A Time to Plan, A Time to Harvest

The moment I hit the send button, I knew I’d fallen off the wagon; the wagon of planning and harvesting. Last week I sent out the same blog, “Move On, So God Can Use You” twice. I knew that it had been posted, but when I noticed it in the draft box of WordPress, I thought oops, I didn’t hit send. Yet, I had.

Then I realized I had not implemented or followed through with the advice I’d gathered over the last few months, if so I wouldn’t have skipped a week of posting or sent the same post twice. Proverbs 11:14 indicates that without good direction, people lose their way; the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances (The Message). And I try to seek good counsel that helps me continuously sharpen my saw, such as creating an18-month plan to pursue my career goals.

In Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, she suggests making an 18-month plan for your workplace goals. But I don’t have a permanent workplace, so my new skill as a writer, speaker, and adjunct lecturer is applying for grants, fellowships, and residencies. Nick Flynn, author of The Ticking is the Bomb, also recommended I apply to and accept as many invitations as possible.

This new skill requires planning and research. When I begin to research, I’m consumed. This can be good and bad. The good part: being invested in the project. The bad part: forgetting my other responsibilities and deadlines. In order to stay focused, I started, but did not complete, an editorial calendar for angchronicles, suggested by Michael Nichols’s grow on purpose. He suggests creating an editorial calendar to write consistently and regularly. If I’d followed through, I would not have sent that blog twice—can you tell I’m annoyed? More than annoyed, I’m convicted, according to Proverbs 15:22 “refuse good advice and watch your plans fail; take good counsel and watch them succeed.” I failed to set up an editorial calendar, and for the last few blog posts I’ve stayed up all night writing it. Ugh.

Another useful harvesting tool, I’ve acquired, but haven’t put into action is changing my writing habit. In Writer Unboxed it is suggested that if you are a slow writer, I am, then write drafts faster. For me this is not so easy. But to gather more crops, I have to speed up.

I’m planning to harvest advice, so my crops will be fruitful and ripe, not repetitive and stale. 

Do you have some helpful advice?

Today’s Prayer:

Father, Send us wise counsel, teach us to listen, and remain diligent as we plan, fail, plan, succeed, fail, and plan some more.

 

Day 28 of 33 Days of Prayer

Dear God, Living abundantly means finding your purpose for our life and letting you put a dream in our heart, then pursuing that dream. It means living our life to the fullest, not someone else’s. Lord, help us to reconnect with our desires if we’ve lost them, show us how to take the next step toward our dream, but most of all teach us to stop following those who induce stress, who are unkind, and insensitive to our goals. Amen.

prayer journey day 28 purpose

Midday inspiration

Wednesday afternoon juggling too many projects and answering too many interruptions. My fingers click across keyboard and cell phone keys, my head booms and my body stiffens. “I must get out of this chair,” is what I think, but do not do. I swapped my morning walk for an hour of research for a newly assigned article, due in less than 24 hours. Happy for the work; angry for missing my walk and skipping my 15 minute journal entry I continue to surf the internet.

An email fades into the corner of the screen. I hesitate. I click. I’m invited to explore South Bay Community Church audio files. (I’ve been corresponding with the director of the marketing department on a project.) I visit the website and click on media and then choose an audio file. “Why am I here?” Sure I can listen while I work.

The next 30 minutes, I’m mesmerized and awed as Rev. Long begins in a calm teachable tone, “Look beyond yourself. You can’t understand your purpose in life by starting with you.” I turn from the keyboard to my journal; I can feel seeds of tidbits coming my way.

Planting my pen to paper, “A creator creates things for her pleasure.” I think a chef cooks a meal to please a foodie’s palate; a novelist creates a story to entertain her audience. Rev. Long continues. “If God made us for His pleasure, what must we do to bring Him pleasure.? Establish a meaningful relationship with Him. Make an energetic use of your talents, gifts and skills for the best interest of the world.”

And then I smiled when he said, “God doesn’t care what I do but how I do what I do”…that brings God pleasure. To be fair, honest, have integrity for human kindness.

My midday inspiration helped me put a nagging question on the shelf, “What does God want from me?”

I don’t know about you, but there are times in the midst of all the busyness, I just want to stop. There are times in the midst of the chaos, I wonder “God are you watching me, do you see what’s happening here.” Yes He does, He created me for His pleasure not mine.