I just finished packing up all the Christmas décor that had been filling our home with warmth and sparkle the past few months. With everything put away, the house feels fresh and ready for the new year. I am wondering if the same is true for me. As I carefully put everything where it belonged, I thought about 2023—the highs, lows, wins and losses. Had I packed up last year’s disappointments? If I haven’t, those things could inhibit me moving forward in 2024. I am wondering the same for you.
All writers face times of uncertainty, and often voices of doubt cause us to question our goals,“What was I thinking?” “ I will never get a contract,” “perhaps my better days are over, and I need to quit,” “I have a small platform and little influence, who do I think I am trying to get a publisher’s attention?” “Can I face another rejection?”
The writer’s life is not for the faint of heart, and yet with expectations running high and rejections in the rear view mirror, some of us may need to put last year and its experiences away in order to begin a fresh new year. Many of you worked on proposals that have yet to have an outcome or answer. Others may be pushing yourself to new ideas and new projects. Still, some with outlines in place are stuck in the pit of writers’ block. Perhaps what we need is that proverbial clean slate and a new hope in God directing our steps as writers.
Can we embrace the fact that our timing never seems to match God’s? Can we, together, put away the expectations from last year and start over once again? I think we can. Here are some ideas to help us all begin anew in the area of ministry, calling, writing and trusting God with our publishing and ministry dreams.
Five things to move us forward in this new year:
- Positioning ourselves close to God
- Paying attention to our thoughts and ponderings
- Persevering prayer
- Determination to trust God with our writing dreams
- A spiritual battle plan
Positioning ourselves close to God—Intimacy with God is the best shield to stand against limiting beliefs, doubts and discouragement. One area to pay attention to is our current relationships with other people. We can distance ourselves from God by holding offense against others. If some relational turmoil is in the rear-view mirror of 2023, ask God to open your heart to forgiving and letting go of offense. Having open hearts enables us to hear God more clearly.
Paying attention to our thoughts and ponderings—Ask God to help you be aware of your thoughts and to quiet yourself in order to focus on God. The last thing Satan wants is for us to tune into what God is speaking to us. Satan would love to keep us confused and distracted. Knowing this, ask the Lord to remove all confusion, distraction or any double-mindedness.
Persevering prayer—Staying connected to God through prayer is a necessity for the Christian writer. Prayer isn’t just talking to God but listening. God loves to hear our prayers and will answer our prayers according to his greater plan. Expect him to answer your prayers this year and don’t be shy to have some of the same requests on repeat as you continually knock on the door of Faith.
Determination to trust God with our writing dreams—The writer’s life is filled with times of frustration. Writers’ block and/or lack of publishing opportunity can cause some to give up. If you have had frustrations or disappointments in 2023 regarding your writing, lay those aside now. It’s a new year, and you can be determined to enter in with fresh hope. Ask God to give you a steadfast spirit toward your call to write.
Moving forward often includes asking for help when necessary. You don’t have to be a super hero writer but may need to find help with the craft. Perhaps this is the year you hire an editor, a writing coach or take writing classes. Continuing to improve and steward the gifts God has given us is an important part of leaving the past while preparing for the future.
Spiritual battle plan— Building a writing life requires daily yielding to the Holy Spirit. Writers are often attacked by lies that become limiting beliefs. What lies tend to be on repeat? Identifying the lies is half the battle, and overcoming the lie using Scripture and Biblical references can become the key to staying in the game and having victory this year.
In light of all our discouraging thoughts and disappointments, it is possible to stay the course and answer God’s call on our lives to write. Let’s pray, claim and repeat the following verse this year as a prayer of faith in who God is and the MORE, He can accomplish in us and through us.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20 NIV
“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” Ephesians 3:20 MSG
May we all pack up the past disappointments as we expect more from God anew this year.
Happy New Year!