Out With the Old, Part One

The day after Christmas, Jason and I decided to try to clean up from the holiday mess.  Gifts, boxes, wrapping and so much else covered every surface in our home.  Yes, a good, thorough cleaning was what we needed and what we intended.  However, we weren't very far into the cleaning when we decided to do some rearranging.  "After all," we reasoned, "everything is already a mess.  Why not make these changes that we've been wanting to make for a while now?"  Big, big mistake.  At the time of this typing (an entire week later), I'm still trying to get things back in order.  I'm happy with the changes, but I'm not happy with all the trouble involved in making them.  Good grief!

The worst of the changes was our decision to move our two huge bookcases into my office.  The process involved removing every book and all the other "stuff" that had collected on the bottom shelves of each bookcase.  It was a chore, and of course, it became even more of a process when I insisted on going through all the junk that had accumulated over the years.

The first of the "junk shelves" I tackled was filled to overflowing with notebooks of every shape, size and color.  As I worked my way through the pile, I discovered that each of the notebooks contained information about the craft of writing.  My mind drifted back to the beginning of my writing career when I printed off and purchased anything I could get my hands on to better learn and understand what I had gotten myself into.  What broke my heart, however, is that the majority of the information had nothing to do with the type of writing I do.  There were several books on copywriting.  There was information about writing short reports.  I found pages and pages on using PLR articles to make money on the web.

I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't always followed the writing path that the Lord set before me.  From the beginning, I had a good idea what He wanted me to write, but I struggled.  That type of writing didn't sell books and didn't bring in the kind of income I wanted.  I wanted to be successful.  I wanted to be wealthy.  I wanted to be able to work four hours a day and still bring in a six-figure income.  Other writers were doing, so why couldn't I?  And so, I tried one avenue after another.  And I failed time and time again.  With each failure, I grew more discouraged and questioned my calling to write.  As I look back, I just want to thump myself in the head and shout, "Dana, you idiot, it's not the writing that's the problem.  It's what type of writing you're trying to do."

As I tossed piles and piles of information in the garbage can, I realized that I had spent a boatload of time, money and energy trying to be something I'm not, someone I'm not.  I was trying to be a copywriter, but who am I kidding?  I couldn't sell a glass of water to a man in the desert.  I was trying to be an online freelancer, but that was not what God had called me to be.  Yes, as I sifted through the papers, my heart was filled with regret.  So much time wasted!  So much money wasted!  So much energy and effort wasted!  By the time I was finished with that one shelf, I wanted nothing more than to curl up in a ball and have a good cry.

But then I remembered the verse that's been on my mind and heart since the holidays.  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)  What glorious advice!  Forgetting those things which are behind.  Yes, I've made some mistakes.  Yes, I've been know to lose my way.  Yes, I've wasted the precious resources that God has entrusted to me.  But today is a new day!  There is nothing I can do about the mistakes of yesterday except to learn from them.  Armed with that knowledge, I am to press forward.  Forward, not back.  Go on.  Get busy.  Stop wasting even more time with regret of the past and get busy building a future.  I can't do anything about yesterday, but I can certainly do something about today.  Out with the old, and in with the new.  Let's do it!