Day 31 – We Made it! (And What’s Next?)

Adobe Spark (3)

The past 30 days of this encouragement writing challenge has been a roller coaster ride! Three months ago, if you would have told me I’d write a blog, I would’ve laughed at you. Two months ago, if you would have told me I’d write blog posts for 30 days straight, I’d probably encourage you to get your head checked out. But now that the challenge is over, all I can say is God is good and I have learned so much about Him, about myself, and about all of you.

The 30 days were a challenge

If anyone invites you to participate in a 30 day challenge, think really hard before accepting. Pledging to do something for 30 days straight is no light task. This was indeed a challenge. There would be so many days when I’d arrived home from work, late, eyes half closed, only wanting to crawl into bed and sleep for days. And then I’d realize, “Oh no! I haven’t written a post today!” I’d roll over, turn the light on, find my laptop, turn it on, and wonder what in the world I would write about. But I pledged…so I’d put my hands on the keys, say a prayer in my heart…and God would always show up.

The 30 days were challenging

Not only was it a challenge to write every day, but it was challenging to write these particular blog posts.

Baring your soul ain’t no cakewalk. There were many times I wanted to write something easy, something light, something filled with sunshine and rainbows.

Something surface.

But when I attempted to stay above deep reality, no words ever came.  It’s only when I surrendered once again to the hard things, the deep things, the real things that the words poured out. I couldn’t hardly type fast enough to keep up with the word flow.

The 30 days were a blessing

The 30 days were a challenge.

And challenging.

But most of all they were a blessing.

This past month was so full of amazing support and love. You all truly came through and the fact that you took time out of your days to read something I wrote meant the world. I would be surprised every day when I woke up to a comment. Or I’d get a notification that someone “loved” the post on Facebook. Or you’d send me a text, or corner me at work, or shoot me an email sharing how that day’s post touched you/challenged you/comforted you. It was overwhelming and absolutely amazing.

And a special shout out to those who read every, single, post, every, single, day.

You are rock stars!

And then those who would share the post with others. I still can’t believe how God took this challenge and used it for His glory.

The challenge also showed me just how rich God’s word is and how deep one can dive into its riches. I would always be amazed when I’d run across a scripture it was like God blew it up into a neon sign that flashed and played alarms and spoke so clearly and so loudly because I had stopped to listen. I don’t know if you have ever experienced that with God’s word, but I did. Every single day.

Now what?

But the challenge is over.

(Woo hoo!)

Now what?

I have a feeling that there is still more…

More to write…

More to share…

More to bear…

More to bare…

More.

And here is where I would like your help.

Would you mind completing this short survey to let me know what YOU would like more of on this blog and from me? It should only take you 2-3 minutes.

SURVEY 🙂

Once again, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!

Challenge…COMPLETE!

Broken Baby Steps

Broken Baby Steps

I tried.

Really I did.

I even downloaded a “Habit Tracker” for my phone so I could track my baby steps.

15 Minutes a Day on my writing.

Great goal (in theory).

In practice…

I was close 🙂

3 days out of 7

Not perfect…but progress!

“Strive for progress not perfection” – Unknown

Meet Grace

During my progress I discovered a very important friend to have along on this journey: Grace. She’s awesome to have on your team! While trying to un-invite Irrational and Doubt, Grace showed up just when I needed her most.

Let me share a secret with you.

I’m a bit of a single-minded control freak at times.

Don’t tell anybody!

When I write something down on my “to-do” list, I will move heaven and earth to check it off. Even to the detriment of my own well being. I have made a decision to do something and by God I will do it!

That determination is good in some ways, but can be detrimental in other ways.

That’s when Grace is necessary.

During this past week, Life happened and my daily goal of 15 minute baby steps had to be halted temporarily. I physically and mentally had to take a break. My cousin tells me all the time that I have such a strong mind but my body doesn’t always get the memo. And he was so right this past week.

Grace let’s me know that its alright to pause and be good to myself. I’m not a failure when I need to take a break, press pause, and resume the next day.

Let me give you a few examples of gracious moments I had to offer myself:

  1. It was very important for me to realize that I would not produce a chapter in one week (ambitious, I know!). Whatever progress I made was more than I had before. And the progress I made was more than enough.
  2. Though I had a goal to post on the blog every Monday, this week, I am posting on Thursday. And that’s alright.

Let me say it again (so it can sink in): I am not a failure when I need to take a break and rest.

Maybe that should be my mantra for this week.

It’s OK to rest.

I recently read that it is easy to give Grace to others, but its not so easy to give Grace to ourselves.

You know what? I think that’s going to be my baby step this week. I originally said that my next step would be drafting Chapter 2. I may meet that goal. But the more important step for me to take this week is inviting Grace to take a seat beside me. Have her stay a while. Be gracious to myself and to others.

Will you join me?


How will you invite Grace into your life this week? Is there an area in your life that you have been striving and stressing over? Could you benefit from being Gracious to yourself this week and allowing yourself to rest?

 

So…How did it go?

How did it go?

Not bad at all!

To be honest, I sat down to take care of Baby Step #1 (Re-reading what I have written so far on the book I’m currently writing). And I did it :). To tell you the truth, reading isn’t that difficult for me. So Baby Step #1 was a cinch! I can read.

What did surprise me was the voice I heard when I read what I wrote (does that make any sense?). You see, for each type of writing, I have a slightly different voice. My poetry voice is slightly different from my prose voice. And come to find out my poetry and prose voices are slightly different from my voice when writing a biblical commentary.

I guess the cat’s out of the bag.

My new book is a biblical commentary.

Nope, I couldn’t have started off with something a bit smaller.

You see, I was called to write this book.

But more on that later (keep an eye out for a future post on this “calling” thang).

Back to my weird writing voice.

Not weird, so much. Just new. I am a Sunday School and Vacation Bible School teacher, so I’ve written notes about biblical passages and such, but never anything like this. This is new, uncharted territory.

And its scary.

But I had to remember…Irrational and Doubt were not invited to this reading party, so they had to take a back seat and hush.

Baby Step #1 also showed me I was farther along in the book writing process than I had remembered. I had already completed a draft of Chapter One. Woo hoo! Go Previous Writing Tiff!

But now I had to face the facts that I had made a vow to take two Baby Steps this past week. It was time to “Sit My Butt in a Chair and Write Something”(the mantra of the week).

I procrastinated.

I ain’t even going to lie.

I put off Baby Step #2 until the very last moment.

Like 15 minutes ago, last moment.

And…

I came to the realization I can’t just sit and write with this book.

I need to read.

And think.

And process.

And write notes.

And read the passages again.

And again.

And update my notes.

And ponder.

And pray.

And read.

And…

Well, you get the picture.

Writing, actually putting words together, to convey, something, to someone, will take…

Time.

Hm.

What a revelation, huh?

Writing…takes…time.

But, I sat down for 15 minutes and began.

Baby Step #2

Complete (in its own way)

What’s Baby Step #3 you may ask?

Are you ready?

It’s spending 15 minutes a day this week on the book.

Not writing, but continuing to go through the process outlined above.

Each day will be a Baby Step…15 minutes long.

I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂


How was your week? Were you able to take baby steps towards your dream/goal/project? And when you were taking that step, did you have to confront Irrational or Doubt? What did you do? I’d love to hear from you!