to this complaint.
Write down the revelation
and make it plain on tablets
so that a herald may run with it. (NIV)

words-on-typew

This passage is clearly about the calling that many feel to write. And yes, I believe this applies to fiction writers, too. The fact that God uses story to reach people is well documented. After all, Jesus himself used parables to get his message across.

Stories are a powerful tool in the hands of a skilled writer and can influence and impact long after the entertainment factor has worn off. Take for instance Frank Peretti’s iconic This Present Darkness. It continues to be a spiritual warrior’s call to action, even after almost thirty years. (Apparently a revised edition came out in 2003. I still have the original 1980s version…) Other authors like C.S. Lewis, Francine Rivers, and others come to mind as weavers of stories that have had a lasting and profound impact on a spiritual level.

I don’t presume to lump myself in with such glowing examples, but I have been blessed to receive feedback from readers telling me my work affected them in a positive way. I love to tell stories of redemption and grace based on characters that are less than squeaky clean, but whom God uses anyway. I think people appreciate the fact that God keeps short accounts when we come to faith in Christ. There is hope for everyone – even the most unlikely.

Keep on writing faithfully, my dear friends, both here and in the other things God has laid on your heart. It is a high calling not to be taken lightly.

This article was originally posted on the Word Guild blog Canadian Writers Who Are Christian on September 27, 2015. 

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