Determined. Oxford Languages defines this as: “having made a firm decision and being resolved not to change it.”
I’ve had to do that lately. As I sat waiting for a Zoom meeting this morning, I mused over how badly I want to get more use out of this blog. It was a thought that had already occurred to me once today, and I had to ask myself what was really holding me back. Fears, busy-ness, feeling like I have nothing to say that hasn’t already been said (check out this post for encouragement when you wrestle with the same thoughts!)
Still, why not? Plenty of people keep them. And sometimes, perhaps with a frequency we’ll never know, they hit their mark. Stats don’t keep track of things like that. It was with that confidence that I determined to set aside some of those fears and get my thoughts out there. And today, those thoughts are further along the lines of determination.
Determination, for a person who has a history of giving up when things get tough. It is a quality I’ve had to begin to develop. It doesn’t come naturally.
Let’s talk about the upcoming, second book of the GMU Series. I love this book already. Rather than my excitement having waned over the last year as I waited for the moment I’d finally be able to begin working on it in earnest, that enthusiasm only increased. The story has been written into my heart slowly but steadily since last May, and I am thrilled as I see it taking shape in words. That said, there are many days that I just don’t feel like I have a lot to write, or I’m afraid that since I’m still learning about the historical aspects of the book, I should hold off on writing until I’ve grasped them more solidly. (Of course, I do strive for historical accuracy in my writing, but there is plenty to be written that does not require specifics and can be explored intermittently with portions of the book which do require more research!)
Only once as I was working on Sani did I truly experience writer’s block, and it was in bringing together the ending of the book (which I’d already written) with the first three quarters of it. I think God gave me an extra measure of grace because He knew how easily I’ve given up on things over the course of my life. This time, though, it’s about determining to get it done whether I think the words are there or not. A new step of faith I wasn’t ready for a year ago. More often than not, when I sit down and do that, the words come.
I’ve also realized how far I’ve slipped out of spending regular, valuable time in God’s Word. Of course I read a few verses daily, and have worked more or less diligently through my Community Bible Study homework this year, but there was a sweetness I remember to the time spent with the Lord last year that has eluded me more recently.
So a few days ago I determined to sit down with my Bible, notebook, pen and a few other resources to really dig in again. No, I am not in a place where I spend hours in in-depth Bible study. But rather than give a few verses a cursory reading, and rather than read at length only to have it go in one ear and out the other, I can take those few verses and dig into the words, pray about what they have to say to me, and talk to God about what questions I have. Quality time.
I have no doubt that I will continue to be challenged on the things I’ve determined to improve in my life. We all joke about how our New Years Resolutions are good until the end of January. And life gets in the way all year long. It so happens I tested positive for Covid this week, so naturally my brain is foggy and all I want to do is veg. Still, all the more reason to try to form a habit now and stick to it. I remember when I began homeschooling: it was a struggle to get into a routine, but all of a sudden, at some point, I realized that we had established a routine. The long-awaited fruit of tenacity.
Is there a quality or character trait you lack, which you feel it’s time to develop in your life? Something that might help further your God-given goals, or perhaps begin to set a goal towards a desire He’s given you?