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As 2020 comes to a close I’ve been down on myself. Looking at my goals from this year and not really being able to cross anything off the list brings feelings of disappointment and failure. I know this year was hard for pretty much everyone on planet Earth so there is that. But in a lot of ways, I feel like I’ve used it as an excuse. After all my world didn’t change a whole lot. A quarantined life is mostly just everyday life for me, that’s an introvert’s way.
Always Out of Reach
Somewhere along the way of surviving anxiety, financial struggles, and family issues, it seems I lost momentum. Everything, and I do mean everything, began to seem out of reach. Too hard, too overwhelming, without even knowing where to begin, I just…didn’t.
I really don’t want to chalk it all up to the “C” word, although that was definitely a contributing factor to the added stress in our home this year. My toddler slowly dropping naps throughout the year is a pretty big deal when you’re dying for that alone time to have one uninterrupted thought. I’ve struggled to find a new writing time.
It’s Still Dark Outside
I hear so many writers talk about getting up at 4 am to get their most important tasks done in solitude. I’m trying to get to a point where that doesn’t sound like utter punishment to me. I tried for a short time. Really, I did. I thought I’d ease myself into it by first setting an alarm for 5:15.
One time, I stood in my pitch-black one-level house in what felt like the dead of the night wondering what to do first. I’m not a coffee drinker so I couldn’t depend on that to get me going. It seemed like a good way to start the day would be with the word of God, but how? I need light to see. I resorted to a book light a couple of times, other times, I would just go straight to the computer to get some writing done, but more often, with any movement, noise, or light, my toddler was right by my side in a matter of seconds.
It felt like defeat, defeat that I wasn’t ready to fight through. Sometimes I write at night but to be honest, after a long day of cleaning, cooking and playing, and managing everything under the sun, my brain is on the fritz and I delight in pouring myself on the couch and losing myself in a show while struggling to keep my eyes open.
I Missed the Super-Powered Hand-outs
While watching tv sometimes I peruse through Instagram and find myself feeling more defeated. There are moms (influencers, bloggers, writers,) out there doing All. The. Things! Some of them have day jobs but you’d never know it from their podcast dropping, market pushing, course creation, homeschool teaching, product making, merch selling, book launching, college course attending, website design super-powered lives.
My Failed Goals
Here are some of my well-intentioned goals I set out to accomplish at the beginning of the year:
- Reach 100 posts on the blog – I currently stand at 78
- My first book completely finished unedited – nope 10,000 words in and completely rethinking the whole angle and genre.
- Get essays/stories published on 3-5 popular sites – umm, I think it was just one.
- Make a side income from freelance writing – still don’t even know how to find time to attempt that one.
- Add hire me page and resource page to my website – not even on the radar anymore.
When I wrote these it all seemed super realistic. I mean this isn’t even a fraction of what some women are able to accomplish in a year.
Now here we are at the end of these 12 months and on paper, I look like I have failed. However, with much reflection, I have been enlightened to see things from a different angle. I truly believe God did that for me. One evening while trying to decompress in the bath, with a moment of solitude He was able to bring to mind things I never asked for that had come to pass.
I instantly felt a sense of awe and gratitude. It is astounding what God will do when we are busy looking one way, he comes in from the other direction and gives us things we never knew to ask for. God can take us places, shows us things, and put people in our lives that we weren’t expecting. So instead of focusing on all of “my” goals, I felt I should have accomplished, other great things happened.
What Was Not on My Radar
Good things that happened this year that were never on my radar:
- Over the summer I took an online writing course through one of my favorite platforms.
- In the fall I went to my first writer’s conference, 30 minutes away from home mind you.
- I made great new connections that have opened the door to new friends and writing opportunities.
- Now here at the end of the year, I was invited to write for an online publication for the entire year of 2021. I signed the contract a couple of weeks ago.
I feel like God is setting the stage for the future and it helps me to be a little more hands-off with my plans. It also helps me to not wring my hands in frustration that I am not finding the time, or be mad that I can’t get a moment of peace to form a thought let alone write it. It even helps soften the blow of rejection from a few publications this year.
Here is the biggest takeaway… nothing happens in our timing. I’ve stepped back from my anger and frustration to realize that I am in a season of caring for my family. I have a 3-year-old that needs me (A LOT, I’m her best friend and playmate). Sometimes I let myself forget how much that means to me. I am a mom, a stay-at-home mom, and I LOVE that. That is enough for me alone even if nothing else ever happens during this time.
My family is my number one priority right now. No matter how much or how bad I think I need that book deal right now, I think God is showing me that now is not the time. In just a very few short years I will have my toddler gone from me all day while she attends school and a young adult that has most likely left the nest. There will be plenty of time then and I DO NOT want to miss this time with them.
If God wants me to do something for Him, he will enable me to. He will make a way; he will clear the time for me and open the door. So, I will keep striving, and I will change my mindset. I will write when and if life allows, throw away the hustle, frustration, and anger, and be happy that in this season I have a family that needs me. Our plans are very rarely ever His plans.